Name me some roadside attractions: Columbus OH to Sundance WY (OH, IN, IL, WI, MN, SD)

We’re taking a driving trip to see my Mom this summer. From our lovely location of Marietta, OH to her place in Sundance, WY. A drive of about 1500 miles one way. We’d like to take a northern route because we want to stop at the House on the Rock in Wisconsin.

So what others can you recommend? We’ll stop by Wall Drug, of course, as we take I-90, I think, across Minnesota and South Dakota. But there’s some long-ass drives in there that could be broken up by snake pits and other such fun stuff.

What say ye, Dopers?

When in doubt, always check Roadside America.

I note that she lives very close to Devil’s Tower. That alone would make the trip worthwhile for me, though she’s probably bored with it by now.

House on the Rock is a full day event that will completely wear you out. Plan accordingly. You will be near Taliesin so at least make note of it as you drive by. There is also an excellent mineral collection museum gift shop right across from the entrance to Governor Dodge state park.

I’d suggest you check construction on your route. Hint I90.

You’re planning on I90 so Devils Lake in Baraboo is not far out of the way. You can stop at Wisconsin Dells for so many things. In fact you can skip I90 and go from Spring Green on Hwy 60 almost to Sauk Prairie and take Hwy 12 to Baraboo. On Hwy 12 before Baraboo and Devils Lake stop at Dr. Evermore’s Art Park with the Forevertron. Next is a turn off to Devils Lake if you want to stop. After that you can drive Hwy 12 into Lake Delton and Wisconsin Dells. You have now skipped the under construction I90 and seen some nice sights.

I won’t give you any other places, because I could plan you something that took you weeks to get through Wisconsin on your route not counting Wisconsin Dells.:wink:

In Rapid City, you must visit Dinosaur Park.

Not too far away from Rapid city is the South Dakota Air and Space Museum.

And, what trip through Mitchell, SD would be complete without a visit to the Corn Palace? The Cabela’s megastoreis right there, too–well worth a stop just to see the stuffed animals.

I’ll echo **Harmonious Discord’s **suggestion of Taliesin which is just minutes away from House on the Rock. It’s ungodly expensive to get in, but you can see it from the road and take pictures of the outside (apparently indoor photos are verboten). While you’re in the area, there’s a great place to eat called the Spring Green General Store in Spring Green. They’ve got very fresh, delicious food and it’s also a bit on the cute side too.

The Dells are a great to let your hair down and have some wet and wild fun. We took the kids over winter break and had a blast (we stayed a bit out of town at Chula Vista which I wouldn’t recommend. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t convenient to anything but itself). We took the kids to Wizard’s Quest and it even melted a 16 year old’s cynical arm crossing to the point that she was having fun too. Also, the magic show, as cheesy as it sounds and as cheesy as it was, was a lot of fun. Spend the extra bucks and get the more expensive tickets if you want to be called up on stage.

Also, right on I-90 in La Crosse, Wisconsin right before you cross into Minnesota is the Company Store Outlet. I’ve made a couple pilgrimmages to this place as the Company Store makes the best flannel bed sheets you’ll ever find. If you like cheap and pretty good steaks, I highly recommend stopping off at the North Country Steak Buffet. For about $10 a person, you can get all the steak you can eat and the cuts aren’t bad at all.

After that, follow Highway 61 North (which is really beautiful as it hugs the bluffs on the side of the Mississippi River) about an hour to Lark Toys. At 20,000 square feet, it’s one of the largest independent toy stores in the country. It has a great selection, a really good candy shop, and an indoor carousel.

If you keep following I-90, you’ll go by the Spam Museum in Austin, MN which is free to get in and you get free samples too (and lots of tschotschkes in the gift shop).

After that, you’ll be passing just south of Rochester, home of the Mayo Clinic.

Following I-90 and then heading North about an hour on I-35 and you’ll find a Cabela’s and an ok sized outlet mall. Go north another 45 minutes or so and you’ll hit the Twin Cities and all that we’ve got.

If you keep on I-90, well, there’s not a whole lot until South Dakota which has the Corn Palace. Two words that should never go together.

Have a great trip!

Another attraction in Dells/Baraboo area is Circus World. If you’re afraid of clowns, you can still go to check out their collection of magnificently restored circus wagons.

