The speedometer reads 72.  That's 7 mph faster than the State of Wisconsin has deemed safe and prudent for Hwy 151.

Historically, I disagree with their assessment.  I'm pretty confident with that I am neither risking my safety nor the safety of those around me, any more than the farmer in the truck next to me who just ate a booger as I passed him.  We made brief eye contact, me and the farmer.  And he seemed oddly unashamed  (almost proud...) that I just busted him eyeing that goober up, right before shoving his finger in his mouth. Farmers march to the beat of a different drum, don't they?

Anyway, I'm immediately reminded of an old joke:  What do you find inside of a clean nose?    Fingerprints.  ............duh.

I'd go faster, but the Wisconsin State Patrol and I have had roadside discussions about this before. To date, I have lost each and every one of those arguments. I've learned over time that differences in opinion like this rarely end in a mutually acceptable resolution and I'm not much in the mood for the trouble today. So I keep my speed (relatively) in check.  Besides, the last time I had one of these roadside chats, I texted the picture below to my wife, and she immediately responded by asking if I had shown the cop my boobs to get out of a ticket?

She is always a big help, and these things can be incredibly difficult to live down.  Now that I think of it, I'm not sure who has a longer memory: My wife? or my insurance agent?

So I am focused and cruising along through part of the Driftless, an area of the state that I usually reserve for more distracted driving as I crane my head in hopes of catching a glimpse of a fish rising in the downstream pool at each bridge crossing.  The odds of seeing this are slim, but a fella has to dream and no one's gonna take away my foolish optimism.

This time, however, we are on our way home from a visit to the homeland and I am vexed by the fact that I desperately want NEED to go fishing.  When a slump like this hits, and the odds of wetting a line or feeling that tug are next to impossible for the foreseeable future, the faster I get through this trip and back to suburbia, the better off my mental status will be.

Random thoughts stream through my mind, and I glance over at the dog who is sleeping like the dead on my wife's lap.  Apparently, while staying at my nieces house for the last couple of days, he took multiple (severe) beatings from a cat named Ladybird.

Just let that sink in for a minute.  The cat's name is Ladybird.  And Ladybird beat his fool ass. More than once.  Delicious, eh?

It's clear to me that the nap is a way to hide from the shame.   I smile as I think of it.  I wish I had a video of the battles, but the truth is I'm not sure they would live up to the image in my minds eye anyway.  It does give me some satisfaction that my niece and her husband were able to witness the fracas...and both admit that the dog deserved every hit he took.

Rumor has it that he yelped and carried on like a little bitch after each beating.  ...Typical.

(Suddenly the bottle of wine and 6 pack of craft beer we brought them for their troubles seems a little chintzy)

Along with excessive speed and awesome mental images of Ladybird, music helps ease some of the angst.  When a funk like this hits, hard music has to be part of my therapy.  So with earbuds securely in place, and volume adjusted to drown out the sound of arguing children, I zip along and happily hum Pop Evil's latest offerings.  Followed by My darkest days, In This Moment ( .......Maria Brink.......yum), BuckCherry and the list goes on.

Somehow, the timing of Avenged Sevenfold's song Bat Country is perfect and offers another small amount of solace as I look to the west and see the  turbines of the wind farm (about 15 miles out) that marks right about where I turn north off of Hwy 18 to get to the Blue River.

The opening lyric goes like this:  "He who makes a beast of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man"

(Its actually a Samuel Johnson if anyone cares, or even knows who the hell Samuel Johnson is....)

I've already passed by, or crossed over several trouty drainages with more to come, and more familiar exits to other fishy haunts.  The music builds to a crescendo and I finally turn north off of Hwy 151 and onto County Road P, which runs us along the western edge of Madison .  Rob Zombie is absolutely killing it with Superbeast.

At Klevenville there is a building that has gargoyles on it.  I love this building.  It's one of those landmarks that I look forward to.  It's fitting that Judas Priest's Living After Midnight ques up and I decide (again) that want gargoyles on my house. But...something tells me that they wouldn't look quite right on a raised ranch in a neighborhood not altogether different from the one in Edward Scissorhands.  So for now, I've decided against adding gargoyles (again).  Besides, the neighbors would start to talk...and nobody needs that.

A final crossing at Cross Plains, and I wonder how the trout are adapting to the stream re-route and bridge construction over the last couple of years on Black Earth Creek? Gonna have to find out this coming season.

We climb up and out of the watersheds into ag country for the final few miles to suburbia.  Soon this trip will be done.  Thank god.

As I pull into the driveway, Clutch sums it up perfectly....

"So I take a deep breath and count to ten,
Aint gonna let it get under my skin.
Take a deep breath and count to ten, 
Think of all the nice places that I've been"

Til Later,


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