Thursday, May 23, 2013

Illinois & Wisconsin ~ A Weekend Get-A-Way!

May 16, 2013 ~ We had planned an extended weekend get-a-way with friends a couple weeks ago. We knew we would leave on Thursday late afternoon, we would be driving and  that we would head to Chicago. We didn't have any plans, no hotel rooms or even a clue of what we would do once we got to Chicago let alone where the open road might take us. We are "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-britches" kind of people. We enjoy traveling and seeing places we have never been to before. (Remember a bucket list item is to see all states but not just fly in and fly out of them. Actually do something to remember that state)

We hit the road around 2:00 PM and picked up Doug and Gretchen. We had a small game plan of what we would like to see while in Chicago such as the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and the Cloud Gate (or what we call "the bean") and other than that we wanted to spend a little time soaking up whatever Chicago had to offer. We would not eat chain foods but rather something unique to them.

We finally made it! After a few stops for Thumbelina (this is what I call Brandon as his bladder is the size of a thimble) we were here! After driving around a lot because of confusing streets we decided to find something to eat! (I know OnStar was totally sick of us by the time our trip was over but they were always super nice and helpful) We settled for a place called Flemings. (remember how I said we weren't going to eat any chain food stuff.... well we were starving and it sounded great) We had a great dinner and our waiter was excellent at answering our questions about where to go and what to see. Next up.... a hotel! It appears that we parked in a parking garage that had a hotel attached to it so that's where we stayed! Hilton Garden Inn worked out perfectly..... well until we went to get in our room and our keys wouldn't work. So I leave Brandon at the door with all of our bags and make my way to the front desk. The front desk clerk didn't know why the key wouldn't work unless the batteries were maybe dead and said to try it again and if it doesn't work they would get an engineer to get in the room. In the mean time Brandon is calling me on my cell phone saying "There's a woman in that room and she is freaking out that someone is trying to break in her room. She's calling security!" as he is heading down the elevator. I told the front desk clerk this and she just said "That's strange and we'll move you to another room". Um... apparently so because we won't be staying with the other woman! Seriously!

Captain George "Cap" Wellington Streeter
Born 1843 - Died 1921
"The eccentric resident to gave Streeterville its name."

We went down to the Navy Pier and checked it out.

It was amazing to see so many huge buildings! 
We finally made our way to Willis Tower! 

The Spry's on the see-thru ledge in Willis Tower!
(Not gonna lie... you walk easy when you see what's below you)
The Fifer's next to the ledge!
(Doug doesn't do stuff like this but he did awesome and faced his fear)
This is a picture of the picture they took at Willis Tower. 
We all stood out on the ledge and looked up at the camera... 
I still can't believe we talked Doug into doing this but it was awesome and the view was amazing! 

We were told we needed to eat at Gino's East Pizzeria so that's where we went!
So in this way cool pizza place you get to leave your mark! 
After searching for a place to mark I finally settled for the bar...
and the handrail! 

This is the "Cloud Gate" or what we call as "the bean"
I've seen too many pictures of this to not see it for ourselves! 

We even took an architectural tour via a boat which was really interesting to hear about the history and stories of some of these old and tall buildings! We were glad we did this! 

Doug and Gretchen introduced us to this amazing dessert at McCormick & Schmick's several months ago and it just so happened when we turned the corner there was a McCormick & Schmick's here! We went in for dessert only and then hit the road and headed to Wisconsin! 

Welcome to Milwaukee, Wisconsin! 

We arrived to Milkwaukee just as it was getting dark. We drove around to see what we might find and to get our bearings straight for tomorrows adventure. We finally decided we better find a hotel to get some shut eye and that was an adventure! After a few phone calls we found one! The Hilton Garden Inn would be our home for the evening. As we were waiting for the elevator to head up to our room other people were jumping on and then apparently they looked at us and asked if we were getting on. Brandon looked right at them and said while scratching his head "No go ahead....We are waiting on a few more people". WHAT??? I looked over at him and we all busted up laughing! Seriously Brandon... who else are we waiting on? He said he wanted his own elevator and didn't want to cramp those people.... that's my husband!

I won't bore you with the details but we decided we wanted to go eat breakfast so I started looking for places to eat. Let's just say the suggestions that I came up with prior to using Trip Advisor ( was not good ideas as they put us in not so good areas and come to find out they were no longer open. After a 2 hour drive through town I found us a great little breakfast place! 

I highly recommend you visit this place if you get a chance to go to Wisconsin! It's called Blue's Egg ( and it was awesome! The wait was almost an hour but the waiter and food were amazing!!!!

