Yes, Milwaukee

Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
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Trip End Dec 22, 2011


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Flag of United States  , Wisconsin
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Can anyone think of a better place to kick off an around the world adventure than Milwaukee, Wisconsin?   Yes, Milwaukee...That great place on the lake that spawned Laverne and Shirley, Happy Days, and the Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull.   Surely these All-American icons are enough to draw tourists by the millions, right?   You'll see as the week unfolds what we are doing in this unlikely starting point for an adventure that should be more Machu Picchu than beers and brats.

My buddy, Graeme, and I landed here early (thank you Delta!), and had high hopes of getting on the road to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.   An hour and a half later we were still stuck in some dingey airport parking garage dealing with Hertz and had to shelve our more ambitious plans for the day.    Only I dare lead you to the lesser known delights of any city, and even a last minute reduction to the itinerary such as today won't stop me.

Finally underway in our shiny new black Chevy Impala, Graeme decided he needed to buy a new camera.   I was game for any and all stops along the way so he punched Best Buy into his Iphone.   Yes, the marvels of modern technology and how it can deliver you right to a spot in cities unknown.   And yes, the marvels of modern America where the same stores blandly litter every homogenized city coast to coast and one knows exactly where to turn.

We followed the directions on the I Phone, and that Impala landed right in the middle of some sort of 'hood on Capital Ave.   Being a glass half full kind of guy, I told myself surely a Best Buy would be lurking down the road as we inched along what to my trained eyes appeared to be the bowels of Milwaukee.   You know you have arrived in urban shangri-la when you see a 300 pound woman wedged into a purple velour track suit wobbling across the street in front of a check cashing joint and nail salon.  I must say this winner of life's lottery knew the art of accessorizing with those ginormous hoop earings and knee high cowboy boots.  I don't think i even saw the light turn green I was so mesmerized by my surroundings and that magnificant hair sculpture on her head.

I told you I'd take you off the beaten path and sure enough, major, major score right out of the starting blocks here on day one.   Graeme got a weird look on his face, and I thought maybe the surroundings were overwhelming him for he is not as trained as I in effortlessly absorbing this display of humanity.    He quietly announced the I Phone was apparently sending us to Best Buy Liquors and not the "Best Buy."   And it took this long to figure out that the I Phone had crapped us out into the deep 'hood?

I couldn't make a U turn fast enough, and we finally wove our way out of Dodge past all the fast food joints, liquor stores and hair weave installation facilities.   At risk of being insensitive here, I couldn't help but think this rental Impala would one day be returning to these streets newly pimped out rolling on 26s.   At least we gave it a tantalizing sneak peak of its Hertz afterlife. 

The media loves to report these stories where some poor detective is trying to unravel the mystery of why some cleancut guy got shot in a land far far from his natural habitat.   Save the phone call to 1-800-Crimestoppers.   I can solve it right here.   It's because his friend can't read an I Phone properly, not because of some drug or prostitution deal gone bad.

With no real agenda for the day other than finding a Best Buy, we wandered along Lake Michigan into Door County which is the midwest's answer to a waterside vacation spot.  I must say I was impressed by the surroundings as we drove out to the end of the peninsula.   Whitefish Dunes State Park gave me exactly what I was looking for with Wisconsin's largest sand dunes, blue lake water, and some nice trails to hike along.   Is this the same state where we had seen the purple freak crossing the road?   What a difference a few hours make. 

And we did find a Best Buy in Sheboygan in a strip center that could have been Anywhere, USA.   I am finding that more and more it's the country's natural surroundings that differentiate one region over another.   The stores and restaurants are the same flavor now coast to coast it seems in the cities.   Mission #1:  We definitely need to discover if regional American still exists out there the next week.

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