Secrets of Jo Daviess County Tour (con’t)
Store, bedecked with a huge rat outside, and Emma waiting for us when we arrived.
After the Cheese Stop, we all lined up and headed out caravanstyle, now a matter of routine. Less than fifteen minutes and eight miles later, we came to the Whispering Winds Winery stop, where the jovial proprietor, Jim Eisele, welcomed us to his air-conditioned tasting room where staff and snacks consisting of tasty Wisconsin brats and cheese awaited.
Unfortunately, after what we all thought was the entire group settled in comfortably at the winery, the call came that
four cars remained behind at the cheese stop. Larry and Mary Daniels’ 1976 Brooklands green Midget apparently refused to start. Dan Herman answered the call for help and returned the short distance to the scene of the breakdown.
Time passed. Jim Eisele’s air conditioning struggled. The heat outside was unbearable, 100 degrees in blinding sunshine. Most of us were contemplating a two to two-and-a-half hour drive home from Monroe, which was probably an hour away. The clock was ticking. The heat was building ominously. Some of our group came up with a plan to depart and proceed directly to Monroe. By now the phones were not in contact – no reception. So after a vote by acclamation, we preceded “straight to Monroe”, waving good-bye to Nancy Herman, who was safely ensconced to enjoy the remaining wine and air conditioning.
For us, after a perfectly enjoyable scenic roll over Wisconsin primary and tertiary roads, our Tour ended well at the fabulous Baumgartner’s where frosty local brews from New Glarus awaited us. Well, we didn’t stay long, because (as I said), a long hike back waited. Two-and-a-half hours rocketing across northern Illinois in 100 degree heat, and I dropped Ralph off around six in Naperville, and got home, myself, around seven p.m. – just perfect!
Plaudits to Dan for his planning, organizing, and leadership of this complicated and enjoyable Tour – it was everything that one would want -- and for his sacrifice to help lead the breakdown repair. He kept everybody organized and on-track, and when the tour split, capable members were present to come up with and
execute a contingency plan under deteriorating circumstances of extreme heat and passing time.
Besides the well-routed path throughout mostly SW Wisconsin, special thought by Dan Herman went into each and every stop. No segment of the route went more than an hour to an hour-anda-half or so without a break, which was always at someplace interesting and refreshing, with good food, drink, or snack, at a generally economical price, and a chance for the entire caravan to catch up. This ensured the group stayed together and that nobody was too far ahead or behind in case of breakdown, and this Tour was the test of that.
All’s well that ends well and all-in-all this year’s Secrets Tour ended up being more interesting and rewarding because of the unusual happenstances. Nobody died of heatstroke, and even Nancy Herman got abandoned in an air-conditioned winery where a glass cost only $3.00. The only possible negative note for the whole trip might be the souvenir Wisconsin cheese got a little melty in the trunk. And we have a great trip to look forward to next year, even if we repeat the same route as this year.