We then drove past Miller Park and apparently Kenny Chesney & Eric Church would be having a concert here later tonight! Who knew!

We wanted to take a brewery tour and while we were waiting at Blue's Egg we sat next to a lady that highly recommended this tour over the others. She was right... it was a blast! They did a great job of keeping us laughing and gave everyone beer before, during and after the tour. (The root beer was very sweet!)

It was a really cool place with some really cool stuff! This was on the baseball park and they bought it at an auction and they have the original assembly line from the Lavern & Shirley show so of course they played the theme music while one of the ladies put a glove on the beer bottle as done on the show! I gotta say... there was too many dudes that got into singing the theme song....

We decided to drive up to the captial of Wisconsin...
Welcome to Madison, Wisconsin!
We were going to eat somewhere good and find a hotel here but it was prom and graduation and you couldn't find a hotel anywhere around here and every good place to eat was booked and couldn't take any more guests. Bummer.... it was a beautiful town!

And this is where the real adventure starts.....
As the sun was setting we were heading to House on the Rock Inn. Earlier I had talked to a lady on the phone that said the road was closed but she would help us get there if we would tell her where we were coming from. We told her that we would be coming from Milwaukee. She started talking to me and said we could go around the road block as they were just another couple of miles away up the hill. I gave the phone to Brandon since he was driving and she told him the same thing. She said if you take the detour it will put you 45-60 miles away from where you need to be.

So as we are driving down the road we come to a road block. We drove around it and as we were heading up the hill there sits a Iowa County Sheriff....

Of course he turns on his lights and pulls us over. As soon as he gets out of the car he says "I'm gonna have to write you a ticket".  We began to explain why we were there and Doug and I got in the back of the Sheriff's car to explain what was going on because outside there were tons of huge mosquito attacking us like crazy.... seriously it was something the Sheriff couldn't even believe! We explained that we were told to go through the road closed as they were just a few miles up the road. He was super nice and after a good 10 minutes he took out his map and showed us how to get to where we needed to be. We totally talked our way out of a ticket and what we figured out what the lady thought we were already in Dodgeville and we did have to drive through signs that said "Road Closed in 4.5 miles" which we had to drive through and the driveway to House on the Rock was literally just before the road was closed. (Apparently Gretchen and Brandon thought this was all funny as they were taking pictures in the truck. It's hard to find people that appreciate others getting them out of trouble... just sayin')  :)

We finally made it! So just as giggle box and the photographer were laughing about us Doug and I decided to have a little fun. We went inside and got checked in and came back to the truck and said "Houston, we have a problem". We begin to tell them that they didn't have two rooms available and we would have to share a room..... Gretchen's eyes lit up and she's happy and says "Yippie, a sleep over!" and just then we busted her happy bubble.... we told her that there is one queen bed and they would bring two roll out beds as one of the guests was going to give up one in their room... if you could have seen her face.... priceless! She had a look like "What the heck! This isn't good at all!" then we said "Just kidding... get your bags and let's go in!" I'm pretty sure she could have killed us both! Now who has the last laugh! Ha!

Before heading out we wanted to stop by Don Q's to check out this big plane. It's just like it was flown in right here, opened the door and left. You can check them out on the web at

We made it to House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin!
You can visit them on the web at

It was a very interesting place. I am glad we went and still trying to figure out this guy. Alex Jordan Jr. was a very interesting guy and a creative imagination. His bio is here

From what I gather he was the creator or the mastermind behind instruments that played themsleves.

This was the Infinity Room
This room is 300' long and at the entrance is 30' wide and at the end is 1" wide.  This room is 218' cantilevered over the adjacent valley with no vertical support. You could feel the floor move under your feet!

It was so much fun putting tokens in to the various rooms to hear the music play. What a creative mind he had and such a vision! Wow!

Inside the House on the Rock is the Largest Carousel in History
Number of Lights: over 20,000
Number of Chandeliers: 182
Number of Animals on the Carousel: 269
Width: 80 feet
Height: 35 feet
Weight: 36 tons
Premiered: Easter 1981
Value including the House on the Rock collection of carousel animals: $4,800,000
These animals are among the most unique collected from all over the world
Note: There is not one horse on the carousel

Needless to say this place was really weird yet really awesome! Highly recommend you checking it out if you have the chance!

We headed back home and went through Iowa to see some more country we haven't seen before. A huge storm was on our tail but never really rained until we got home around 9:00 pm. It was a fast paced trip but full of adventure and laughs! Awesome time!

No comments:

Post a Comment