Thursday, August 06, 2009

Milwaukee Tour

A few weeks ago Jamie and I took a road trip to visit some friends in Milwaukee. At first, eight or nine hours in a car is not the most fun. However, splitting the drive in half with a quick overnighter visit with my brother in good ol' Waterloo made the drive not too bad. Seeing the Iowa countryside full of windmills was pretty cool to see as well. Perhaps our state representative, Lee Terry, could do some actual work and take a roadtrip to Iowa and see how other states are developing their renewable energy resources.

Jamie and I arrived in Waukesha around noon and meet up with her friends from university, Ashley and Chris. Chris is up in Wisconson doing some work for the National Weather Service and coincidentally my work is developing the software the NWS will use. Chris and his weather collegues are also huge fans of a weather guy I work with daily, Earl Barker. We hung out and chatted up before picking up another university friend, Maggie, on the way to the Lake Front Brewery tour. Mmmmm beer! Cold beer hit the spot after the long car ride. Learning how beer is made was pretty cool too. From what the locals have said, the brewery guides are typically funny and inject humor into their tours. Our tour guide wasn't that entertaining. Since the guides are volunteers, receive beer for their services, and we were towards the tail end of the evening, he had been enjoying the product samples a little too much. So yea, you learn about beer making, sample some beer, and then go eat. We enjoyed the beer and went to a fish fry next door where we saw bunches of tourists taking pictures of their food. It was like these guys had never seen food before. Never wanting to not partake in the action, I grabbed my camera and began taking pictures of other people taking pictures of the food. I dont know, perhaps they have never seen fried fish in their lives because and needed proof for friends back home. Or, perhaps they are the type of folks who document every part of their vacation as a means of torturing their friends or kids with a vacation slideshow replay that mimics stop motion animation. Some of my friends and coworkers have done this to me and i sometimes want to gouge my eyeballs out. I dont need to see you and your kid in 13 different poses as he tries to roll over or while you try to feed him. ugh!

Anyways, the weekend weather was perfect! Sunny, 80 degrees, and no humidity. Days like this are the summer norm in Wisconsin. It's too bad Milwaukee summers last about two months. The rest of the time is spent preparing for the cold and defrosting from the cold. The trip highlight was a visit to watch the Brewers with some tailgating mixed in at the Miller Park parking lot. We arrived early and were on hand to watch a Milwaukee college classic played out at the small ballfield outside the stadium: med students vs. dental students. The med students pulled out a narrow victory and that left Maggie in the dumps a bit.
The closest tailgating experience that matches the scale of what we enjoyed would be an Iowa State football game...Open containers, friendly folks, grillin, lawn games, and some bevs. We enjoyed some grilled veggies purchased from a local farmer's market and headed to the game. Like many things, beer made the event even better.
The ballgame was a great time...I was prepared to be hassled by security for bringing in sunflower seeds when reaching the turnstyle. Nope. Miller Park's liberal security policy allows just about any outside food sans alcohol. Wow! This policy sure beats Rosenblatt's SS-style-security at a CWS or Royal's game. The view from our seats made for great people watching and great baseball watching. Earl is a big Brewers fans, so he provided me a ticket for his seats near the 3rd base line. For about two innings I broke away from our group to see his seats and also took this chance to meet up with a buddy who I meet in Antarctica, Dan. It was fun to catch up while watching the crowd boo Manny Ramirez. Dan's trip was big two or so years traveling out of a backpack, this guy went everywhere you could go in South America. We also got a great view of the sausage races.

The Brewers won and while walking out we noticed all these sweet ballpark themed statues you could take your picture with. Never wanting to bypass a photo opportunity, we snapped some fotos of ourselves with the sausages and in this giant glove you could sit in. For those who dont know me, I can be a bit sarcastic...but when I told this woman that it would be five dollars to take her picture with the giant baseball glove, I received an unexpected "F-You and your F'in five dollars!" We all kind of looked at each other and were like, whoa, tranquilo lady, tranquilo. So after the ballgame we enjoyed some more drinks and headed back to Ashley and Chris' place. Everybody was pretty worn out from the game and I went into my normal late-night veggative state where I fall asleep whenever and whereever.

Awaking on Sunday I felt unexpectedly rested and ready for a long ride home...we passed the time talking about the weekend that was and listening to The Godfather. I'd say Milwaukee is worth another visit and like to head up there again. Cheers!

1 comment:

Nathan said...

I am so glad you got a picture of the people taking pictures of food. Otherwise I would not have believed it, especially with such professional cameras! I agree on the wind turbines, it makes parts of the landscape more interesting, not to mention the benefits of renewable energy.