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Exit 74
N 43° 45.692' W 89° 58.441' Lyndon Station
Lyndon Station Rest area 09

         Lyndon station is located in the driftless area, the place where the glaciers never came through all of the Wisconsin ice ages. This puts it in the heart of Wisconsin, and the middle of the small town countryside. Tourism is huge here. When people decide they want to get away from it all, this is one of the areas they come.
        This is a wonderful part of the state, with a mixture of geologic formations, history, the start of the north woods, and small town charm.
        The area here features the Wisconsin Dells, a number of state parks, Baraboo, home of the Circus World Museum, and Devil's Lake.
        This station is the twin of the Mauston station that serves traffic going in the opposite direction.
According to the DMV, this area was first opened in 1964, and then updated with the present structures and layout in 1992. Several recycling centers are located at the front and rear portions of the building, to serve the needs of the truckers,and of the tourist and casual traveler. This rest area, like most others, features a collection of offerings, including the main building, with rest rooms, a picnic area, manicured grounds, parking areas for cars and truck, the recycling stations, a vending area, and a place to get water and local information. This is all contained within a park like setting, near some local tourist areas.


  • Northwest of Lyndon Station, Juneau County
  • Mile marker 74
  • GPS coordinates: N 43° 45.692' W 89° 58.441'


  • 54 car and 23 truck parking stalls
  • Men’s and women’s restrooms
  • Family/assisted restroom
  • Handicapped accessible
  • Diaper changing facilities
  • Drinking water
  • Vending machines
  • Travel/weather info
  • Telephones plus TTY
  • Picnic area and tables
  • Pet exercise area
  • Recycling areas



         Typically, rest areas in Wisconsin have separate parking areas for cars and trucks. This allows for pull in/pull out parking for trucks, and standard angle parking for cars. It also allows for truckers to be given just a bit more privacy while they take mandated rest periods. So they tend to be in their own little trucker world out back, while the man tourist and traveler area is in the front. A total of 54 cars and 23 trucks can be parked here.
         The area here is well wooded, and hilly, with a retaining wall in part of the parking area Travelers are allowed to sleep in their cars, and are allowed to stay for 24 hours. Camping is not allowed, as these areas are here for safety purposes rather than recreational purposes.

Trucks have their own parking area at the back of the stop, away from the freeway. They are pull through spots, so that a truck does not need to be backed up. The truck area has its own pavilion entrance, outdoor areas, recycling center, and picnic grounds. Truck drivers tend to stay longer, and often take mandatory rest breaks, or sleep. So the more private area, away from tourists and casual travelers, serves them well. The two areas diverge at the entrance to the rest area. The area is well lit, safe, and regularly patrolled, as is the rest area as a whole. There is also the safety in numbers factor.


        While Wisconsin rest areas are not meant to be recreational areas or compete with recreational areas, there are some facilities designed to make rest stops pleasant. Pet walking areas, like that shown to the left, are vital for those traveling with pets. Additionally, each rest area has historic and geologic markers, pointing out some unique feature of the local area.
         In this case, there is a marker dedicated to the workings of the Wisconsin River, and another commemorating the sacrifices of the Iron Brigade, from Wisconsin, in the Civil War.

        This area, like most Wisconsin rest areas, features a pleasant picnic ground set among trees and paths winding through well tended lawns.
        Picnic tables are here year round, and are mounted on concrete slabs, to prevent theft and movement, and also to give a secure base which will not turn into mud or be a transit for insects.
        Some of the tables are in little shelters, which are nice for very sunny days, or for rain. Tables are made of metal and fiber, and require little maintenance.
        The grounds make for a pleasant alternative to the expense of eating along the road. There is no provision for grilling here, but a cooler or bag full of sandwiches makes for a pleasant day on the road.


        The centerpiece of any rest area, other than the pervasive highway itself, is the pavilion, called the hut by the DMV. These places are built to government specs, which is to say they are built like tanks.These are steel and concrete structures with brick facades. Unless they are demolished for replacement by larger structures, they might last for centuries.
        This particular pavilion is a twin of the companion stop in Mauston. The two companion strops serve traffic in either direction on I94, and are also of a type similar to those at Lake Mills, Johnson Creek,and many others. When the stops were revamped, the DMV settled on several standardized designs. This is the intermediate sized offering. There are smaller and larger stops, as well as special stops for welcome centers at ethe state line, and a few showcase stops on particularly busy routes or intersecting routes.
        The rather blank face of these buildings is an adaptation for the rough and often unattended use these buildings must endure. Rest areas are open every day of the year, all day long, to serve the needs of the weary traveler. They are out on the road, away from city services, and though regularly maintained are subject to vandalism, and isolation. Additionally, their constant availability means, lights, ventilation, temperature control, and other services are always running.
        The high roof, large sheltered doorways, entry vestibules, and scarcity of windows are all designed with an eye to efficiency, and durability. The few windows present are high set, somewhat small, and quite robust. Plumbing, electrical, and HVAC are all set up for a small footprint and long service.

