Duane Marciniak

After I recently purchased 5 more Decoding The Driftless DVDs, Tim Jacobson emailed me to thank me for my support  and asked what my connection to the Driftless was…  Well, my friends call me ‘King of the Driftless’, lol, and I wear that title proudly.  We are avid motorcyclists, and I’m always elected to lead the ride.  It’s a blissfully easy assignment, as one of the side benefits of the amazing, unique to the world Driftless geology coupled with a powerful Dairy lobby in the early 1900’s demanding good roads to get their product to market, resulted in one of the finest networks of empty backroads in the US!  By empty, I mean you are much more likely to come across a farm implement than another vehicle.

Tim’s simple question of what my connection to the Driftless is, made me stop and contemplate.  My soul is the connection to the Driftless.  I was amazed and fell in love long before I ever heard of the term Driftless or had any idea what a secret, hidden gem unique to the world that it is, which, thanks to Sustainable Driftless documentaries, I’ve been made aware of.

In 1983, I was invited  on a hunting trip by a  childhood friend to De Soto.  The hunting trip was fun, but the scenery was amazing.  To me, the winding roads through the Driftless was jaw dropping and thrilling for a 20 year old in his brand new Toyota Celica.

Fast forward a couple decades and I got my first road bike in the 90’s.

Looking at a detailed road map of Wisconsin and the Driftless Area jumps out at you!  Squiggly lines abound and I became obsessed with finding and riding some of the best motorcycle/driving roads in America! 

Fast forward two more decades, in 2018, I’m looking for land in the Driftless and  stumble across a piece of land, for sale by the owner, passed over by several others and instantly fell in love!  Then I discovered those documentaries describing the geological features that are unique to the Driftless, the mushrooms and the slopes where the cold air flows through which allows an environment for ancient snails and flowers, sinkholes, goat prairies, etc, etc…..Well, my piece of land is a gem within the Driftless!.  I’m at the base of a ridge, which flattens out to the bottoms, a 2 acre slue which creates a wetlands that drains into the Kickapoo, of which I have 1300 ft of frontage,  On top of that, My land is the territory of  a Bald Eagles nest that the DNR was unaware of!  So, yes, not only did I stumble across a beautiful piece of the Driftless, with 1/4 mile of Kickapoo frontage, but it came with a pair of Eagles!

Then came Decoding the Driftless.  When first watching the DVD,  I was instantly enthralled.  I watched it 5 times in the first weekend.  The geological history of the land I had been in love with for decades was explained; it just floored me!  I just bought 16 acres in this paradise and these documentaries really rocked my world.    So much so that I bought several copies to share with my riding buddies back in ’18.  As I get to know my neighbors out here, I always ask if they’ve seen Decoding the Driftless and was surprised most had not, so I bought 5 copies to share and spread the knowledge of this incredible land with those who have lived here their entire lives!

That, my friends, is priceless!