State Fair Fun

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Wisconsin
Sunday, August 5, 2012

Howdy folks,

Steffie and I woke up around 8am and said goodbye to our great host Amir who had come in late the night before from partying until 3am. We didn't have much to do for the day, but drive the 127kms to Milwaukee so we stopped off for some breakfast before hitting the Interstate 94 east. We had been told about rising gas prices and after a few miles we saw a sign advertising cheap gas on the side of the highway so we diverted off to Deerfield which was only 4 miles away. When we got there, the price on the pump was 30 cents more per gallon than advertised! When I questioned it with the store clerk, she didn't offer any sort of compensation or price matching. We filled up anyway just because we couldn't be bothered arguing. Funnily enough the price would still be the cheapest we saw over the next 2 days.

There was an alternate road which paralleled the interstate so we decided to continue along it, but we missed the turn at Cambridge and ended up heading south east instead. After we got back on track, we just drove back to the Interstate 94 at Johnson Creek rather than messing about with country roads. Soon we were heading into the big smoke of Milwaukee which at 600,000 residents is Wisconsin's largest city. We didn't have a set list of things to do, but wanted to set up our next accommodation so we turned out at Wauwatosa and went to Mayfair Mall. We ended up staying there in the nice air conditioning for a few hours before checking in to a budget chain motel called La Quinta. There are a number of chain motels that you see everywhere like Super 8, Motel 6 or Howard Johnson, but compared to Canada they are usually much cheaper. Obviously more popular tourist spots like Cody, Wyoming were more expensive.

We hung out at the hotel and ordering pizza, watching Olympics and an interesting documentary on Ayrton Senna. In the morning we heard back from one of our couch surfing hosts, Thomas who was available and keen to hit up the Wisconsin State Fair like we were. Milwaukee has a lot of things to offer downtown and is well known for being the home of many breweries and the TV show Happy Days. With only a full day left to explore the place, we decided on hitting the state fair instead to see how it measures up to the Royal Adelaide Show.

We picked up Thomas at his apartment building near the lakeshore of Lake Michigan and drove back along the Interstate 94 west to the fairgrounds. Along the way we passed the massive Miller Park baseball grounds where the Brewers play. We paid $5 to park in some guy's backyard and walked across to the entrance where all the amusement rides were. It was another $9 to get in then $30 for some ride tickets. It was starting to add up, "just like home" I thought! Tom and I hit up the classic Dipper before we convinced Steffie to go on the super high chair swing. It was high, but so short.

Thomas convinced us that we had to get some flavoured milk which was only 25c a glass so we couldn't say no! I wasn't keen on trying the root beer flavour. Next we stopped by the Horse Pulling Arena. I hadn't ever seen horse pulling at the Royal Adelaide Show and was a little perplexed about what it actually entailed. Basically there were different classes of horses, sort of like boxers, and each pair of horses were coupled to the back of a truck bearing a certain weight and they had to pull it as far as they could before the weights dropped back down. It was quite weird, but exciting at the same time. I couldn't really tell if the distances were any good or not.

Next we saw a street show in the Pig Race arena whilst enjoying a local brew before having a look at some of the commercial exhibits like spas or fudge or whatnot.. We came across an Arm Wrestling Competition Stage which looked pretty intense. The guys were again divided into weight categories and some of them had some pretty unorthadox stances as they wrapped their legs or feet around the table legs to try and get some extra leverage. They were a pretty strange bunch and some of them took the 'sport' way too seriously. My favourite was Tony who won both the left and right arms in his class.

We headed back to watch the pig racing and the arena was jam packed. The races themselves were short except when it came to the big fat pigs which needed some coaxing into finishing the race. The piglets were definitely the leaner pork on the track. Apparently one of the must do things at the Wisconsin State Fair is try a cream puff which at $4 seemed pretty expensive and the line was very long. After queueing for a good 20 minutes, we were handed these incredibly large puffs which had a whole bag of whipped cream in it. Steffie and I shared one while Thomas tackled one on his own. Stupendous!

We had some tickets to use up on the way back so Thomas and I went on a loop de loop ride and we all saw a pretty lame freak show. An old guy stuck a nail straight into his head through his nostril and joked that he should be called Screwy Louie. The woman who did the fire breathing was probably the best part. Once the continuous loop had come full circle we headed out of the show; bloated and satisfied.

We drove back to Thomas' apartment and chillaxed before watching the sunset from the roof of his apartment building. The view over Lake Michigan was really cool. Nice one Milwaukee!
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