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So why is it called
 a State “Trunk” Highway?


"The Hills of Winona To the Wineries of Algoma"

 Click here for a map overview

Southern terminus: Buffalo County, on the Mississippi River bridge on the border with Winona, Minnesota

Northern terminus: Kewaunee County, at the junction with Highway 42 in downtown Algoma

Mileage: about 244 miles

Counties along the way: Buffalo, Trempealeau, Jackson, Portage, Waupaca, Outagamie, Brown, Kewaunee

Sample towns along the way: Winona, MN, Galesville, Black River Falls, Wisconsin Rapids, Plover, Waupaca, New London, Green Bay, Luxemburg, Algoma

Bypass alternates at: Wisconsin Rapids, Waupaca, Green Bay

Quickie Summary: State “Trunk” Highway 54 is a "coast to coast" route, connecting the colleges and hills around Winona, Minnesota, winding through the hills around the Black River, the cranberry bogs, forests and lakes of central Wisconsin, and punching right through Green Bay on its way to the beautiful lakefront setting of Algoma.

The Drive (West to East): Highway 54 begins smack dab in the middle of the Mississippi River - on the North Channel Bridge leading away from picturesque Winona, Minnesota (named after our favorite Hollywood shoplifter) toward a massive bluff on the Wisconsin side of the river - the first of many this road comes across as it begins its ride through the Driftless Area on its way to Algoma, 244 miles away. As soon as you're off the bridge onto terra firma, you reach Wisconsin's Great River Road, Highway 35.

Highway 54 starts as you cross into Wisconsin from Winona, Minnesota, a lovely river town that's billed as the Stained Glass Capital of the World. Just as long as there's none in the road, I guess it's alright. Once you enter Wisconsin, Highway 54 meets up with Highway 35 for a little trek into Trempealeau - County.

Highway 54 turns east and follows Highway 35, hugging the bluffs with the river and the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge to your right. The Trempealeau N.W.R. covers over 10 square miles and consists of the backwaters away from the Mississippi and the Trempealeau Rivers. Called a "prairie wonderland" by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, you'll find tall grasses that reach heights of eight or nine feet. Watch for controlled fires in the area, primarily during the spring months. Past tiny Marshland and over the Trempealeau River, Highway 54 leaves Buffalo County and enters Trempealeau County (I'll bet you've never seen the word "Trempealeau" so many times in one paragraph) for a beeline ride east, past the intersection where Highway 35 breaks away to head south toward La Crosse and Highway 93 joins from the north for the ride into Galesville (pop. 1,427). Galesville celebrates the apple orchards of Wisconsin the first Saturday in every October with the Apple Affair, featuring everything apple (except, perhaps, for Gwyneth Paltrow's kid), tons of activities and multiple bicycle tours that let you pedal around and check out the fall colors.

U.S. Highway 53 joins Highways 54 & 93 for a miles east from Galesville. U.S. 53 and Highway 93 then take off southeast toward La Crosse and Highway 54 becomes its own road for the first time since the bridge over the Mississippi. The next twenty miles or so are beautiful; you wind through the Driftless Region. There are many twists and turns on this fairly narrow stretch of road -- it's not the place to open it up and do 100 mph, even on a motorcycle -- as you enter Jackson County and approach the Black River near North Bend, a great place to stop and do some canoeing. Try Riverview Inn & Supper Club (608-488-5191), where you can dine and/or navigate the Black River as a nice break from the drive.

Further past, you cross the northern beginning of Highway 71, which leads toward Sparta. Highway 54 then heads into Melrose (pop. 529) before a meandering ride roughly paralleling the Black River to Black River Falls.


Before or after a nice meal, enjoy some canoeing on the Black River in North Bend, right along Highway 54.

Left: This area is Amish country, where signs like these can be found here and there. Watch for a slow buggy here and there. Right: From the "You Never Know What You'll Find on the State Trunk Tour" Department: I have no idea what this is, but it was definitely picture-worthy.

