The Mississippi & Lacrosse

http://johnsonmatel.com/2014/August/Lacrosse/Sunrise.jpg

Chrissy says that she used to be a little afraid to come to this part of Lacrosse because of the drunks and weirdoes. It was an area of sleazy bars. Besides, the river was not that nice back then. Today it is very different and much better as you can see from the photos. As I wrote in the section in Milwaukee, if you people have reasonable sense of security, good things happen.

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Lacrosse still has a lot of industry. I like the Mississippi because it is very pretty and home to wildlife, like bald eagles, but it is important as an artery of commerce. A lot travels on that water. It is very much cheaper to ship heavy things like bulk grain or cement by barge than it is by truck or even rail.

http://johnsonmatel.com/2014/August/Lacrosse/Industry.jpg

I woke up early in the morning to take advantage of the glorious day. It was cool and clear. I felt perfectly comfortable with a light sweatshirt. Summers in Wisconsin are often nice. I am not sure how much that compensates for the long winters, but you take what you can when it is available. It is so different from Brasília, where the weather is much more consistent.

http://johnsonmatel.com/2014/August/Lacrosse/Mississippi_bridge.jpg

There is a foot/running path that crosses the bridge shown in the picture and goes to a place called Pettibone Park, so named because a guy called Pettibone gave it to the people of Lacrosse in 1901. It is good for a park and probably for not much else. It floods. There are some places where you just should not build houses or shops and this is clearly one of them.

http://johnsonmatel.com/2014/August/Lacrosse/High_Water.jpg

You can see from the nearby picture that the trees have a mud line that marks the latest water mark. The trees on the island are mostly silver maples and cottonwoods. Standing water does not hurt them, as long as it does not stand too long and it never does on where they are. In fact, it is good for them, since it brings mud and nutrients.

http://johnsonmatel.com/2014/August/Lacrosse/Houseboat.jpg

Lacrosse today has several small breweries. The biggest is the Lacrosse Brewing Company. It used to be G. Heileman Brewing Company, maker of Old Style & Special Export. It was decent beer, not one of my favorites but okay. They used to brag that they used a method called Krausening. I don’t think it did anything in particular. It has something to do with shaking it us and tossing on more yeast just before putting it in the kegs. The sign on the Lacrosse Brewery still talks about Krausening, so maybe they still do it.

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There are more breweries in Wisconsin than ever before. This is a big change from a few years ago, when they were dying out. Prohibition killed lots of them and the others were victims of consolidation in the 1960s and 1970s.  Prohibition was a very bad idea.  Ben Franklin supposedly said that beer was proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.  Purist cannot find the actual quote, but having read several biographies of old Ben, it sounds like something he would say.

The new brewers are often very local, so you can get a little local flavor wherever you go.

http://johnsonmatel.com/2014/August/Lacrosse/Parents_grave.jpg

We went to see Chrissy’s parents’ grave near Holem.  It is a small cemetery overlooking working farms with the sounds and smells of nature, a very peaceful and probably appropriate place for old farmers.

http://johnsonmatel.com/2014/August/Lacrosse/Graveyard.jpg

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