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Day 35

July 4, 2010 3 comments

Location: Near Springfield, IL

Miles Driven: ~320

Total Miles: 6,966

In the morning, Julie, Christie, and I walked to a diner near the downtown area and enjoyed a great breakfast from a place hailed “Best Milwaukee Diner 2008” and “Best Brunch 2009”.  The Comet Cafe was certainly deserving of those titles.

My "Buttofucco" sandwich and fries

We walked downtown for a while, and by the scenic riverwalk.  I am jealous of Christie getting to live in this area (and understand why Julie has visited several times).  Thanks again to Julie for snapping some of these pictures.

We took a number of shots of each other throughout the afternoon, so I combined the best ones into a little collage here.  Good times.

Got back to Christie’s in the early afternoon, and then I packed up the car and said my goodbyes.  Thanks again to Julie and Christie for a great time in Wisconsin.

Headed in a southwest direction towards St. Louis.  I hadn’t realized all the farmland that existed in Illinois, and there’s a lot of it in the central and southern parts of the states.  Illinois has a good number of wind farms, as well.

The strangest thing happened while driving on that Saturday night.  I began to hear what sounded like raindrops hitting my car, in typical raindrop patterns.  But I knew the skies were 100% clear, so I had my suspicions it was not rain.  Yep, sure enough I drove through some giant swarm of bugs, and I hit so many so fast it sounded like rain hitting the windshield.  Gross.

Where bugs go to die

I stopped at a rest stop just north of Springfield, IL (home of Abe Lincoln).  The plan for Sunday the Fourth is to check out the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, then plug my way forward to OK City.  I’m somewhat pushing myself here, as I hope to get to Houston on Monday.  But for those concerned of my safety, rest assured I always nap/sleep whenever the slighest bit of tiredness hits me on the road.  As Mom always said, “no point rushing just to arrive there dead.”  That’s stuck with me for years.

Adios for now.

joe

Categories: Uncategorized

Day 34: Cheeseheadedness

July 4, 2010 4 comments

Location: Milwaukee, WI

Miles Driven: 85

Total Miles: 6,646

On Thursday I received a call from my friend Kelly’s sister, Christie, inviting me up to Milwaukee.  I had met Christie before, and their friend Julie (who would also be visiting).  Knowing these two fun people would be there, and having never visited Wisconsin, I said I would go (didn’t hurt that Milwaukee is only 1.5 hrs north of Chicago).

So I left Tanya and Alberto’s place as they headed out to work.  Took a break on the way to get some exercise at a rest stop (I have been eating far too well lately).  Mix that in with a quick nap and some construction, I arrived at Christie’s place in Milwaukee shortly after 11AM.

After I got myself cleaned up and organized, Julie, Christie, and I took a drive out to Madison, the capital of Wisconsin.  It wasn’t very far…I think another 1.5 hrs.  Added bonus, I was a passenger, so I got to relax in the backseat and take a break from driving.  Madison is a beautiful place and a very walkable city.  It is also the home of the University of Wisconsin (Badgers) in a picturesque setting.  Our first destination after parking was the capitol building.

The inside of the dome

Beautiful building.  It was soon time for lunch, and the three of us had a lot of choices as Madison was full of different kinds of restaurants – Tibetan, Indian, American, Japanese, etc.  We settled on a Nepalese restaurant with outdoor seating, and I absolutely loved the food.  I have tentative plans to visit Nepal this October, so if the food cooked here is anything like the food in Nepal, I will certainly enjoy the trip.

Julie and Christie

My order: a tasty tofu and vegetables dish

So delicious

On the hunt for some famous Wisconsin cheese curds, we came across a cupcakery with all kinds of great looking cupcakes.

Sometimes you have to combat all the frosting by just taking a huge bite

We wandered over to the University of Wisconsin area which sits on the shore of Lake Mendota. Thanks to Julie for taking over camera responsibilities for a while – she got some great shots.

A campus admin. building (or castle)

view of Lake Mendota

campus building

We walked around the downtown Madison area a bit more, and then it was time to head back to Milwaukee.  Before going back to Christie’s, she drove us through scenic parts of downtown as well as along the shore of Lake Michigan.  What a city.

Art museum. The sails go down at nighttime. Pretty cool

So I just happened to come to Milwaukee at the time of Summerfest, which I think is 10 days of food and big name concerts.  So after a break back home, the three of us headed down to Summerfest along with Christie’s boyfriend, Mario.  It was an absolute zoo, but I got to try some famous Milwaukee bratwurst and we all were able to settle our hunger for cheese curds (little fried balls of cheese).  Pretty good.

A view of the craziness that is Summerfest from my phone

After a couple hours of Summerfesting, it was late and we were all pretty beat.  On Saturday, the plan is to head out to breakfast and do some walking around, and then I’ll hit the road and head south in the early afternoon.

Wisconsin is a beautiful place, and I’m glad I had the chance to come up here.

joe