Black River Falls (pop. 3,618) is the county seat of Jackson County and, frankly, the first sizeable town along Highway 54 since Winona. The county seat of Jackson County, Black River Falls sits along the Black River. A small waterfall provided the hydroelectric power for a sawmill, which of course was all that was needed back then to establish a town.

State Trunk Tour Fact:
In 1872, Black River Falls became the first village in Wisconsin to establish a free city library.

BREWERY ALERT!
Black River Falls is home to Sand Creek Brewing Company (320 Pierce St., 715-284-7553), which makes a variety of quality brews on a site that started brewing beer in 1856, but has had a wild history since then. Brewing here actually took a 75-year hiatus until the Pioneer Brewing Company started up in 1995 and became the new home of Sand Creek Brewing in 2004. For more history, check out this page. Meanwhile, stop in (right off Highway 54) and check out their brews, from the light Golden Ale to the hearty Sand Creek Imperial Porter. State Trunk Tour picks include the Groovy Brew, Woody's Wheat (banana overtones are a good thing) and the Pioneer Black River Red, which won the World Beer Cup's Gold Award for a German-style Marzen in 2000.

Ever heard of Sphagnum moss? Me neither, but it's actually a significant plant that pumps money into the local economy. Growing quickly in the boggy and marshy lands in the area, Sphagnum moss is used to keep nursery plants and flowers alive and watered during shipping, since this moss can hold 20 times its weight in water. It's used in hydroponic gardening, which I had to look up -- it's basically about growing plants with mineral nutrient solutions instead of the traditional soil. It's even used for surgical dressings because it is sterile (ironically, it reproduces quickly.) It also helps prevent fungus attack in seeds. Wisconsin is actually the only state that produces Sphagnum moss commercially.

The Sphagnum moss marker, which is actually along I-94 in the rest area just south of Black River Falls.

The Black River, which runs through the heart of Black River Falls (logically enough), indeed has a blackish hue due to its high iron content. It's a popular paddling and canoeing river, as evidenced by the opportunity you had earlier in North Bend. The Black River Falls Chamber of Commerce offers information on a bunch of other places to take advantage of the river's amenities, as well as the city's. Just follow U.S. 12/Highway 27 (Water Street) north from the downtown junction for a brief minute and it's right there. You can also call them at 800-404-4008.

Cool kitsch: Familiar with the British band The Fall? They actually mention the Black River Falls Motel. Why? I'll do some digging and find it, 'cause I'll bet the story's interesting. Also, you should check out the orange moose at the Best Western Arrowhead Lodge & Suites, and the "cow" McDonald's, a Mickey D's with cow-like themes on the tables - although they could be dalmation-like, too. Also, the Majestic Pines Casino is maintained by the Ho-Chunk Nation just east of Black River Falls, so if you're feelin' lucky, stop in and test your fate.

After Black River Falls, Highway 54 moves from the state's Driftless Area to "Up North". Dense forest replaces the jagged hills as you speed through the sparsely-populated eastern part of Jackson County (watch out for deer.) After the curvy nature of Highway 54 west of Black River Falls, a little straightaway can be nice. Expect few services, though: this is a pretty remote stretch for a while. You go through the Black River State Forest, past Sugarloaf Mound and toward Wood County. This is one of the most sparsely populated areas in Wisconsin, so if you truly want to get away from it all, this is a pretty good place to be.

The Legend of the Orange Moose:

They proudly call it the world's most unusual town ornament. Legend says a Norwegian farmer named Torvaald Kjorvak (try pronouncing that) found a wounded moose calf along the Black River. With no mother around to be found, Kjorvak nursed the animal back to health himself. He then fed him an experimental grain that helped him grow huge... and orange. Find out more here!

Evidence of the forthcoming cranberry domination along Highway 54 shows up just before City Point, a town that crams 189 people into only 90 square miles. Many more of the brilliant red seas of berries (in season) will come in Wood County. Meanwhile, how about some wildlife? Check out the Sandhill Wildlife Area Trails inside the 9,100-acre Sandhill State Wildlife Area. It features a 3.5-mile hiking trail known as the Swamp Buck, a captive herd of bison, and camping abundant opportunities for wildlife viewing and interaction. If you prefer the comfort of your vehicle, there Trumpeter Trail Auto Tour gives you 14 miles of road to follow. Three observation towers and a slew of guidance and informational signs tell you more about the animals you're watching, including white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, Canada geese, ducks, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, shorebirds, songbirds, hawks, owls... you get the idea. Oh, and there's no hunting allowed. You can access the Sandhill Wildlife Area Trails right off Highway 54 by following County Highway X south.

