This morning was a stressful morning for me, and the one I dreaded most; I had to drive through Chicago. It has been haunting me since I found out I had to leave Chris behind for the first few legs and drive it myself.
By the time we arrived in the Chicago area, it was 9:45 Eastern Time (the time zone Middlebury, IN is in), but only 8:45 Central time. As traffic picked up and the number of lanes increased, my grip on the wheel tightened and I started to stress. I'm not used to 7 lanes of traffic on both sides, or 14 lanes total. People in the Chicago area drive like CRAZY, zipping in between cars and lanes like nothing. I was almost sure we were going to get into an accident or witness one. But, we made it through safely.
After Chicago and Rockford areas, it was smooth sailing. Wisconsin was absolutely beautiful farm country. We drove slightly off the beaten path to the small town of Clinton, WI to see the famous, or infamous, Truck in a Tree (photos to be found on Picasa). The attraction itself wasn't a must-see, but it did get us off the highway and into some beautiful farm country. Farms as far as the eye could see; corn, soybeans, and cattle farms. The sky was a gorgeous blue, the crops were a brilliant green, and the white farm houses with silos jutting into the sky were everything you see in photos. My photos, however, do not do justice to the area.
Another stop today was to Mount Horeb, WI. This is the Troll Capitol of the World. This small community used to be located along the main highway until the I-90 was constructed, thus moving truck traffic away from the town some years back. In order to try to continue to thrive, the town started commissioning local artists to create large trolls to place along Main Street. I really enjoyed searching for these little guys. We also ate at a very delicious pub in town and tried our very first fried cheese curds. They were everything Mid-Westerners say about them and more. They are pure joy for the taste buds. However, being lactose intolerant, I'm paying for my splurge tonight......
We also were able to visit Wyalusing State Park, just outside of Prairie Du Chien, WI. Here, you are able to view both the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. The colors are visibly different; the Mississippi is brown and muddy in color, whereas the Wisconsin is blue. We were also able to see a train pass below us. Be sure to look for it in the photos. The state park also displayed an area of Indian Mounds. These mounds were constructed roughly 1000 years ago by the Indians and are found only in this area. Some are shaped like animals, others are rounded, and still others are very long. The Indians built these mounds for ceremonial/religious purposes, and even buried some of their dead in these. When the mounds were shaped like animals, the dead were buried where the heart of the animal would be.
We finally arrived at our hotel this evening at 5:00 PM local time. I kept it a secret from Hope that there was a small indoor water park at the hotel until we arrived, so I could check it out in person first before possibly disappointing her. After looking at it, I decided it looked fun and safe, so we all went down and enjoyed an hour-and-a-half or so of swimming. Hope had so much fun in the pool she gave us a hard time about leaving. But, both my mom and I were really pooped, so we had to drag her out of the pool crying. We decided Subway was a good choice for dinner, and took it back to the room to enjoy.
It is now 9:00 PM local time, and Mee Mee has just finised reading a story to Hope. We are all getting ready to turn in for the night, and I think we're going to sleep in tomorrow morning. Tomorrow's game plan is to travel along the Mississippi River and see some of the small towns located along its banks. One of these towns on the list is Pepin, WI, famous for being the location of Laura Ingalls Wilder's book Little House in the Big Woods.
I will try to post photos tonight on Picasa, but, if not tonight, then tomorrow.
Quote from today: (I get to say the stupid quote of the day today)
Me: (after traveling 85 miles this morning): Oh, it's not 3 lanes any more, it's only 2.
Mom: Um, it never was 3 today... it's been this way since we started out.
Oops!!! :) And just think - I was the one driving.....
Wildlife sightings for the day: baby toad at Wyalusing State Park and lots of roadkill
Highlights of the day:
eating the sticky buns I purchased from an Amish lady in Middlebury - absolutely sinful!!!
Trying cheese curds for the first time
the trolls in Mount Horeb
Lowlights of the day: driving through the Chicago area and nearly ****ing my britches
Driving through Gary, Indiana - a highly industrial, impoverished-looking area; not a place I would want to visit or break down in!