You should try to get cheese curd that was made that day at one of the local cheese manufactures. These places are usually smaller than people expect and they may make cheese only a couple days a week. Some don’t make good squeaky cheese, but most do. The southwest section of Wisconsin is the place to look for these producers. Central Wisconsin is pretty bare. Arena Cheese is a good plant not far from Spring Green and on the highway.

Wind Cave and Jewel Cave, two of the more extensive cave systems in the country, are in the Black Hills. Wind Cave is a national park, Jewel Cave is a national monument. Both have NPS-guided tours.

The Badlands are great.

I assume that once you’re at Sundance, a trip to Devil’s Tower is in order.

Unfortunately, for much of the trip your only entertainment will be counting corn or soybean fields (or fields being planted this time of the year)

Circus World & House on the Rock in Wisconsin are good, but not if you’re not wanting to devote a large amount of time off the road.

Scenery will start becoming more interesting with the Bad Lands.

Actually, the scenery in the area of House on the Rock is really quite nice. Southwestern Wisconsin has lots of rolling hills, trees, and cow pastures, and not so much corn. Though, admittedly, I’m travelling there from Iowa so I see it in that light. :wink:

Governor Dodge State Park is across from House on the Rock and is great. They have waterfalls and a lake. I am there usually once or twice a year, for hopelessly geeky reasons I won’t go into. I generally get a hotel in Mineral Point, though, because it’s far cheaper to stay there and is only a few minutes away; Dairyland Motel is my favorite (cheapest, nicest staff, they have microwaves and fridges) though it’s no-frills (tiny rooms, no cable). If they’re full, I usually stay at the Redwood, since it’s nearly as cheap though not half as homey. Or I’ll camp at Gov Dodge if I’m feeling all saucy. Hpuse on the Rock Inn is nicer, though, if money is no object.

House on the Rock is, though, a massive experience. We tried to do it in about 3 hours. Ha! We ended up literally running through parts of it. A lot of walking, wear comfortable shoes. I don’t know any good restaurants, really, so I usually eat at the Pizza Hut (weird bistro version) in Dodgeville.

Oh, and this is slightly out of your way, but - Dickeyville Grotto is supposed to be quite neat. If you go that way, you can take Hwy 20 to I-35 and head back north, especially if there’s anything you wanted to see in Dubuque for some reason. But you’re going as far as Dodgeville, anyway, which is fairly off I-90. You wouldn’t have to backtrack and, other than a little traffic in Dubuque, it’s an easy drive. Our speed limit is 70mph. :smiley:

I was going to mention Mineral Point having an area that is full of nice arts, crafts, and antiques shops. I really like Pendarvis on Shake Rag Alley. It’s has to do with the Cornish miners that mined lead there.

I really could keep you busy for a month just in the area from Spring Green east to Prairie du Chien and down south to Cassville, then west to Darlington and back up to Dodgevile. Cross over to Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa too just west of Prairie du Chien. Prairie du Chien has Wyalusing State park, the Dousman Mansion, and the Fort Crawford Museum. Nelson Dewy state park and Stonefield Historic Village is near Cassville.

I knew I couldn’t stop from posting in this thread.

Well, my trips through Western Wisconsin would not be complete without a stop for pie at the Norske Nook in Osseo

On your way through Columbus OH, stop at City Barbecue and pick up some brisket and pulled pork sandwiches for the road. Somewhere around Chamberlain, South Dakota you undoubtedly will be hungry again, so get a bite and some homemade pie at Al’s Oasis.

I’d skip Wall Drug (and the entire town of Wall, a tourist trap) and head straight for the Badlands.

Now I’ve done the Badlands and Wall Drug before. Prior to moving to Sundance mom lived in Lead, South Dakota in the Black Hills. It’s been a while but I can’t imagine either has changed much. Though the girls would like either.

OK, so Wisconsin is, to those who live and vacation there, nirvana. What about the other states? Indiana? Minnesota?

I guess you’ll still have to drive through them. It can’t be avoided.:smiley:

Don’t you have a campaign of some sort to run, young man?

They could always fly.

I do indeed. But mom is extracting this in return for various favors.

And don’t mentiont he campaign or I’ll start hitting up the dopers (including you) for campaign money!

Not really a roadside atraction but the Wright Patterson Air Force base in Dayton is free and really cool.

The Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson is an amazing place! If you have any interest in aviation at all, it’s a must-see. You can’t make just a quick trip there, though–the place is HUGE.