"Oh oh oh!" the children cried as we drove through Wisconsin Dells. "Oh! Stop! Stop! Roller coaster! Flume ride! Duck ride! House of Mirrors! Gifts Of The World, which means probably just China! Jammed water park! Jammed parking lot! Stop! Stop!"

"No!" replied the parents, all four of them. "No, we are not stopping today in the tourist town of legend, children. Today, we are going to a different kind of Wisconsin event! The 48th Annual Badger Steam and Gas Engine Club show in neighboring Baraboo!"

"AWWWW!" exclaimed the dejected little ones, pouting their pouts while poking at their linked Nintendo DS's.

"Trust us," soothed the parents. "This is REAL Wisconsin stuff, and will be awesome! There is also a 600-vendor flea market and funnel cakes and fried cheese curds and other awesome regional delicacies!"

The children rolled their eyes at the four parents. The four parents summarily ignored their further protestations.

Well, what a strange and wonderful trip, which ended up being enjoyed by all. It is never the wrong thing to search out events while traveling that are just nothing you could really find anywhere else. Our trip, however, was almost over before it started. We turned down the rural road to where the event sign pointed, saw a lot of cars and trucks parked, people standing around, a few tractors, some tables with stuff for sale, and we thought, well, OK, this is it, eh? I might add, we saw this sign as well:

We parked, all seven people tumbled out of our rented Ford Explorer, and we started poking around. Hmmmmm, we said to each other...hmmmmmm. This is it??? There was a small shed filled with guns for sale and the aforementioned stuff, which was being auctioned off for like a buck a box. Hmmmmmm, we said, confused. But we did find some interesting stuff.

I thought this was an appropriate place for the Corporate Mouse.

I was hoping "Leroy Bratland" was a restaurant that grilled so many yummy bratwurst that they needed to have extra gasoline cans around just to fuel the emergency brat-cooking generators.

I insist that this next item is, indeed, The Best Chair Ever Made.

 I regret not buying it.

Well, huh, we said to each other, that wasn't much of a big Show. Huh. How 'bout that. So we left the rummaging around in boxes to others and piled back into the car.

As we were turning towards home, one of the Parents said, "Hey! You know what? I bet that if we went just a little bit down that road some more, I betcha we'd find that show!" The other parents said, " may be right! Let's do it!" So we turned around by the Beer = Death sign, went a quarter-mile and HEY! There it was! Thousands of people and cars and THINGS! Hurray!! This was the Steam Engine show! The first thing after snaring a parking spot was to Find Food For Whiny Kids and Also Hungry Parents. MMM MMM MMM! Funnel cakes, cheese curds, homemade rock salt ice cream served with saltines, and Leroy Bratland!

 After watching a little bit of the Tractor Parade, we went in one of the exhibition halls to look at some wares for sale.

Then we looked at the Women's Pavilion and sampled honey and looked at someone's collection of obituaries.

Then it was time to see some of the Steam/Gas Machines themselves. You've never seen such a huge collection of popping, whirring, chugging old beasts in all your life. It was loud, stinky, and fantastic.

This would be the time to watch the video I made of the day, or at least a 5 minute compilation. The song is "This Old Machine" by Coconut Records. CLICK HERE NOW FOR YOUTUBE! Then come back.

We finished up by wandering a bit more through the flea market. Flea markets are never not interesting.

A slice of sweet juicy Amish watermelon, and we were on our way back to Grandma's house. Sorry, Dells, maybe next time. This was just too great to miss.