La Crosse, WI: Brothels and Buck Naked

Our last stop in Wisconsin is bitter sweet. We will be saying goodbye to the Millers at the end of this stay. But La Crosse has some interesting tales to tell. 

Around the late 1800’s, La Crosse was a booming town on the Mississippi River. It was busy with all kinds of river related commerce that also tended to attract a lot of single men. Where you find single men, you also find a large number of “working women”. 

In fact, the Dark History Trolly Tour talks about the 40 or 50 brothels that were opened at any one time in the few small blocks that made up the town of La Crosse. We also heard about the barber shop where John Dillinger casually walked in for a shave with guns hidden beneath his suit jacket  while Baby Face Nelson waited outside.

Fortunately, we distanced ourselves from such vices and stayed at Pettibone RV Resort on Barren Island. It’s an island that is located in the middle of the Mississippi River. Our site backed right up to the West Channel of the Mississippi and included some absolutely stunning sunsets and only a handful of mosquitoes.

However, we still enjoyed playing Wisconsin Tennis (aka zapping mosquitoes, flies and no-seeums with electric fly rackets!

Jeff also enjoyed some fishing right at the back of our campsite. The Bass Fishing tournament that was going on in the area must have stolen all the fish though, because he still didn’t catch anything.

Maybe we could get some pointers by taking a paddle boat tour.

While I’m mostly a history buff, I enjoy a bit of science too. Erosion of the coast lines is a big issue. Much of the coast along the Mississippi is sand but humans have added rip rap (or rock) walls to help prevent this erosion. In addition to avoiding the shrinking of the coast line, reducing erosion helps reduce the amount of dredging that must be done to let large barges pass through the river.

These barges are a major part of the commerce that exists on the Mississippi. Even with the dredging, the barges are often too high to pass under the bridges in the area so there’s a need for swing bridges. It was fun to watch these in action.

The swing bridges also allow for passage of our paddle boat and the larger Steamboats that are used for cruises up and down the Mississippi (a possible trip in our future…?).

Walking around downtown greeted us with my first ever visit to a Duluth Trading Co store. If you have never seen their commercials, you should definitely check them out!

I even managed to pick up a pair of Buck Naked Undies for hubby but I’ll keep that photo to myself. 😀

And what goes better than sitting around in a pair of Buck Naked Underwear? The World’s Largest Six Pack of course! It’ll only take a few minutes, far less time than it would take to drink the 7,340796 cans worth contained in these.

Wondering how Rizzo is doing?

Well, the soft-sided crate was no match to our overly anxious dog.

She tore right through it and chewed up the handle of our screen door.

We finally broke down and purchased a full metal crate. We have been a little nervous to leave her inside alone so we are testing her out on shorter trips before our next baseball game that could keep her crated for up to 5 hours.

Next up, something I’ve been looking forward to since we planned this trip!