Back onto 54, you meet up with Highway 80 briefly in Dexterville and then plow eastward through miles of cranberry bogs and you're in towns with names like "Cranmoor."

The Wisconsin River beckons as you hook up with Highway 73, just out of Nekoosa and head into Port Edwards (pop. 1,944). Originally known as "Frenchtown", Port Edwards grew around a sawmill owned by John Edwards, Sr. and Jr., and the town was eventually renamed after them. The "Port" part comes from the Wisconsin River, upon which Port Edwards sits. While there, check out the Alexander House Center for Art & History, (715-887-3442) which features art displays, colonial furniture, and historical looks at the area's papermaking and lumber industry. The Alexander House is right along Highway 54. The Edwards and most of its inhabitants weren't big drinkers; this was a "dry" community from its establishment in the 1830s all the way into the 1990s. So for a century and a half, residents in search of imbibe-ment headed up today's Highway 54 to their "big city" neighbor.

Wisconsin Rapids (pop. 18,435) isn't a big city, but it is big enough to be its own "micropolitan" area, which has almost 50,000 people. "Da Rapids", as locals call it, used to be two cities on opposite sides of the Wisconsin River, Centralia and Grand Rapids; they merged in 1900. Then, in 1920 when locals were fed up with getting mail misdirected to Grand Rapids, Michigan, they changed the cityís name to Wisconsin Rapids. The "rapids" refers to a 45-foot drop this "hardest working river in the world" made at this point, which provided some good acceleration to boats and canoes. Dams have since changed this - there are five from Stevens Point down to Nekoosa - but this stretch of the river still provides hydroelectric power and makes it convenient to pound wood into pulp so we can eventually have something to write on.

Consequently, Wisconsin Rapids is a major hub for papermaking and also serves as the shipping point for a lot of cranberries you saw in the bogs getting here. Wisconsin grows more cranberries than any other state - over 300 million pounds per year - and Wood County (of which Wisconsin Rapids is the county seat) is pretty much the center of it all. Itís home to a major educational software company, Renaissance Learning, Grim Natwick, creator of Betty Boop (and to salute that, the city has an annual Betty Boop Festival) and the hometown of the driver with NASCARís coolest name ever, Dick Trickle.

Grotto Alert.
Fans of the remarkable collections of stone, glass and rock that make up Wisconsin's fascinating grottos will want to check out Rudolph Grotto & Wonder Cave, located about nine miles north of Wisconsin Rapids via Highway 34. Red gossan rocks dominate much of the grotto, ranging from pebble-sized to a 78-ton boulder. The Wonder Cave itself is something to see.

Highway 54 runs along the Wisconsin River's west shore into the city. Highway 73 breaks away at this point and heads toward Neillsville with Highway 13 westbound. We'll join Highway 13 eastbound for a short distance on the "Riverview Expressway", which isn't that expressway-like but is still the first divided highway stretch on Highway 54 since it began in Winona. Highway 13 then heads south toward Wisconsin Dells, while Highway 54 shoots north along 8th Street into downtown Wisconsin Rapids. Highway 13 used to follow this route too, so you'll see "Business" 13 signs along your way. Wisconsin Rapids via Google Maps.

Hey, tours aren't just for highways, breweries and museums. Tour the Stora Enso North America papermaking plant at 4th Avenue and High Street (715-422-3789) or, if you want to see paper in its original form, check out the Griffith State Nursery (473 Griffith Avenue, 715-424-3700), the largest forest nursery in Wisconsin.

