15 July 2010

Dinosaurs, elephants and waterfalls

The giant and I were gone for 4.5 days on a trip to Chicago and northern Wisconsin. If you look at a map, you can see that there's a LONG distance between those two points - that meant nearly 16 hours of unadulterated car-knitting. It was incredible. In addition to making STELLAR progress on the giant's sweater, I also started a shrug. It's not gorgeous, but I need to use up some crappy cheap yarn and that seemed like a good use. Yay for machine wash!

The trip was a blast.  We headed to Chicago and spent a day exploring the city and doing touristy things.  Despite it being summer and school being out, I think we dodged a bullet by going on a week day.  At the end of the day, we met up with Jiff, had dinner and hit the road.

In the picture, you can see Sue at the Field Museum, an awesome row of dinghies down on the water, a statue bearing a hockey jersey and me with a large elephant constructed out of various types of tire rubber!

We drove northwards to DeForest, just north of Madison, where we retired to a hotel for the evening around 11pm.  When we stepped out of the car, we were accosted by the smell of...well...a petting zoo.  It smelled like green grassiness and manure.  Despite the smell, at that stop off the highway, we didn't see a single farm animal.  In an unprecedented and bold move, the bearded giant was not only up before me, but was up before 6am getting showered and ready to hit the road.  At around 8am, we headed further northwards on the last leg of our journey.

What we saw of Wisconsin on our drive was mostly green pastures with the occasional town.  We passed through a "resort" town, which was nearly beach-y in atmosphere - sort of kitchy and rundown in some ways.  It was a beautiful drive, which the bearded giant was determined to do without any help.  He heard no complaints from me, as that allowed me to knit for nearly 6 hours straight (ergo the progress on the giant's sweater and the knitted shrug).When we arrived in Ashland, WI, we had lunch The Black Cat Coffeehouse, where we ate and caught up with the giant's college friends. After lunch, we wandered around the town and up to Northland College. Northland is similar in size and architecture to where Jiff and I went to school, so it was an interesting comparison.

When we were done with out tour of Ashland, we went a few towns over for an Avett Brothers concert.  I've never seen a venue quite like this one.  It's called Big Top Chautauqua - during the winter, it's a place where you can ski...and in the off-season, it's a circus tent set up to house concerts.  So unique.  Both the opener, Elephant Revival, and the Avetts were great.  Among the amusements there, they had a couple ski lift chairs around for seating and a great little dive bar which served original Leinenkugel in cans.

In the picture, you can see Jiff and I on the chair lift, Elephant Revival, the Avett Brothers and Jiff scowling while I knit in public!

On Saturday, we went for an awesome little hike up to a beautiful impressive waterfall. We went into Bayfield and explored the town. We went down to a little park right on Lake Superior which had some AWESOME swings to play on. I was impressed - they had something I'd never seen before - a Jenny Swing for disabled children. Sounds like a pretty great idea to me. We grabbed some coffee at Big Water and we had lunch at Maggie's - a ridiculously flamingo-enrobed restaurant with great food.

We went down to a gorgeous, peaceful beach right on Lake Superior.  Along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, about 5 miles east of Cornucopia, Wisconsin, is Meyers Beach.  Beautiful beaches and awesome seacaves. The water was surprisingly warm and the sand was the finest texture I've ever seen.  Just down the beach from where we were sunning ourselves was a fresh water stream draining into the lake, which had not taken the path of least resistance, snaking back and forth before settling on it's final path.  After the beach, we went to the northern most Post Office in Wisconsin before heading home for a cookout and bonfire.

It was hard to get back into the car and drive 8 hours south to Chicago after such a nice relaxing vacation.  It was certainly too short, but very relaxing and enjoyable.  I think the bearded giant, Jiff and I are all settled back into our work weeks and certainly that relaxation is wearing off by now...


nenny said...

Ooh, you were so near madison, I wish we'd have been able to catch up with you! The trip sounds great - you toured around a lot of the places K & I visited on our honeymoon. I love Bayfield & the Apostle Islands. Also Maggies is awesome - K said that in the men's room there was a flamingo attached to the ceiling so you're pretty much face to face with it while you're using the restroom :) Glad you enjoyed!

Grumpy Editor said...

Sounds lovely! Great photos too.