Road Trip – Day 1

Big Cat Rescue
Image by Пероша via Flickr

This is a description of my Road Trip to Wisconsin during may last month of stay in US. During this trip on day 1, I went to a bunch of places in Wisconsin and one place in Chicago. However, the important part was that many of the places I decided to be, some of them were spontaneous and I was out there going for it.

I covered for 240 miles in around 3.5 hours to reach the Big Cat Rescue and it was a wonderful drive. During the long drive, I did have to take a couple of pit-stops. the first one was at the Three Bears Lodge. I have made several trips to Chicago and always wanted to stop here. This was not planned at all and when I saw it, I just had to stop because I didnt knew if I would ever come back to this place again. So I had to see it. And this was a good pit stop as I came to know of a lodge that has a lot within itself – indoor/outdoor water park, nice cafeteria, places to stay. I liked the place but this did not have any place for a good coffee.

My next stop was at Mauston and this was triggered by seeing a food outlet for Dunkin Donuts. I stopped at DD and ate my favorite breakfast – Bagel and Cheese. took a coffee, refueled and I was on my way to Big Cat Rescue. when I reached Big Cat rescue it was still around 10.30 in morning and there was just one other car around me. This was a nice place. They had a lot of cats including Leopards and Lions. I would have enclosures without grills that would have allowed me to take better photographs, but it was what it was. I spent almost 30 minutes taking pics and observing cats, but they were not doing much. It was hot almost 80 deg and cats just wanted to rest in shade. Three of them didnt even show up, they were just sleeping in their den. You can view some of the pictures on my facebook album. The best part of the trip was the drive from I94 to the place. It was simply awesome – it was scenic as I was driving through some villages and was winding roads at a speed of 35m/h. It was so very different. I always wanted a road-trip through grasslands and this was just a preview of that.

As soon I put the address to Riverside and Great Northern Railways, I realized that I will have to back track on I94 for about 10 miles. But, it was worth it. When I reached the place, I saw it was not a museum that I expected. I realized that people there were all volunteers and were a part of a restoration society who were doing this to keep alive a piece of history. I took a tour of the entire place and came to know of how it all evolved and how things work around there. I saw many steam engines (small ones), where they were built, the boiler room, the room where coaches were constructed. It was fun and educational. I also took the ride in their train and I was surprised to see that the train went relatively fast at a speed of 9mph. Given it is a short gauge train it was definitely faster. I took a bunch of pictures and you can view them on my facebook album here. I spent around 90 minuted at this place and it was all good. Given this place, I did feel if I would have brought Aabhya and Preeti they would have enjoyed too, but I was unable too. even if i tried it was impossible because they are closed during that time of the year when there were here last year.

Once I was done with this place, I decided to move but decided not to go to Circus World, instead thought of going to a few places in Chicago and Millennium Park was a candidate. I never liked driving through crowded downtown areas in US, but this trip I was not going to hold back to anything. So, after driving for almost 260 miles for about 3.5 hours I reached Downtown Chicago and as I expected it was scary. So many people – just way too many. I have never seen so many people in the same place in US ever. They even beat Delhi I guess. And then the driving was scary. There were roadblocks, one-way streets and cops all over. However, I managed to get myself to a parking lot and it was $25 bucks for parking. Now, living in Plymouth all I ever payed for parking close to downtown was $5 and ret everything was free. So, $25 was surprisingly expensive. I parked and hoped it was worthwhile. As I entered the park, I realized in a few minutes this was going to be dis-appointing – much like our trip last year to Sculpture Park in Minneapolis. However, this was a little better and there were some good pictures that I was able to snap. I was looking forward to going to the bridge and view Chicago’s skyline but they closed that too but not before I took some pictures. All the pictures of the park are on my facebook album.

The day was rounded up at Bhua’s place in Valparaiso, Indiana. Another 90 minutes drive to her place. And during that drive there were some showers and lightening strikes but weather cleared up and the day ended up pretty smoothly talking to her. It was very nice to catch up with her and talk to her about various things. It was there that I also decided not to go to Niagara Falls – it was just too much to travel all by myself. however, Bhua did help me plan for Sunday.