Highway 54 leaves "Da Rapids" on Baker Street (insert Gerry Rafferty song here) and then into Portage County as Plover Road for the ride to - you guessed it - Plover. This stretch was recently upgraded to a 65 mph expressway, so open it up and enjoy. The Canadian Pacific Railroad parallels this straightaway for a while... and it'll probably be going faster than you.

Plover (pop. 10,520) was once the Portage County seat, a distinction lost to nearby Stevens Point in the 1860s -- and some resentment may still remain. Plover itself incorporated and was dissolved several times over its history, but that situation stabilized a while back and now - in a way - it's a southern suburb of Stevens Point. The town is pretty good at producing athletes. They stretch back a ways to Walt Wilmot, an MLB player who began his career with the Washington Nationals in 1888 (the first incarnation of that team, obviously) through the 1898 season with the New York Baseball Giants, with a long stint with the Cubs in between. Current hockey star Joe Pavelski, who skates and body slams for the San Jose Sharks, also grew up in Plover. Former wrestling Olympian Dennis Hall, who snagged the Silver in Atlanta in 1996 and the Gold the year before that at the Pan Am Games, now lives in Plover, although he also spends a lot of time training future Olympians up in Marquette, Michigan.

Highway 54 dives southeast out of Plover, crosses I-39 & U.S. 51 and then across a wide expanse of farmland through Portage County and into Waupaca County, where you cross the Ice Age National Scenic Trail with access to Hartman Creek State Park, a great park for camping and canoeing. The Park is on the edge of the popular "Chain O'Lakes" area. Once known as the "Kilarnies of Wisconsin", the area features 22 interconnected glacial lakes and ample opportunities for swimming, boating, scuba diving, hanging out next to the water doing absolutely nothing, and more. Highway 54 grazes the northern area of these lakes. For access, follow County Q or QQ south and check out Ding's Dock (715-258-2612) for pontoons, boat rentals, cottage rentals and more. You can also take a cruise on the lakes by contacting Clear Water Harbor (715-258-2866), which also features the Waterfront Restaurant & Bar and Moo's Dairy Bar, charged with the task of keeping plenty of malts, floats and ice cream at the ready for boaters. At the eastern edge of the Chain O'Lakes lies King, an unincorporated area that holds the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King, a sprawling complex where veterans receive care and can enjoy the beauty of the lakes.

Highway 54 crosses U.S. 10 and hooks up with Highway 49 for the ride into Waupaca (pop. 5,676). A popular tourism town, due in large part to the nearby Chain O'Lakes, Waupaca's name is also familar because of the former Waupaca Foundry, now known as ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, and its foundry locations in Waupaca and Marinette, with one each in Indiana and Tennessee. The Waupaca location melts over 9,500 tons of gray, ductile and compacted graphite iron castings. Actress Annie Burgstede, who played Willow Stark in Days of Our Lives and has also had roles in CSI, Smallville, Charmed, and most recently, Without A Trace, grew up in Waupaca.

State Trunk Tour Fact:
Clay Perry, the caver who first coined the term "spelunker", was born in Waupaca.

Left: Entering Waupaca, we checked out South Park, which features Shadow Lake and a nice beach across the way, which a large assortment of Waupacians(?) were enjoying on a nice summer day. Right: The Rosa Theater and part of Main Street in downtown Waupaca, which features a lot of places to shop, eat and yes, drink.

Waupaca hosts a number of events throughout the year.One of them is Strawberry Fest, which loads up downtown with berry, berry happy festivalgoers (sorry, I couldn't resist). Being the county seat of Waupaca County and the largest town for about 20 miles, Waupaca bustles quite a bit for a city its size.

Highway 54 joins up with Highway 22 for the ride eastward out of Waupaca for a little while. Highway 110 joins briefly too, before both break away and head north to Manawa and beyond. Meanwhile, Highway 54 cuts east through Royalton and Northport before heading into New London.

