Road Trip – Wisconsin

It all started when Sahil started the thread to plan a trip to Mt. Rushmore during the week of July 4. After many hours of planning Sharad and Aum walked out of the trip and Sahil was not interested in doing it with just two people. So, I was left high and just wanted to go out of the home.

My time to go back to India is near and I am just feeling a little off, just want to go back home and was in no mood of staying back at my apartment and watching TV for 3 days straight. So, I did some research and came up with a road-trip into Wisconsin and maybe even upto Niagara falls all via Road. It was an interesting trip in the end and this is how it went.

Day 0: July 1

It is Friday and I had decided to go through with trip. The first step was to go and rent the car from Hertz. Which looked like a 15 minute process took almost 2 hours come through and at a given time during these 2 hours I had decided not to rent the car. However, I was determined to make this happen and was patient to go through the process. Eventually, after 2 hours I was driving out with Sahil driving the Nissan Altima back to the place.

The next step was to prepare for other stuff – packing clothes, soda, iPods, tablet, phone wires and anything else. All went well and I finally slept around 11 to be ready to leave around 6 next day.

Day 1: July 2

I started the day early on Saturday and had plans to visit 2 places that day – Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue, Circus World and Riverside and Great Northern Railways. I never went to the Circus World and ended up being at the Medellin Park in Chicago.

From Big Cat Rescue, I had to back track a few miles to reach the Riverside and Great Northern Railways (bad planning on my part as I did not find out which was first on the route). However, from there on I decided not to go to Circus World and moved on to Chicago. A detailed description of my experiences is in another post here.

Day 2: July 3

Once I decided not to go to Niagara Falls, I had to find things I could do on Sunday. Having looked up at what all places Chicago has to offer like the Navy Pier, Sears Tower and a few museums – I decided that those are going to be redundant and not something new. Bhua suggested that we start the day by visiting to a Gurudwara and visit a Dairy Farm and decide what to be done for the second half. I have never been to a zoo in US so decided to visit Michigan City Zoo in Indiana.

The first half of the day was pretty good and especially being able to be at the Gurudwara and being able to attend the “Ardas” and have “Langar”. It felt so good, Even the experience to the Fair Oaks Dairy farm was so good – it was a new experience for me and learnt a lot on how things work in a Dairy Farm (just so many cows). The zoo was also nice and a different experience. A detailed description of my experience is in another post here.

Day 3: July 4

I woke up late on this day too and was already late for Bhua’s house. So I left the house hurriedly not knowing what was in store for me. Day brought me so many surprises – cops, lead to a deserted industrial area in Indiana, A wonderful house, an exotic trip back on my route to Plymouth and a companion on the road. You can read all of that here.

Road Trip – Day 2

This trip was getting interesting all the time, given how it all started this was no surprise. After a good Day 1, I was not tired but slept very late around 1am. So, my start of the day plan was all messed up. Woke up late and when I met Bhua we were already late for Gurdwara and we had to hurry up.

Gurdwara

It was about 20 minutes drive from Bhua’s place and as I pulled into the drive way, I was surprised to see that it did have the Gurudwara touch in the building architecture. A few pictures of Gurudwaras that I saw for Minnesota were like any other building. I know I attended the “Ardas” in many months. It was followed up with “prasad” and “langar” which was breakfast. The chai was great. I guess the feeling and being lucky of having “Guru ka langar” was so good.

Fair Oaks Dairy Farm

From Gurudwara, we moved over to the dairy farm. We decided to go with Bhua’s instinct but then mid-way followed the Google Mas Navigation and thay took us to another place. Finally, after going around in circles for about 30 minutes we found our way to the place. And we started off the tour.

We started off with a 4D presentation/movie about the farm and it was a very nice experience. It was kid stuff but made us laugh too. And it did tell us a lot about the farm. Then we went on the bus tour which nice. They showed us one of their farms and what all happened there. There were like 3000 cows on the farm (all mooings :)). We saw how they milked the cows and how well they are trained. It was a wonder to see cows move into place and then move out by themselves. I had never seen cows do trained things and this was a first one. They also had a place where they showed us how they rapidly cooled the milk from 101 deg to 36 deg. We could touch the pipes with milk flowing. They shared with some statistics and told us that every day they shipped almost 60000 gallons of mile from the facility. That is a lot of milk :). They had a maternity barn and when we arrived back from the tour a Cow had just given birth. We spent a few minutes there (in a way I am glad I didnt witness a birth; dont know why). Then we went over to there inhouse ice-cream and cheese shop. Tasted a few kinds of cheese and eat an ice-cream. All the pictures are available on my facebook album.

Michigan City Zoo

I have not been to a zoo in a long time, and never to one in US. So when I had some time on hands, I decided to go visit one nearby (Washington Park Zoo) in Michigan City. And it was once again a visit worth while. I reached the place after a drive for about 50 minutes from Bhua’s house and when I pulled in, I was surprised to see it was a huge park and one areas in the park was the zoo. There were once again so many people and many of them were out picnicking. There was a big beach nearby and a band was also playing. However, given the Zoo would close at 4pm and I reached here at 2.30, I headed straight for the zoo. As I entered, I started with Big Cats again. But this time, I was excited because I saw fascinating creatures and not in tall fences. So this meant I had a clear shot at them and could get some good close-ups using my 55-200mm lens. I took almost 175 picures only a few have been uploaded to a Facebook Album here.

Wrapping up

After spending about 2+ hours in the zoo, I drove back to Bhua’s house and retired for the day. On Day 1, I did call up other Bhua’s to see if I can meet them or not and now I was getting call-backs. Finally after much thinking and talking it was decided I would stay with Bhua for the night and go over to Ashi Bhua’s place next morning. Bhua also suggested to visit House on the Rock. It seemed nice, but as I went over to sleep I had no clue what I was in for my day back to Plymouth. The evening went well and I worked with Bhua on a couple of things – recording from tape and some additional tips and tricks on her Android phone. Finally, I went to my room but sleep was avoiding me this time and I slept only around 2.30am.

The next day had many things were in store for me, which I had not thought about. All of that in another post.