Open Road Project: I Ride on the Seat in Iowa County, Wisconsin

13 Jul

When I’m on a vacation, be it a month-long backpacking trip or weekend jaunt, each day I plan to leave a section of Walt Whitman’s Song of the Open Road. I might leave it in a B&B guestbook, tuck a note behind a hotel painting or write it on a dollar bill I spend at a hot dog stand. In any case, I’ll be tracking where I leave the poem here. I call it The Open Road Project.  Click on the stanzas below to find out where they’ve been left and track the poem’s progress here.

We spent the fourth of July weekend with my sister, my mom and her boyfriend at his farm house in Iowa County, Wisconsin.  I’ve always loved Wisconsin, especially this area, which features a great art community, the homestead of Frank Lloyd Wright, House on the Rock and other unique and delightful things to see.  It was a great weekend of eating, reading and shooting off fireworks.

farm house


I left the 38th section of the poem at Arthur’s Supper Club, a funky little Knights-of-the-Round-Table themed restaurant in Spring Green, Wisconsin where we were lucky enough to be seated in the “waterfall room,” which sported a wall mural of rolling hills and a man-made waterfall.  I unfortunately lost almost all of the pictures I took on the trip, so you’ll have to settle for my description of it’s grandeur.

Why when they leave me do my pennants of joy sink flat and lank?
Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious
thoughts descend upon me?
(I think they hang there winter and summer on those trees and always
drop fruit as I pass;)

I left the 39th section of the poem at Taliesen, the summer home of Frank Lloyd Wright.  Growing up in the Midwest, I’ve always admired his work, but it was really fun seeing the house he called home.

What is it I interchange so suddenly with strangers?
What with some driver as I ride on the seat by his side?
What with some fisherman drawing his seine by the shore as I walk by
and pause?


One Response to “Open Road Project: I Ride on the Seat in Iowa County, Wisconsin”

  1. Kate July 14, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    I saw your mom and her boyfriend at Whistler’s last Sunday! Small world… 🙂

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