Straddling the Waupaca-Outgamie county line, New London (pop. 7,085) sits along the Embarrass and Wolf Rivers and is considered among the best places in the state to catch some tasty walleye. It hosts a variety of historic buildings, five of which are in the Heritage Historical Village. There's also the New London Public Museum, which has been hosting exhibits since 1917. Adding the culture in this relatively small burg, the Wolf River Theatrical Troupe performs at the Wolf River Theatre. There's even a group of movie stunt performers that hosts a western stunt show called "Whips, Garters, and Guns Wild West Review" that is based here but puts on shows all over the country.

Left: The luck o' the Irish is all over Wisconsin, but it hits New London with four-leaf clover force on St. Patrick's Day, when the city becomes "New Dublin" for the week.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia user "Leprichauns"

Right: New London is the birthplace of the American Water Spaniel breed, registered by Dr. F.J. Pfeifer in the 1920's. The historical marker is in Franklin Park, on Beacon Avenue near downtown.

U.S. 45 used to intersect Highway 54 in the midst of downtown, but it now runs on a bypass on the east side of New London. Once you cross U.S. 45, Highway 54 barrels eastward through Shiocton (pop. 954) and then to Black Creek (pop. 1,192), where it intersects with Highway 47. Black Creek is often locally pronounced as Black "Crick". One fun thing of note is that two of its first settlers were named Abraham Lincoln Burdick and Thomas Jefferson Burdick. It was originally called Middleburg, probably because it pretty much is smack dab in the middle of Outagamie County. A creek at the village's edge, which is apparently dark in color, prompted the name change.

After Black Creek, Highway 54 skims the southern edge of Seymour (pop. 3,335), a.k.a. "Home of the Hamburger." One of several places worldwide that lays claim to being the hamburger's birthplace, Seymour grabs the title with a full embrace and hosts its annual Burger Fest every August. Burger Fest features hamburgers, a hamburger eating contest, kids' games, music and a hot air balloon rally, no doubt tons of buns and a (what the...) ketchup slide. Don't wear clothes you care about. But it sounds fun! Here, Highway 54 is joined by Highway 55, which jogs north directly into the downtown area.

Being the county seat, Seymour also hosts the Outagamie County Fair every July, drawing tons of people from the Appleton area and beyond. Want some racing? Grab a burger and plop down in a seat at Seymour Speedway, a 1/3-mile clay oval on the fairgrounds. The speedway hosts Fastrak Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, Stock Cars, and Northern Sport Mods. And they all move pretty fast.

Seymour's Version of the Hamburger Invention:
"In 1885, Charles N. Nagreen, a young lad of 15, came to the Seymour Fair to sell meatballs. When he realized people wanted to walk around the fair grounds and eat, he flattened a meatball between two slices of bread and called it a 'hamburger.' This was the first time the hamburger sandwich was produced and sold."

Standing tall, this giant burger man in Seymour reminds you that this is where it all began.
The Guinness Book of World Records noted that Seymour is where the "World's Largest Hamburger" was cooked - right there on the Charlie Grill. In August of 2001, a 8,266 pound hamburger was cooked up and served to over 13,000 people.

Feature: Burger Fiesta
Seymour's annual hamburger festival was called "Burger Fiesta", with a Mexican theme. The State Trunk Tour was there. Amidst the bands, the model railroad museum and hungry and thirsty festival goers milling about under the statue of Charles "Hamburger Charlie" Nagreen (the hamburger's inventor), was the main attraction: a 60-pound hamburger. Sure, it's a fraction of the monstrous 8,266 pound record grilled in 2001, but it was still a monster.

Left: The 60 pound mound of meat, hot off the grill. Right: It took some work, but the meat was successfully wedged within a gi-normous bun - even though part of the patty's north side fell a bit!

Just east of Seymour, Highway 55 heads south towards Kaukauna while Highway 54 heads through the Oneida Indian Reservation, which was established by treaty in 1838, ten years before Wisconsin became a state. There's the town of Oneida, and then Hobart (pop. 5,090), which incorporated as a village in 2002. Hobart is a fast-growing suburb of Green Bay, based in part on its proximity to Austin-Straubel International Airport and the surrounding highways. While Highway 54 is one of the main highways, the key freeway route is U.S. 41, which marks the boundary between Hobart and Green Bay itself.

