Friday, August 20, 2010

Madison, WI

When I did a study abroad travel program in Europe for architecture, we traveled for two solid months without stopping. What I started to notice over the course of the trip was that everyone seemed to have a day here or there when they would simply have to do nothing all day. It varied for everyone, but generally every two weeks or so, the constant day to day activity caught up to everyone. Everything gets annoying, and tiring, and you just need to crash. Yes we were vigorous college kids, but we also went out every night, so I feel like it is pretty similar to my present trip.

Well, we are very close to the two week mark. And today was our crash day…

It was hot and humid today. There was a thunderstorm in the middle of the night which disrupted sleep. We had some miscommunication about where we were going and what we were going to do. I’ll reiterate that it was hot and humid today. There seemed to be construction pretty much everywhere we went. The RV smells a lot more than usual. We haven’t showered in a few days. We’ve been going strong for almost two weeks. We’re tired. We’re siblings…

So we crashed.

But don’t worry, there weren’t any fireworks. Just a bit of alone time for the first time in the trip… Me working on the computer while Megs drove. And Megs went to the back and took a nap while I drove.

But the rest of the day was pretty good, besides the weather of course…

We took a scenic drive down the Mississippi River that turned out to be a nice route. We crossed over from Minnesota to Wisconsin about halfway down. Also, we passed several Dam & Lock stations. For some reason I never realized the extent of the dam & lock systems along the majority of the rivers in the Midwest and South. Captain Chuck from the Pictured Rocks actually spent about 15 minutes answering someone’s question of how the boat that we were on got to Lake Superior. He explained that it was built in Mississippi and that he and a few others went down to get it and cruise it up to the Lake. He told us how they started by going up the Mobile river and that, hundreds of canals, rivers, and locks later, they arrived on Lake Superior, 600 or so feet above where they started at sea level!!! Except he listed them all off, the entire route! It was overwhelming, but at the same time, seemed like a really cool 15 day trip.

So anyone out there who loves being out on the water and is looking for a new business opportunity, I give you one of my many business ideas… Get yourself a decent size boat to hold, feed, and sleep X amount of passengers. Then take them on a 2 week trip through the country from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. The “cruise” of sorts would take you through the complexity, history, and majesty of the United States canals & waterways system. Sounds like a winner to me…

So that’s what I came up with while gazing at the amazing landscape that the Mississippi has carved out over the ages. We then turned back into Wisconsin and headed to Madison. We drove around a bit before finding a spot to park for a couple hours. Then got out and wandered a little bit…


It’s a really nice little city! I like the plan of the large square around the Capital building and then the pedestrian friendly State street connecting it to the University of Wisconsin campus. With the two lakes on either side of the downtown area, it has a really clean, natural, friendly feeling to it.

So the rest of this evening has been spent doing laundry and generally cleaning up the RV. And then we are going to treat ourselves to KFC! And tomorrow morning we are going to a place to get a shower before we do anything… That should help us recharge a bit.

Because things get going again in earnest tomorrow!!! We head to Milwaukee, WI. We are going to explore the city in the morning, and then we are taking a 4 hour beer brewery boat tour! We start at one brewery, then get on the boat and go to another, then another, and then back. It’s going to be awesome!! Hey, it’s Milwaukee. What else are you gonna do??

Then following that, 2 full days in Chicago! Then down through St. Louis to visit my friend Jordan in Kansas City. Then across the plains to Denver and Colorado in general!!! Exciting stuff!


  1. Oh I didn't know you were seeing Jordan! That's so awesome! Enjoy your KFC and your showers - hope you are both in better spirits after that :-) Have fun on the brewery tour!

  2. So far I have enjoyed seeing some of the places that we saw when the kids were little when we went out west as far as Mount Rushmore. It brought back great memories of our trip. We took lots of pictures but my camera broke on the way out and we had 20 rolls of blank film. I guess with digital cameras that wouldn't happen because you know exactly what your picture looks like after you take it. I guess that there are good things about technology... this blog being one of them. Keep up the good work.

  3. speaking of needing a break, i've been enjoying your commentary so far scotty but when do we get a guest blog from megs...or does she have her own website. also i'd just like to add that its fitting you had your first down day in wisconsin...least favorite state ever