Escaping Wisconsin

>> 6.21.2009

We escaped the Badger State for the first time since last summer. Granted, it was only a border
crossing (no passports necessary), as was the prior escape, but the child did get a new state added to her life list. Hello, Iowa!

Random observations from the two-day jaunt to the Mississippi River:

1. Wind farms make for an alien landscape. You keep staring, feeling like you've stumbled onto a Star Wars film shoot.

2. McGregor, Iowa, is cute. Going down a barely marked road and finding a shady observation platform on which to eat lunch and watch grain operations (t
rucks, trains, and barges) was a fine discovery (see number 6, below).

3. It's marvelous traveling with a six-year-old who has just developed a voracious appetite for chapter books. She quietly read to herself for more than an hour. Yet she's still young enough to sl
eep for the other two hours. She also can handle the water slides and the bathroom stall alone, bonus points for Mom.

4. Fur trading re-enactments make you feel like you've stumbled onto a film shoot of another genre, more Blazing Saddles-esque.

5. Free entertainment on a Friday night kept the family entranced for nearly two hours: We watched bar
ges go through Lock 9 on the Mississippi. We met tug boat workers and lock employees, saw them break up two river tows, learned how everything worked (I'm married to an engineer, after all), and avoided the heavy rain that traveled just south of us before pummeling our house again. (Our only fallout from the rain was a wet hiking trail while observing a muddy Wisconsin River.)

6. The
"I don't like to travel" spouse will have a grand time away from home as long as I find interesting airplanes, trains, or ships, or related museums. Mr. "Why would I ever want to go to St. Louis?" now wants to go ASAP to watch the river tows grow from 15 to 45 barges.

7. The new vehicle, complete with its very own state parks pass, got its first taste of the open road and rewarded us with 39 mpg with the air conditioning on most of the way.

8. We found a cave, waterfall, and a pink elephant. You just never know...

9. Being able to order cheap but decent food (and beer) poolside, while reading a magazine and watching the child run herself ragged on the water slides was a great way to wrap the day.

Next stop: ???
Maybe passports finally will be required.


One of those days

>> 6.15.2009

Some days you just want to vent to anyone who will listen. And what better place to do that than on a blog.

But after running through the events that made this day annoying, I've decided to spare you the details.

Instead I will summarize my biggest pet peeves:

1. Overturned semis that close freeways during rush hour leading to four-suburb gridlock.

2. Stores that don't have anything you need in stock.

3. Overpriced big-chain food stores, that also don't have what you need in stock but you stopped in because you were in the same strip mall as the stores in item 2.

4. Parents who "raise" rude, obnoxious children, who are left free to roam the zoo without regard for fellow citizens.

5. Weak iced coffee.

I think that's about it. I left out a few others, but you get the idea.

As a local news anchor used to say, good night, and better tomorrows.



>> 6.12.2009

I remain in hibernation due to the late arrival of temperatures I deem acceptable. Beach girl hasn't even used her state parks pass yet. There is potential for this situation to change next week.

Stay tuned.


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