{Road Trip} Milwaukee

It was late and I had this weird feeling that when we got to the hotel our room would be wrong. Well that feeling turned out to be right. Motel 6 charged my card and gave our room away. That was their first excuse, turns out they had the room but it was dirty and then it was back to “we gave it to someone else.” No one knows exactly why our room was lost but hotels.com rescued us and found us a different hotel. I wasn’t going to let this blunder ruin our trip.

Google told me that there was a chapel in Milwaukee. A chapel that originated in France. A chapel where THE Joan of Arch prayed. Well how the heck did it get in Wisconsin? Good question. After Word War I it was taken apart and shipped to a wealthy family in NY. That family donated it to Marquette University where it stands proudly to this day. They rebuilt it piece by piece and inch by inch until it was perfect.

If you know anything about me then you know I am a Frank Lloyd Wright fanatic. It’s like listed in my bio for this very blog. Google, man is she a blessing told me that the largest concentration of FLW homes was right in Milwaukee. My dad, he’s a good sport and we headed off to Burnham block, the American System Built Homes. I loved every minute of my tour, our guide was the best and he was impressed with my knowledge. I’ve seen the extravagant homes built by Wright, but these were simple and practical. The block contains two single family homes and four duplexes. One is under renovation and others are awaiting renovation. It’s a complex project that takes a lot of love and money. So if you find yourself in Milwaukee, GO!! The tour will set you back $15.

Sherri told me that she went to a brewery that had soda in Milwaukee. Google told me that place was called Sprecher’s and it did not disappoint. The tour was short and the line to get your free samples was long. We abandoned the line and started filling our case. You can buy the soda for 90 cents a bottle which is a steal. In the store you pay $3 for a bottle of soda. The flavors are endless, we got “low cal” root beer, watermelon, raspberry, strawberry, grape, and orange cream to name a few. Plus a few hard sodas and ciders.

Harley as in Harley Davidson. I have no interest in Motor Cycles. They make me nervous and don’t get me started about motor cycles on the freeways. Anyways since this trip is not all about me and my dad did willingly tag along to Wright and the church I brought him to the museum. His first words were “this is bigger than I thought it would be.” I should also mention that the guy at the ticket counter asked my dad if he needed a wheelchair because there is a lot of walking. My dad replied in the only way he knows how “do I look like I need a FUCKING wheelchair!?” Yup, that’s my dad and I’m keeping him. He loved the museum. The museum is filled with every Harley in existence from the very start to modern day. The displays are well executed and curated. If you like buttons there are lots of those to push. At the end they have an area where you can climb on a bike for photos.

Since Milwaukee is know for its high concentration of Germans and German culture I thought it was fitting that we go to a beer hall for sausages. What can I say, I am half German, thanks mom! And I love me a good sausage and German Potato salad and Spatzel. We went for the pretzel and beer hall platter. A platter our waitress called “the meat party.”

My whole reason for this trip was to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Greek Orthodox Church aka the “Jewel Box.” Now I should mention the congregation does not offer open tours. You can make a tour by appointment or you can just pack a dress and go to church. Now I am Methodist so the service was very different for me and my dad too. A wonderful woman named Denise took us under her wing and explained the service to us and made sure we were doing ok. There is a lot of standing during the service and the majority of it was in Greek and we were lost. Although lost it was a beautiful service in a beautiful church. Bucket list item accomplished.

After service we stopped for breakfast and drove onto Racine, because you guessed it another Wright building tour was on deck. But first KRINGLE! My lovely and dear friend Lisa would always bring Kringle back from Racine and it was delicious so I had to stop in at the bakery and grab like 3 of them….. don’t judge.