GREEN BAY
Entering Green Bay (pop. 102,313 and a.k.a. "Titletown U.S.A."), Highway 54 is a major east-west (well, learning southeast-northwest) thoroughfare called Mason Ave. Green Bay is Wisconsin's oldest city and - not sure if you heard about this or not - are the smallest city to host a National Football League team. They're called the "Packers" and...what, you've already heard about them? Okay. Green Bay is also the headquarters of ShopKo Stores and Schneider National (admit it, you know the commercials and you've seen the "big orange trucks"). Famous people from Green Bay include Tony Shalhoub of Monk fame, ESPN SportsCenter anchor John Anderson, comedian and Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson, Pat MacDonald of the group Timbuk 3 - you know, "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades"? - that group. Naturally, Green Bay is home to tons of atheletes too, among them NFL stars Curly Lambeau, Jerry Tagge, Ted Fritsch Jr., Arnie Herber and Aaron Stecker, as well as baseball pitcher Bob Wickman.

For Lambeau Field seekers on this route, the "frozen tundra" lies about 2 miles south of Highway 54; you can cut south to it via Oneida Street, Military Avenue, or the U.S. 41 freeway. Trust me, you WILL be able to find Lambeau, the home of the Green Bay Packers...the cross street is Lombardi Avenue, after all.

Brewery Alert!
Green Bay calls itself "Titletown", so when some guys decided to start up a brewery there, it only made sense to call it the Titletown Brewing Company. Coincidentally - or perhaps not - Titletown Brewing started in December of 1996, right before the Packers' most recent Super Bowl victory. Located about two miles north of Highway 54 at 200 Dousman Street (cut north on any cross street to access Dousman, which is also U.S. 141) in a classic old railroad station built in 1899, Titletown brews Packer-backer beverages such as the Johnny "Blood" Red and Canadeo Gold as well as a great root beer called Sno-Cap, which uses Clyde the Penguin as its mascot. Trains, football, beer, food... definitely a good stop on the State Trunk Tour.

In front of the entrance to Titletown Brewing on Dousman Street, downtown Green Bay. This used to be Green Bay's actual train station, and they did a great job refurbishing it. One of the tracks running past the brewery is still active with freight trains, though the days of passenger trains is long gone. Fortunately, there's elk burgers and beer in there nowadays.

Along the Fox River, one of the few northward-flowing rivers in North America, bridges are lit up at night with condos, bars and shops springing up around them. At the intersection with Broadway, a Farmers Market offers produce and other items on Wednesday afternoons from June through September from 3pm-8pm. The Neville Public Museum, focuses on art, history and science for northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and is a great stop for an afternoon - before or after hitting Titletown Brewing.

Green Bay does have a bit of a nightlife area downtown, east along the Fox River. Centered on Washington Street adjacent to Highway 29 (which parallels Highway 54 about a mile north in this area), the area features an array of bars and restaurants. Places to party include Kittner's Pub, Hip Cats, Liquid 8, Confetti, Washington Street Pub, the Fox Harbor Pub & Grill, and Stir-Ups (Stir-Ups is a country bar - yes, think about it.) Green Bay's party crowd hangs out in this area, and it's not uncommon for Packers players to be seen.

For a few miles, Highway 54 becomes a little mini-freeway, lifting up over neighborhoods and leapfrogging over the Fox River. On the west bank of the Fox is Ashland Avenue (Highway 32), which is available via an exit. For train enthusiasts, Green Bay is the site of the National Railroad Museum (2285 S. Broadway, accessible along Highway 32 about two miles south of Highway 54), which features over 70 locomotives and train cars, including the world's largest steam locomotive, known as "Big Boy."

On the east bank of the Fox River, Highway 57 comes in as Monroe Avenue. At this point, Highway 54 leaves Mason Street and joins Highway 57 for the into downtown Green Bay.

Left: The Brown County Courthouse, at nearby Highway 29 (Walnut Street) and Jefferson Avenue. Right: Highways 54 and 57 join together for the ride through Green Bay's downtown and east side.