         I will be returning to this stop, with better equipment, as I am very unsatisfied with these interior photos. But , for now, here they are.

         As mentioned above, these places are designed for continuous unimpeded access. They are designed to provide rest, shelter, comfort, and facilities. The solid construction acts as a bit of a heat sink, and the small amount of window space do not allow for easy transfer of heat and cold, making the place energy efficient. This should make for a a dark and uninviting interior, but the high rafter ceiling helps to give an impression of openness.
        Entry vestibules of glazed brick, with two sets of doors each, greatly  help to maintain temperature. The first thing the traveler sees, upon entry, is a set of vending machines in the vestibule space. It is a welcome sight for a hungry or thirsty visitor, but the bane of parents with small children.
         Vending machines can be a bit pricey out here on the road, since everything has to be trucked in from the nearest town. Proceeds go to the non profit agencies that clean and maintain the rest areas. Generally this is from the American Council for the Blind, though other agencies are also involved.
         Going beyond the glazed brick of the vestibules, the interior spaces are designed for ease of cleaning as well as durability. There are no soft or porous surfaces. The floors are of clay tile, and the walls are of ceramic tile. The doors are steel, and the windows are thick and double paned. The light fixtures are set too high to easily reach and damage, and even the mirrors are of heavy construction.
        The high ceilings allow for a little bit of a view of the steel truss-work of the roof. They also open up the space a bit and allow for better circulation of the air. Locked steel doors lead to the engineering spaces, and the employee and storage areas. These are comfortable and sanitary places to stop. This is the medium sized version of the rest area pavilion huts.
        In addition to rest rooms and vending machines, this area offers a payphone, which can be a Godsend on the road. Not everyone has a cell phone, and not every cell phone has service in every area. These huts are well monitored, and are connected to a network grid run by the DMV.
        Drinking fountains, and a water dispenser tap are provided for those who do not wish to partake of the vending machines. A couple of wooden benches are affixed to the tile floor, providing seating for those not yet ready to return to their vehicle.
         The rest areas of old were filled with various advertisements, flyers, circulars, brochures, and catalogs of local businesses and places of interest. The Internet, and today's smart phones have done away with most of this, but there are exceptions.
        Almost all of today's rest areas offer state maps. Some, usually those at the border,  have tourist information centers. This particular stop has a nice collection of literature because it is in the heart of one of the state's primary tourist areas. Several nearby state parks bring in tourists and tourist dollars to help support the small town economy of the area.
        The entire economy of the nearby Wisconsin Dells area is based upon tourism. The area is known as the water park capital of the world, with more, bigger, and presumably better water-parks than anywhere else. There are even a few indoor water-parks, allowing for year round immersion. This may also be the go kart capital of the world. It is certainly the mother of all tourist traps. The downtown area, away from the water parks on the strip outside of town, is the genuine article. It is filled with the ever present souvenir shops, gift shops, gadget stores, restaurants, bars, and curio shops that have enticed travelers since tourism began.
         For more highway and travel oriented information, several bulletin boards and announcement boards adorn the walls of the pavillion. They tend towards safety and local law enforcement announcements. The boards are all protected by glass or plastic enclosures, so public posting is not permitted. The building has a clock, but is missing the usual weather information station
         Men's room and women's room pairs are on opposite sides of the building. The rest rooms and all the public areas here are spotless, and have been on every visit. Crews come in daily to mop, clean, restock, and note any damage for repair orders. These crews tend to be made up of disabled people working through supportive agencies and underwritten by the state of Wisconsin. Vending machine revenue also assists with the costs. Recycling stations are outside, rather than in the building.
        Lights, HVAC, and other services are on all night here, as at all rest areas. Local sheriff and State patrol checks in from time to time. It is also possible to see cleaning crews at their scheduled times. Other than that, this area is largely unstaffed and unsupervised, and simply open to public use.
        The common design of many of these buildings makes them comfortably familiar to the regular state traveler.  The site is non smoking, as are all public buildings in Wisconsin. There are no fees charged for anything, and unlike some other states, no commercial is permitted from these sites, with the exception of the non profits that handle the routine upkeep.

        The original function highway rest areas was to provide rest rooms. They have advanced, over the years, but this is still their primary function. The rest rooms are completely lined in white glazed tile, with a floor that is slightly sloped towards inset drains. This allows for easy and thorough cleaning.
        Each gender has a pair of restrooms so that even during cleaning, a restroom will always be available. The restrooms have windows, but they are high, frosted, and small, allowing some light and ventilation, but discouraging vandalism and entry/exit through the windows.
        Everything is sturdily built, including the mirrors. Standard plumbing can be used in this particular area, due to proximity of a small town with city services.