La Crosse residents are blessed with beautiful scenery year-round, making it easy to take something vital to the area for granted.
"I have people from all over, from all over U.S. and also other countries, that come to this area, never seen the Mississippi, take a look at how big it is, and they like to go out there," Captain Mario De Guzman, owner of Lazy River Boat Rental and Guide Service said.
The Mississippi River is a treasure trove when it comes to summer activities.
"Scenery wise, fishing wise, birdwatching wise. It’s all come together to be one of the best areas in the state of Wisconsin. You can’t beat it. This is it."
Captain Mario has spent almost his whole life out on the water, and when it came time to retire, he chose Stoddard, Wisconsin as a place to set up shop. He rents out pontoons, and drives the boat around or lets people take solo adventures, guided by his knowledge of the river.
"As beautiful as the Mississippi is, she’s very unforgiving. So I give them the information they need to stay safe and enjoy the day."
Much of the area we cruise in used to be farmland, before the dam flooded the region. Now, the Upper Mississippi’s open waters and lush landscape draw people in.
"Most of the people go, I can’t believe it’s this massive. This Coulee Region has so many valleys, and beautiful things to see."
Although Mario says the sights may have originally drawn him to set us his business in the area, it’s the people that made him stay.
"The people that I’ve met in this area are friendly, they’re courteous. I think it has to do with waking up every morning and just seeing the scenery and you just feel good about yourself."
Pontoon this summer may just provide that good feeling, by letting people go with the flow.
For another adventure make sure to check back next Wednesday for a new episode of Hometown Tourist and a chance to make the La Crosse area your own.