Tuesday afternoon we arrived in Madison, Wisconsin, the Midwest's Bastion of Socialism, the place my brother in law affectionately calls "45 square miles surrounded by reality."
That night we were treated to a dinner cruise on Lake Mendota which abuts downtown and the University of Wisconsin. Above, the little Salmon takes a turn at the helm.
Wednesday we visited the Vilas Zoo in Madison. In keeping with the socialist theme a friend noted that admission is free and all the animals are fed equally and are not required to work. While the residents seemed healthy due to their government supplied medical care and rations they were, with the exception of those industrious little prairie dogs, unproductive and generally lethargic. Seriously, it is a nice little zoo, the price is right, and was a good way to spend a few hours.
The highlight of the week, from my perspective, was the pilgrimage to the airplane Mecca of Oshkosh. The day dawned clear and warm and enthusiasm was high upon our arrival. We spent the morning in the Kidventure area but we were disappointed by the length of the line at the helicopter ride and had to skip that activity.
Then it was back to the main field to look at planes and see the afternoon airshow.
While Oshkosh was impressive as always there are a couple inescapable facts. Its going to be hot and you are going to walk...alot. That can be tough when you are seven.
Friday we hung out with family and ended the week at the Saturday Capital Square Farmers Market before heading home. Wisconsin has an awesome capital building which we intend to check out next time.
We had one incident that I would like to share. The day we went to Oshkosh we returned to our hotel late that evening to find that the housekeepers had propped open our door all day but failed to clean our room. Fortunately I had stuck my laptop and misc valuables in the car trunk when we left and surprisingly nothing was missing from the room. The poor gal at the desk recieved an ear full from the wife and when I finally tracked down the manager the following morning he was apologetic and offered us a free future stay (like I'm ever going to stay there again) and then he stated, "I would love to comp you for your entire stay but because you registered through Hotels.com I cant give you a refund." Really... was that a gauntlet or what? Now I didn't want the moon but I also don't like having my chain pulled by a disingenuous manager type that offers me a full comp with one hand and takes it away with the other. If you should find yourself in a similar situation rest assured, it may take several phone calls and you may have to corner the little liar in his office for a conference call but with a little persistence Hotels.com has the means to give you a refund;)
I once said, "I'll come back to Iowa when salmon start running up the Cedar River." Ironically, you never know where life's path may lead and after 20 years in Alaska I find myself once again back in Iowa. You can join me here on the banks of the Cedar River as I patiently await the return of the elusive Cedar River Salmon.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.