August 2016 — hot and humid — so head further north. While I thought Milwaukee-Minneapolis-Ann Arbor would be cooler I would be wrong. It was oddly as hot and humid as New Jersey. But I definitely wanted to see Milwaukee so this was a good chance. Mind you, I stayed only for one day and left about two days before the riots.
Milwaukee — 870 Miles, @ 15 hours later
This was a long trip — not so much because I was tired but because I kept thinking of how to skirt the traffic and construction in Chicago. Milwaukee is only about one hour north of Chicago so very close. But I didn’t want to go through Gary, Indiana again, nor Chicago South Side. But I ended up there — again; although traffic was manageable and I think it’s because the time of the day wasn’t exactly at commuter traveling time.
I actually stayed about 20 minutes outside of Milwaukee. Why do I rarely stay “in” the city. Well, as I travel I consider a few things when planning my accommodations:
a) I don’t want to pay for parking my car
b) I need a clean hotel in a safe area
c) Prefer a fridge in room but not critical
d) Coffee — most hotels and motels have coffee in the room or at least in the lounge/lobby
So that meant I stayed at the airport Crown Plaza. It wasn’t really that close to the airport but didn’t pay to park, clean/safe and room was very very cold. Just the way I like it.
I usually bring cereal, soda and some car snacks with me so I always have ‘breakfast’ so usually no need to get anything.
I arrived late so didn’t get a chance to plan out my day, but did want to see a couple of things in Milwaukee: Riverwalk (along the Milwaukee river), Lakefront area (Lake Michigan) and the Harley Davidson Museum. It’s not that I am either knowledgeable about motorcycles or truly a fan — but these are one of the most iconic motorcycles in history and where else can you see this museum?
Milwaukee Riverwalk — a 2-mile walk down the Milwaukee river threw various parts of the city. This SHOULD have been great — I was really looking forward to seeing it. However, very few people were out, there was very little going on and only 1 or 2 restaurants open. I easily may have missed the most interesting part of the Riverwalk so I would definitely re-visit if I’m in the area to see what I may have missed.
Someone told me it was so hot and humid that many people weren’t out. While that could in fact have been the reason, why didn’t places accommodate that — cooler areas, fans, etc to get people to come out? I was mostly frustrated because I wanted it to be interesting and pretty but I didn’t find it that way. Maybe it comes alive in the winter and I missed the key time of the year for it. All I know is that I was disappointed in it. In fact, when I asked at my hotel the man at the desk didn’t seem to know exactly where I was talking about — leads me to believe it isn’t much of a tourist area.
But I hope that it picks up, that I was wrong, that it’s truly interesting and that I picked a bad day. I wanted it to be terrific so I’m hoping I was wrong. The pictures surely indicate that there is a lot of potential there. And I didn’t get a chance to really see the bridges which too are very popular. I saw some and they were great.
However, this being Milwaukee, I did enjoy some of the statues I saw — The Fonz and the ducks — Gertie and Rosie. There is a story about the duck Gertie who made some of the bridges under construction home. Work had to temporarily halt until she and her family moved. So the duck statues are cute and unique to Milwaukee.
And the architecture in Milwaukee is fantastic! I have to say that it’s truly interesting and if I had more time I would take a longer look at it. But here are some of the few moments I had I can share.
The Lakefront area is beautiful and I had a BLT sitting by the water. To me, this is the area that should have received more attention as an attraction — if based on people alone! Big, beautiful homes along the Lake.
And finally — the Harley Davidson museum. Needless to say, this was fascinating. You were shown all kinds of motorcycles from 1903 on — including ones for sale today. They showed the logo and how it’s changed, the motors, the clubs and how the iconic motorcycle has been used in movies. Very little I can add but this truly is an interesting museum to visit.
I wish I had had the chance to take more picture of Minneapolis but I didn’t. I took a couple of ‘travel’ pictures — one of the horrendous rain stores on the way home and one of a rainbow at my home upon my return.
Milwaukee–Minneapolis–Ann Arbor Trip by the Numbers
Total Distance: 2522 miles
Total Tolls: @$67.70
What did I Listen to: CNN, 1010 Wins (NYC area), my carmate on part of the return — Jamie Morgan Daley
Wished: I either stopped more or stopped less at Culvers for some of their great vanilla frozen custard, it didn’t rain for quite so long or so hard from Minneapolis to Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor to home. There is clearly more to Milwaukee so I won’t write it off my list quite yet.