And 95 becomes 55
19.05.2012 - 20.05.2012 36 °C
Though great to see the Isa's, my week continued to unravel. The fact they had 6 indoor cats and about 900 outdoor ones didn't mesh well with my cat-allergicness. The discovery that the only thing on my list remaining to do – go to Chicago – during my week's road-trip would not really be that viable also didn't help. For the second time in less than 2 weeks, Mr. Obama was in my way. This time, he was hosting a NATO summit in down town Chicago. 2 days of high level talks is good. Most of down town Chicago being a no-go area, the prime museum area being completely sealed off for security reasons, and hoards of protesters protesting virtually every conceivable complaint was not so good. For me, anyway.
I needed a new plan.
So I decided s*d it. I perused my map a bit, counted available days until I needed to be back in Buffalo, and decided to go North. Chicago, I figure, I can visit in future, and will be easier without having to find somewhere to leave a car anyway. Doing a grand loop around the great lakes is not so easy without transport.
Little Germany or Little Switzerland or something. There were cows and Swiss chalets, but sadly no mountains
I drove through Switzerland, which confused me as I was in Wisconsin. Then I passed through Madison, whereupon I stumbled across the US Capitol Building, something I was not expecting 1000miles away from Washington DC. It was built that way for one of about 3 dozen different reasons depending upon who you ask, none of which really convince me as being the complete truth. Wisconsin was showing it's propensity to surprise me, despite essentially just being a large area of cheese. I drove onwards, past the wonderfully named Oshkosk and then Green Bay, home of the Packers football team, both the smallest and most obscure home for any professional American sports team.
Late in the afternoon, on a straight road in the middle of the forest, I changed back from Central time to Eastern time. I had naively assumed that this would occur at the state border, but oh no. It appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. Though it is probably at a county border, I found it just a little odd, especially as it means that just a small corner of Michigan is in Central time whilst the rest is Eastern, but that the time zone border is not North-South as would be logical, but rather a jagged East-West line. Why? Good question, though not one so good that I have yet to get around to checking wikipedia or googling.
I had booked a night in Escanaba, for no other reason than it was the only place which obviously had rooms available at a price I could afford and was not a Walmart parking lot. After a glorious day and lots of empty straight roads, pretty much as soon as I got to town and was starting to have to look at all the signs in the hunt for the correct one, the heavens opened. It was not unexpected, as the sky had rapidly gone a very evil shade of dark grey. The golf sized hailstones were not fun though, especially as I had found my hotel and a 10metre dash into the lobby to check in. I was drenched. When it stopped raining 10minutes later, the town was mostly flooded. I swam to a nearby supermarket, bought some cheap ramen noodles and bread for dinner, and went and hid in my second floor room for the evening, watching random items float past at ground level.
When I left the following morning, much of the water had gone and the skies were again clear. But it was over 40 degrees cooler - 94 having been replaced by 52 - and my shorts were rapidly replaced by longs and even my fleece got it's first usage since the day of my arrival.
I'm still not sure if this is an advert or somebody just had the hots for the car's driver and had to improvise
The only specific thing that I had planned to do on this leg of the trip was take a ferry out to Mackinac Island, somewhere I remember reading about several years ago, and thought would be nice for a wander. However I arrived to discover that I had missed the ferry by 10 minutes, and because it was not summer season yet, the next one was not for a couple of hours. I pondered it, mooched town, then slightly sadly decided to press on. I still had a long way to go.