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Archive for July 15th, 2006

Midwest Tour, Wisconsin/Illinois/Michigan

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

Miller Park, Milwaukee, WisconsinAfter lunch in Madison we had to decide what to do next. Should we visit Milwaukee just because it was not too much out of the way? Even if it meant we would surely be fighting rush hour traffic there or Chicago depending on how our timing went? We decided to go for it. It was fine. I don’t mind driving at all, and the traffice was crowded but not stopped so that was OK for me.

Hyatt Hotel, Milwaukee, WisconsinThere was incredible construction downtown in Milwaukee, whole bridges taken out. We wanted to go downtown by the water and the way we came in didn’t really allow for that. We actually went slightly south, got off the highway, turned around and went back. I mean, if you are going to go to a city, taking photos from a construction site in rush hour traffic does not really count as a visit.

Historical Building Interior, MilwaukeeOn the way in, Brian got a photo of the baseball stadium: Miller Park. It’s impressive from a distance. It seems every city we hit, I take photos of the baseball stadium… except for Chicago where it just is not easy to photograph from the highway… the passenger taking photos is on the wrong side of the car for a good photo and there are bridges in the way.

We wandered around the city a bit in our car, and got a photo of the Hyatt with a round (maybe rotating?) room on top. There were people still downtown walking around even though businesses were done for the day. We decided to go looking for a cup of good tea before going on. We saw a sign for a Borders Books which surely had a cafe, so parked near that… but ended up at a locally owned spot instead.

Street Scene, MilwaukeeOn the way to finding the coffee house, between the car and the tea, we wandered into a lovely renovated old building with a sculpture of a prominent early-1900s Milwaukee citizen. The building was erected in his honor by his descendants, a decade or two after his death. It was a gorgeous building which is a sort of city mall, with a TJ Maxx as one of the shops. It was a gorgeous detour, indeed.

Baha'i Temple, Evanston, IllinoisWe were not downtown all of 20 minutes but enjoyed walking around a bit and seeing the city from ground level. I’m glad we took the detour. If only we’d known we were going to be there, and could have stayed a while, we might have looked up our friend “Lil Rev” who is a very fine ukulele musician (and who will be playing at Altu’s on a Wednesday in September). As it was, we got tea and headed south to Chicago.

We knew from the trip north, that the main highway near downtown Chicago was under major construction. We decided to pop off the highway again and work through the local streets. We got off at Evanston, north of Chicago, because I wanted to show Brian the magnificent building and gardens of the Baha’i Temple there. I’ve been there a few times, it’s a wonderful, peaceful, beautiful place. We did find it but did not stop. I got a pretty good photo considering we were in a moving car!

Condos, 5700 block Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IllinoisWe found our way through Chicago via Sheridan Road and Lakeshore Drive, down through southern Chicago again. On the way down Sheridan I took a photo of the twin towers of condos where I once nearly purchased a home for myself. Fourth floor, view of Lake Michigan, back yard a public park but with no parking so lightly populated. The kitchen was brushed stainless steel, and the windows had deep marble sills where you could sit and see Lake Michigan (which is more like a small sea, you can not see across it). It was not expensive in 1991 but I am sure I could not afford it now.

Skyline from North Lakeshore Drive, Chicago, IllinoisIf I had found work in Chicago I would have bought the place and never looked back. As it is, I stayed in Lansing, bought a house on the East Side and found Brian. I have no regrets.

Once we got on Lakeshore Drive, I had the opportunity I’ve never had, to take photos of the skyline. I almost always go to Chicago alone and driving Lakeshore is a full-attention experience with no stoplights at which to take photos. I am very pleased with the photos I got this time.

I guess I could have taken more photos between Chicago and Lansing, as we did in fact see a bit of Michigan before the sun went down. However, I guess I’ve traveled that route enough times that I don’t feel a tourist there. Suffice it to say that it’s wine and fruit territory around the southeast corner of Lake Michigan, and if you get there the right time of day you can stop at some magnificent fruit stands this time of year.

We got home past midnight. It was a wonderful time… but I was very happy to be home again.

Photos: 1) Miller Park from highway, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 2) Hyatt Hotel, Milwaukee. 3) Interior of Historical commerce building, downtown Milwaukee. 4) Streetscape, downtown Milwaukee. 5) Baha’i Temple, Evanston, Illinois. 6) Condos at 5700 block of Sheridan Road (at point where Lakeshore drive ends on the north side of Chicago), where I had an opportunity to live once. 7) Chicago Skyline from North, on Lakeshore Drive.