Fort McCoy

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Andrea says:
December 17, 2010 at 9:54 am

Fort McCoy is a small National Guard and Reserve training post in Southwest Wisconsin. It is located between Sparta, on the west, and Tomah, on the east. It straddles State Highway 21.

Unfortunately, since this is a training post whose main focus is the training, mobilization and demobilization of National Guard and Reserve troops, that is what the commissary and PX both cater to. The commissary is small and is often more expensive than the surrounding community. There are very few things that I can find there that I can?「どィび「t find in the community. The produce section is small, there is no deli or bakery, and most meat orders have to be ordered ahead of time from the Great Lakes commissary in Illinois.

The PX is only just slightly larger that most of the PX Shoppettes I?「どィび「ve run into during my years as a military wife. There is a small clothing section with only men?「どィび「s and misses sized clothing. A single shelving unit and a rack of bicycles is the toy section. The uniform section takes up a corner in the back of the store. There are plenty of toiletry type things available and several aisles of snack food and alcohol. There is a small snack station for hot snacks and coffee. And, there is a small ?「どィ?food court?「どィャ with a Robin Hood. Outside are four gas pumps. Gas only runs about 1 cent cheaper than in the community and considering the drive to get out there, it?「どィび「s not much savings. There are no gas loyalty programs (such as with Safeway, Costco, Kroger, etc.) in the community, so you have to be vigilant to find a deal on gas.

The small towns surrounding Fort McCoy both have Super Walmarts. As far as grocery shopping, there is a local chain of stores (Burnstad?「どィび「s) in addition to a Piggly Wiggly, an Aldi and several farm stores. There are also opportunities to buy produce and eggs from local Amish families. Department stores (and Target!) can be found and hour away in LaCrosse or an hour and a half away in Eau Claire or Madison. In my opinion, Madison has the best shopping with several malls and just about every store/restaurant you would want. Or you can drive about three hours up to Minneapolis and go to the Mall of America. No shortage of places to shop there!

MWR is where I think Fort McCoy really shines! They have excellent activities and there is something going on every month. Fort McCoy has its own ski/snow tubing area, a large campground, a small miniature golf course, a swim beach and a newly renovated childrens?「どィび「 play area with handicap accessible play equipment. There is no movie theater, but they are able to show movies (with free popcorn!) on Friday evenings at the Community Activities Center. Also at the CAC, pool tables, ping pong, Xbox 360 tournaments, outdoor volleyball in the summer, movie and game rentals, and a whole lot more. Again, most cater to the soldiers there only temporarily for training, but there are still plenty of family activities.

MWR also has a bar/grill/activity center called McCoy?「どィび「s. The bowling center can be found there as well. I?「どィび「m sure I?「どィび「m forgetting something because there is so much to do. One tip for anyone stationed here, make sure you sign up for the MWR weekly newsletter.

As for community activities, there are several ski areas, Wisconsin Dells is only 45 minutes away with indoor water parks and small outlet mall, and there are a movie theater in Tomah (one of the small communities surrounding post) and movie theaters in LaCrosse, Eau Claire, and Madison. There are lots of small community museums (bicycling in Sparta, cranberry farming in Tomah, children?「どィび「s museum in LaCrosse), and no shortage of parks (require a minimal day use fee) and hiking/cycling trails in the area.

There is no exemption to licensing fees or taxes in Wisconsin, so if you get plates for your vehicle, you will have to pay taxes first. There is generally no problem in having your vehicle licensed in a different state here.

SNOW! I?「どィび「ve never lived someplace with lots of snow before, so this was a first. In our experience, snow lasts from the first part of December until April. Part of your responsibility is keeping driveways, sidewalks and around mailboxes and hydrants clear of snow. Housing does issue snow blowers on a neighbor sharing system (we share with our immediate next door neighbors only, but some blowers are shared among three families). You have to provide the fuel to run them. Community roads are kept clear of snow really well, so driving isn?「どィび「t really an issue and schools take very few snow days here. (I?「どィび「m sure this probably isn?「どィび「t much different than Alaska)

Churches are fairly well represented. Our little town has Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, non-denominational churches, but no Presbyterian.

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