Escape from Wisconsin

Trip Start Mar 04, 2007
Trip End Jun 16, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Minnesota
Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Well, I'm back on the road and the Little Guy is happy again. Here's the latest chapter . . .

My final days in Milwaukee:

I finally got a response from Zurich (the other guy's insurance company) about paying for my expenses. They allotted me $100 per day for lodging and $30 for food. $30 doesn't cover my bar bill let alone food, so I stretched my food dollar by staying at a B&B and filling up at breakfast.

I found a great place in Milwaukee called Brumder Mansion. I made a reservation online a couple hours before I arrived and when I got there, they were surprised. The reservation service hadn't let them know I was coming. Worked out well for me . . . the cheapest room that I booked wasn't ready but the honeymoon suite was, which I got for the same price. I was also the only one there for 2 of the 3 nights I was there.

I spent the last couple days in Milwaukee doing the following:

Frank Lloyd Wright American System Built Homes - Wright believed that he could build a great home for $5,000 for the working class. All the materials were prepared (i.e. measured, cut, etc.) at a factory for assembly on site; a pre-cursor to manufactured homes where they are also partially assembled off-site. Several were built in Milwaukee in 1915-16 but the idea didn't catch on. A good website to learn more: asp

Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum - The house was built by Lloyd Smith, grandson of the founder of A.O. Smith Corporation. It could have been really interesting but it wasn't - a major disappointment. Most of the house was closed off, the decorative arts were minimal and the gardens lackluster. Even the view was so-so since you looked right down onto Lake Parkway. This place needs help.

Sprecher Brewery - Good tour and good beer. They make a Russian Imperial Stout that's great! I also liked their Bavarian Dark. Note: I am really in Mitchell, SD right now at their public library and I was trying to access Sprecher's sight to look up what other beers I tried and I was blocked. Apparently, because the site is alcohol related it gets the block in the public library. However, there's a saloon and casino right down the street. Go figure!

On the way to Madison to meet up with Lyle, I stopped by Taliesin in Spring Green and had lunch at Riverview Terrace Restaurant - Very good and reasonably priced. I had a bacon, lobster, avocado, and tomato sandwich on toasted dark rye with sweet potato French fries for $10.

Unfortunately, the tours of Taliesin are not in my budget and quite costly. It was a yucky day anyway as you can probably tell from the pictures.

Lyle and I putzed around in Madison; found a place for him to live; had a nice dinner; and had drinks at the hotel bar. Lyle - buck up - it could be worse, your company could have selected Des Moines, Iowa! Madison is a lovely city from what I could tell with lots to do.

I was on the road to Minneapolis Sunday morning in the rain again. Wisconsin is really pretty, even in the rain. Of course, it's spring and everything is green. Wisconsin to me is rolling, pastoral, green hills specked with red barns, farmhouses, and silos. Grazing on the hills are cows . . . they look like happy cows too. In a word: bucolic!

Sunday afternoon I crossed the Wisconsin boarder into Minnesota - at last. 10 weeks into the trip and only 2 weeks behind the original schedule.

Ruminations on Minneapolis:

I was surprised by how diverse the population is in Minneapolis, especially by the large Asian population.

The skyline is beautiful; it's as if it was planned - each building looks like it belongs in that exact spot.

I was surprised at how narrow the Mississippi is up here. Of course, the headwaters are only a couple hundred miles up river from Minneapolis at Lake Itasca.

The housing market in the upper mid-west seems very stable. I haven't seen many "For Sale" signs since I left Michigan, not in Milwaukee, Madison or Minneapolis.

Free Museums! This alone is a mark of a great city.

The Mississippi River is a big natural attraction of course and even more so if you like to fish. However, I don't and after I looked at the river from several viewpoints, I was over it.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (free) - fun and interesting.

Goodwill Outlet - Minneapolis' version of Sarasota's Bargain Barn. I don't know how I do it. I didn't look it up, I wasn't looking for it, it just appeared as I was driving from Minneapolis to St. Paul. Needless to say there went a couple hours of my day. It was actually perfect as the weather is getting warm and I needed some lightweight pants and tops. You may get to see some different clothes in the pics; I'll point out my bargain purchases.

Frank Weisman Art Museum (free) - Another Frank Gehry building on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The building is the only thing interesting about the museum. The collection was minimal but to be fair, they were in the middle of setting up a new installation/exhibit.

Minneapolis Art Institute - right across from the hostel where I was staying. This place is incredible. Not only is it free but also the collections are outstanding. They have everything: Ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, African and Asian Art and Sculpture, Paintings from all periods including a large Impressionism collection, etc and so forth. I especially liked their modern and contemporary design exhibits including graphic arts. They had a special exhibit on poster art from the San Francisco Psychedelic period in the mid-late 60's. My only regret was that I only left myself 2 hours for this place. I could have spent an entire day. I only got to see a small part of what's there.

Onto the Prairie!

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