Friday, October 24, 2008

Yes, we are "cheeseheads" (at least every autumn)

We went on our annual fall vacation for a week (and no, that's not us). It's amazing to me how something that is the same every year can also be so interesting and entertaining. We always go to SW Wisconsin and drive down the Illinois side and take back roads because that is where the interesting and entertaining part comes in. This picture is of a Amish cart just outside of Cuba City, Wisconsin. Michael said that is a first for that area because the Amish tend to live in groups to support their lifestyle and he never had seen one so far south.

This picture is a Llama that is at a stop we make annually. Lots of animals and a building with all kinds of jams, apples, popcorn, etc.
We also make a point of visiting people as well like the neighbor that lived down the street from Michael's childhood home in Cuba City, a cousin that lives outside of the Quad Cities, a friend who lives in Tomah who has known us since we were single, and always a final stop to celebrate mass with Fr. Ken Fiedler at his parish in Madison and breakfast afterward. We always stay in a hotel in Hillsboro, Wisconsin on the first night and the last. It is a lovely little town with this one hotel, and a bike trail not far from there. The only "downer" is that our cell phones don't work unless you get about 45 minutes away in any direction. It's a real "deadzone" but the scenery is well worth it (you forget what clouds look like when you live in the city). We go home through different little towns one that's set atop some of the most scenic hills of SW Wisc. named Cashton. It's called "the heart of Amish country". Its surrounding townships are home to the largest Amish community in Wisconsin.
This picture is of one of the Amish farms and their harvested hay which is done by hand. Normally a machine does it and it looks like rolls.
We did alot of biking on the trip covering almost 30 miles total. The weather was fairly good except for one day. We had picked a trail that horses and ATV's can also ride on. Even though the rain had stopped, the trail was muddy which was complicated by some friendly ATV's riders that yielded to us but...(we had to powerwash the bikes when we got home). Thankfully we met no horses. My final picture is one of my personal favorites. Michael was in front of me and I can't believe it wasn't completely out of focus as I was riding the bike when I took it. We traveled 3 different bike trails throughout the vacation, and this was one of my favorites for scenery and interest overall. Makes one wonder why people want to live where the seasons don't change. Amazing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Memphis Minus Elvis

This past weekend Northwest Airlines sponsored an overnight trip to the Memphis Zoo.
At first I thought it was a strange idea but after my visit to the Zoo I was extremely impressed and would recommend it to everyone even though we got there after 5:00 p.m. They had live bands, rides, a tram that took you all around the zoo sites, and a wonderful assortment of zoo animals including two pandas from China. All looked very well cared for amidst lovely grounds and walking paths. The architecture of the buildings was wonderful.

One of my favorite places was the building with all the alligators, lizards, and snakes. This picture is 11 year old Lola. She rests on this railing alot and they say it's one of her favorite places. They also let her roam the grounds (with assistance, I'm sure).
All in all we had a great time, stayed overnight at the nearby Holiday Inn and returned home the next day. One of my personal favorite times of the trip was visiting after returning to the hotel with Michael and one of his co-workers even though it was sooooo late. Thanks Jill! It was a personal favorite time. I definitely plan on returning sometime soon.