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Archive for July 14th, 2006

Midwest Tour, Minnesota/Wisconsin

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Moonrise in Rural Southeastern MinnesotaWe left Minnesota while the sun was still up, and determined to get as far as we could before turning in for the night. We did not get very far. It had been an exausting trip, never mind that the two weeks before the trip were intense for me while I knit my self-portrait. And the two weeks before that, I spent promoting our CD release party.

That is to say that yours truly had not had much sleep in a good long while. And tired is not the way to drive! My brother and I have a pact, that we will not drive with our eyes closed. It’s a serious pact, though it sounds funny. That means being willing to stop short of the goal in order to stay safe.

It was a beautiful drive, especially as the sun was setting. The part of Minnesota where we were is quite flat, and you can see a long distance over farmland as you drive. Very pretty, and I was able to catch a photo of the moon rising over the fields.

Wisconsin DellsWe got to LaCrosse, Wisconsin (on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin, at the Mississippi River. We had stayed there on our honeymoon ten years ago and so it felt welcoming and familiar to us. We fell asleep early and slept late. Aaah!

The next day (Monday) we had decisions to make. Brian and I like to collect cities. Should we have lunch in Madison? (We love Madison, we stayed there on our Honeymoon as well, and it’s a town with very good international cuisine.) Should we take the time to detour to Milwaukee, a city we both had never seen before? If we did that detour, would we regret it by hitting Chicago at a bad traffic time?

State Street, Madison, WisconsinSince I had not found food for breakfast in LaCrosse, I was eager to eat. And since I know there is much food I can eat in Madison even with my allergies, I lobbied for that as our lunch spot.

Wisconsin Dells was even closer, but it’s more of a regular American-Fare sort of town and I was afraid we’d spend a lot of time looking and not find any food I could eat. (Wisconsin Dells has been a vacation spot since my Grandma Illa was young, it’s in a natural beauty area… but it’s more what my dad once called a “Tourist Trap” although it’s nicer now… but they are more likely to have Perkins Pancakes and McDonalds than Indian or Ethiopian food.)

Nepalese Food as ArtWe stopped for gasoline and juice in the Dells and headed on to Madison. You can see in the photo there is a roller coaster in the background… you can also find boat rides and Jellystone Park and water parks, miniature golfing, you name it. On our honeymoon we found the Flamingo Motel (which was closed for the season given that it was October) and had our photos taken under the two-story fiberglass flamingo out front. It’s total Americana. I love it for being true to itself. But it’s not food heaven for Lynn.

So we pressed on to Madison. I just adore Madison. It reminds me of Ann Arbor although smaller. I looked on the Internet for international food there before we left. There is Turkish, Indian, Japanese, Nepalese, all sorts of other nationalities I can’t remember. I was actually interested in finding the Turkish place when we arrived, but we ended up at a Nepalese restaurant where I’d eaten before so I knew it was good. We sure don’t have that cuisine in Lansing!

Restaurant InteriorMadison was welcoming even though of course in the middle of construction season. We got stopped by a long train at one point (Brian took photos of the graffiti, I’ll get back to that someday when I’m not so behind on postiings). But when we got down to State Street, all was well. Yes, they were tearing up many spots but we could walk the sidewalks just fine. We had several good choices for lunch but I’m glad we had food from Nepal. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Street with Cow Sculpture in Madison, WIThe restaurant has large storefront glass windows allowing sunshine into the place. They have painted the front wall’s arched detail with several colors to accent the shapes. Very nice indeed. Tables were close enough together that patrons talked to one another even if they had not met before. The waitress was enthusiastic and helpful. It was a good experience.

On the way back we enjoyed looking at the fiberglass dairy cows that had been decorated by various artists. One I got a photo of, was decorated by abstract cheese slices. Very cheerful and very Wisconsin indeed.

1) Moonrise over Southeastern Minnesota. 2) Wisconsin Dells near the highway exit. 3) State Street, Madison Wisconsin. 4) Nepalese Food as Art. 5) Interior of Nepalese restaurant. 6) Cow Sculpture and streetscape in Madison.