East of downtown Green Bay, a strip known as "Olde Main Street" offers a variety of shops. Around these points, Highway 29 meets up with Highway 54 and Highway 57 before heading out of town on what is also US Highway 141. This commercial strip was the main road to Milwaukee before I-43 was constructed.

Highway 54 & 57 become a freeway east of the junction with I-43 for about five miles before Highway 57 heads northeast to Sturgeon Bay and Door County, while Highway 54 heads east toward Algoma.

On the way, Highway 54 goes through New Franken and into Kewaunee County, where it enters Luxemburg (pop. 1,935), one of many towns in this area named after European places. Others in close proximity include Denmark, Brussels and Poland. The town was named after, not surprisingly, the home country of its first settlers, who came from the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, an area that has since graced the town with a statue to commemorate U.S. soldiers who helped free Luxemburg in World War II. Luxemburg also hosts the Kewaunee County Fair on the (not surprisingly named) Kewaunee County Fairgrounds. Also nearby is the Luxemburg Speedway, which hosts IMCA modifides and other races. The Speedway is on the south side of town, best accessible via 3rd Street.

Continuing east, Highway 54 heads through Casco (pop. 572), Rio Creek and Rankin, all very small settlements about 2-3 miles apart.

And with that, we come to the eastern end of Highway 54 at Algoma (pop. 3,357), perched atop the Lake Michigan shore and home to a large charter and commercial fishing fleet (once the largest on Lake Michigan) as well as a nice downtown. Algoma also has a nice beach. Fish shantys used to dot the shoreline, and some remain, which leads to the biggest annual event in town, "Shanty Days", which takes place every August. They have fish, music, and - if you ask nice - beer and wine. Algoma is known as a salmon and trout capital of the Midwest. They make stuff here, too: hammocks, doors, mops and labels among them. Algoma also has a heavy Belgian population (as in "numerous.")

WINERY ALERT!
Algoma is home to the Von Stiehl Winery, the oldest licensed winery in Wisconsin. The winery offers tours in its building constructed in the 1860s, back when Algoma was called Ahnapee (they renamed it Algoma in 1879.) In 1967, when the building was about 100 years old, Dr. Charles Stiehl founded the winery, using Door County's famous cherries to create Door County Montmorency Cherry Wine. Over 30 varieties are available now, including several produced just for special events. Tours are available for $3.50 from May through October; wine tasting is complimentary all year.

On the south side of Algoma, Highway 54 ends at Highway 42, 243 miles from its origin over the Mississippi River going into Winona, Minnesota. Travelers to Door County at this point can use Highway 42, or County S, which runs through Algoma's northeast side and serves as a "short cut" to Sturgeon Bay. If you follow Highway 42, you'll go through downtown Algoma and then head along the Ahnapee River (they changed the name of the town, but not the name of the river) for several miles to Forestville.

Algoma's downtown is clearly delineated with this arch.
A lil' bit of fog drifts in from Lake Michigan, covering part of Algoma's shore near the beach along Highway 42, right where Highway 54 ends.

CONNECTIONS
West Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: Minnesota Highway 43, Wisconsin Highway 35
Can connect nearby to: U.S. Highway 53, about 7 miles east

East Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: Highway 42

Upcoming events in places along Highway 54:
Green Bay, A Heritage Hill Christmas, December 20, 2014
Green Bay, Green Bay Botanical Garden's WPS Garden of Lights, December 19-21, 2014

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Best Western
Arrowhead Lodge & Suites

600 Oasis Rd.
Black River Falls, WI 54615
(715) 284-9471
Link to hotel and reservations



Best Western
Plover Hotel & Conference Center
5253 Harding Avenue
Plover, WI 54467
(715) 544-6200
Link to hotel and reservations


BEST WESTERN PLUS
Grand Seasons Hotel
110 Grand Seasons Dr.
Waupaca, WI 54981
(715) 258-9212
Link to hotel and reservations





Highway 54 through Green Bay (click around for interactive map.)


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Best Western
Midway Hotel Green Bay

780 Armed Forces Drive
Green Bay, WI 54304
(920) 499-3161
Link to hotel and reservations