Wisconsin Stop Three: Madison’s BratFest

We never thought we would have the opportunity to participate in the world’s largest BratFest but that’s the kind of opportunity RV travel affords! From Milwaukee we drove the 80 miles to Madison, home of the Wisconsin Badgers and BratFest! 

We camped at a great county park, Lunney Lake Farm Park, which is just a three mile bike ride into town and the grounds of BratFest along a bike-only path. Since it was so easy, we were able to come and go to participate in the festivities that interested us most. We started with the BratFest Bun Run 5K. In addition to some good exercise on a lovely morning, we were rewarded with t-shirts, brats and beer! 

Bratfest has fun for the whole family. Music on three stages, a petting zoo, and lots of games. Meeting the Budweiser Clydesdales up close and personal was also pretty cool. My favorite was Ace. And with all the fun (and beer) it’s for a good cause. They’ve been doing Bratfest for 30 years, and it supports a ton of local charities. We were happy to support the effort!

On summer Saturdays Wisconsin’s capital city of Madison has one of the largest farmers markets in the state. We followed that great bike path right into downtown and enjoyed exploring the market and the beautiful capitol grounds. Along the way we picked up some “only in Wisconsin” goodies. Beer cheese popcorn, baked cheese, and rhubarb will sustain us for awhile. In fact, the rhubarb will be turned into Steve’s favorite rhubarb crumble. 

Madison is a beautiful, clean city with the university as a driving force. We enjoyed our ride through the campus, up to the famous Terrace overlooking the lake, and then back to the grounds of Bratfest to enjoy our hard-earned brat and beer.

Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland so we thought we should learn a little about dairies. The Hinchley Family Farm tour, located right outside of Madison, was the perfect choice. Tina Hinchley shared her passion for dairy work in an almost three hour tour through the farm. The time just flew!

We learned how the small farm (about 280 cows) has dealt with a challenging market with automation. They have invested millions of dollars into “robots” that monitor and milk the cows two or three times a day. And the cows line up on their own to be milked! Computers monitor each cows output, quality, and health. Amazing! And then we had a chance to do it the old fashioned way.

The farm also has the requisite animals including calves, lambs, ducks, and chickens We even came away with a dozen fresh eggs. 

Madison ranks up there as one of our favorite cities in Wisconsin. The college vibe, the beautiful capitol, the miles and miles of bike paths suit our interests. But then it’s only our third stop, and we have more to see!

Wisconsin Stop Two: Milwaukee

We figured we couldn’t come to Wisconsin without a stop in the state’s biggest city, Milwaukee. And while we didn’t hit all the sites (yes, we missed the Harley Davidson museum) we think we got a good feel for this historic city.

We started with a bike ride along the Hank Aaron trail to get our bearings. It also allowed us to scope out the path to American Family Field, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Then, we walked the 1.7 miles on the Hank Aaron Trail and were led directly to the stadium for a game. We had great seats to watch the Brewers beat the Houston Astros 4-0. We hadn’t been to an MLB game in quite awhile and were amazed at all the interactive things to do. With the new time limits implemented this year, the game was over in just over two hours.

We were also determined to check out some of Milwaukee’s legendary breweries. Our first stop was a tour of Lakefront Brewery which is actually along the riverfront in downtown. We enjoyed the tour, which ended just in time for us to join in on Drag Queen Bingo which was being held at the brewery. We didn’t get a Bingo, but we sure enjoyed ourselves!

On our last day in Milwaukee we took the tour of the legendary Miller Brewing Company. We learned about the brewing process and were in awe of the history of the site. Frederick Miller started the operation in 1855 and it has now grown to a global brand under the parent company Molson Coors. 

After the tour we stopped at Sobelman’s, a bar and grill housed in one of the original Schlitz taverns. Famous for burgers and bloody marys, we had one of each! The slider on top of the bloody mary was enough lunch for me.

We finished our time in Milwaukee back at the Lakefront Brewing, followed by a stroll along the riverfront to watch the scullers. Ultimately we were on the search for the Bronz Fonz, as we both grew up on Happy Days and couldn’t come to Milwaukee without meeting the Fonz “in person.”

There’s certainly more to explore in Milwaukee but we were so full of beer, it was time to move along.

First Stop: Green Bay

Our inaugural trip with our new truck and fifth wheel is well underway and we’ve already covered a lot of ground. From our visit with Sam in Colorado we made a beeline to Lincoln, Nebraska. In addition to being one of Steve’s favorite places, we caught a concert with one of our favorite artists, Kenny Chesney.  We enjoyed a pre-show drink with our niece Elise and her boyfriend Jarrot and his family, drinks served by our other niece Hannah at the bar where she works. No photos to prove it! Kenny always puts on a great show and we enjoyed seeing him perform with Kelsea Ballerini. 

The next day we headed up to Elkhorn to spend a little time with Steve’s brother and his family. We spent Mother’s Day celebrating the Moms in the family by eating some great BBQ, playing in the gym and golf simulator, and hanging out with the kids.

We wish we could do this more often! And, we even stopped off at Steve’s favorite store, Husker Hounds.

But we had to move along…to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where Steve ran a marathon in his 28th state and I did the 5K.

The highlight of this race is a run through the home of the Green Bay Packer’s, Lambeau Field. The stadium is a sight to be seen, from inside and out, and we felt lucky to have the opportunity to see if from all angles.

On the following day we took the Legendary Tour of Lambeau, which gave us access to the luxury suites, the visitor’s locker room, the press box, once again, the field. Along the way we learned about the Packer’s history and how they have survived as one of the oldest NFL teams without an owner.

They are owned by shareholders and the City of Green Bay, and because of this unique situation, the small town revolves around the beloved Packers.

We took the bikes out one morning and explored the trails along the Fox River. Interpretive signs along the way taught us about the city’s history.

We also hit up the famous Kroll’s restaurant which stands in the shadow of Lambeau Field. We were introduced to fried cheese curds and butter burgers and will now never taste anything as good (or as greasy). And, you can’t go to Green Bay without a stop at Titletown, the entertainment district adjacent to the stadium.

We left Green Bay as fans of the Packers, fans of cheese curds, and fans of Wisconsin. And our explorations here are just beginning.