Touching the Buffalo
In the spring of 1993 I took, what I thought would be, the final road trip in my 18 foot long station wagon. It was through the back roads of Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois to a small town named Quincy. It was a nice adventure to a wedding in a small rain drenched town on the Mississippi that had the only bridge for thousands of mile that had not been washed out by the flood a week earlier.
As I drove across US-12 to Chicago, the only way to get to Chicago before the invention of freeways, there was a sign that read “Touch the Buffalo for a dollar.” It was a well weathered sign. But I did not have time on this trip to go touch buffalo, even though I did have a dollar.
Later that year I started college again. It was a glorious Saturday morning in the fall that I made the drive back. It’s only an hour down US-12 from the university through the Irish Hills to Moscow Michigan. Turn right at the flashing yellow light, left at the cross roads, and take the first right.
There you will find a brown sign cut in the shape of an American Bison that states “Buffalo Meat Sold Here.” What the sign won’t tell you is that the horseback riding in this area is exceptional. You can book a group picnic in a covered wagon and cowboy barbeque. Rock and Roll legend (at least around these parts) Ted Nudgent also has hunted here.
So on my first visit donated a dollar and went to watch the smelly hairballs eat their food and stand in poop. It is not the destination, but the journey.
I try to drive back every two years at least in the autumn. The colors here are usually brilliant. Getting a few pounds of buffalo or other wild game is a nice change for grilling occasions.