Monday morning, we left Jolien’s (a couch surfing host) with our sites on Middleton, less than an hour outside of Madison and home to the Mustard Museum. We stopped in there after repacking/organizing the car in Madison.
I have never seen so much mustard. Seriously. There was herb mustard and horse radish mustard and mustard with whole mustard seeds packed to the brim. They had antique mustard pots from the early 1900s and from around the world. They had vintage (extremely sexist) mustard ads. Apparently, in the 30s and 40s mustard was a pretty new thing; the ads were all about how to use mustard correctly. And how they would make your man strong and happy when at work. They also had a quiz thingie which grabbed the attention of us trivia geeks. Do you know which country exports the most mustard?
From Middleton, we headed to where we had heard a nude beach was. We had to ask directions at a liquor store and then from a canoe rental place but finally found it. There were tons of cars and dozens of bikes parked around the entrance. We joined them and walked a good quarter mile down to the water. It was hot. Casper was still feeling weak from a few days of sickness, but we made it.
So many naked people! Playing volleyball, sunning themselves, wading in the wide, sandy river, boating. I loved it! We took our clothes off pretty quick so we could get sun screen on. A guy named Michael came up and talked to us about the beach. He said, “It looks like this is your first time in the sun this season” and we both laughed. Casper is a ghost (thus the name) and we’re both suspicious of the sun. He burns hard but I just freckle. Either way, we both were kinda glowing from being so untan.
Michael told us that he’s been going to this beach – Mazo Beach, between Sauk City and Mazomanie – for 20 years and is involved in the group that is defending the beach against local religious groups who are trying to shut it down. We’d read about this conflict online, too. He told us that certain parts of our bodies we should apply sunscreen on ourselves instead of letting the other do it and that if we were going to walk anywhere off the beach we should put a towel on.
He said they’d just cut down all the brush around the beach to cut down on the “riff raff”. Since Casper and I were sort of looking for a more private place, we later came up with the stencil idea “we are the riff raff” and are quite proud of it.
We waded and swam. Casper takes a lot longer to get into water than me; I claim it is because I have so much blubber to keep me warm and he is just skin and bones. There was a sandbar half way out into the river that we waded to. The whole river bank and bottom were *so* sandy. Casper found a fist-sized rock with his feet and that was the only rock we ever really detected. The beach was sandy, hot and surrounded on three sides with dense forest. So beautiful!
We spent three hours there and we hadn’t brought books, cards, chess or anything. We just spent three hours – that felt like one – basking, wading, etc.