Trip advisor told me that the Wind Point Lighthouse was not to be missed and since I also have a minor obsession with lighthouses we went. She did not disappoint it was a perfect day on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Wingspread was my main reason for driving to Racine. Not familiar with Wingspread? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Wingspread is the Home Frank Lloyd Wright built for Herbert F. Johnson the owner of Johnson Wax now known as SC Johnson. The home was extraordinary for its time and expensive as well. The original budget was $100,000.00, Wright was famous for blowing budgets and blow this one he did. This is an extraordinary example of Wright architecture and it did not disappoint. It is after all the only Wright design that includes a swimming pool. Wright believed that swimming pools were glorified bath tubs, I tend to agree with the man.

Wingspread was the last stop on our journey. It was getting late so my dad and I headed westward to Home. Of course we made a stop in the Dells for dinner and I politely told my dad “this is your last trip this summer….” He didn’t like the sound of that and he keeps on asking me where we are going next. August and September are up in the air, when going through IVF you hand your life over to the clinic and pray for the best.

{Road Trip} “Uppers” for the weekend

My dad and I take a road trip every Memorial Day weekend. He gets to pick the where and I provide the how. Yes I drive and he rides, well more like he sleeps the whole way. This year my dad chose the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As far as I can remember he has always wanted to go and see the Mackinac Bridge aka “The Mighty Mac.” So go we did and let me tell you, The Mighty Mac does not disappoint.

Each trip over the bridge will cost you $4.00 and you can only drive 40 MPH, which is just fine if you ask me. The middle lanes are grates and the outside lanes are pavement. I chose pavement, because well driving on the grate is just weird and I didn’t like it, so the pavement was my jam. We probably made a total of 10 round trips over the bridge for a total of $80.00, it was my dad’s favorite thing and I didn’t mind. Bring cash! It will get you through the toll booths faster than a credit card!

The upper peninsula of Michigan is beautiful and very easy to drive in. Hello! The speed limit is 75 MPH, I was legit for once and not speeding! Go me!!!! Anyways my dad and I made the drive up to the top of the UP which is Sault Saint Marie to see the famous locks. My dad stayed in the car and well I went to the locks solo. The locks are well locks and its pretty fun to watch the ships go through them. There is a raised platform that you can go on to get a birds eye view of the locks. Security is tight around the locks so leave your, booze, knife, and gun in the car. The locks are right on the edge of the city so it was easy to find and there was lots of parking. Across the street from the locks there are restaurants and shops to satisfy the tourist.

My dad and I stayed in the UP. Our hotel was in St. Ignace which just happens to be the gateway to the UP! The town is beautiful and the people were lovely. On Main Street there is the Museum of Ojibway culture and across from that is the Indian Village Souvenir shop. Seeing that my Dad is Ojibway going to the Museum was a no brainer. The Museum is very informative on Ojibway Culture and the staff was very warm. There is a small area where you can by real Indian made goods and not the “made in China” kind. I ended up buying four hand painted spirit puppets. Thunder is currently sitting on my mantel.

The main point of traveling to the UP is to take a hydro jet ferry over to Mackinac Island! Yes that famous island that does not allow cars! Well except for a ambulance, fire truck, and police car…..they are necessary vehicles to have. If you like horses and fudge, then my friend this place is your dream come true. We decided to take the carriage tour which will set you back $29 per person. The carriage tour is informative and a great way to see all of the sights on the island. Such as arch rock, Fort Mackinac, The Cemeteries, and the state park.

The Main Street on the island is straight out of the 1800s. Full of cute little shops selling tourist wares and duh! FUDGE! My dad and I got some fudge and t-shirts then bid the island goodbye.

Mackinaw City is at the “tip of da mitt.” If you ask me the whole town is just a glorified ferry dock with shops. They did however have a Del Sol, so I will give them an extra point for this. Down by the lake you will find “old fort Mackinac and a light house.” Both sites are open for daily tours. My dad chose the fort, because well he likes history and all of that jazz. It was actually pretty cool.

Lighthouses are a plenty in Northern Michigan and if you know me well, the you know I love me a good lighthouse. I went to five total and loved everyone of them.

My dad and I have a tradition when on vacation. Wherever we are we watch the sunset. Michigan sunsets over the Mighty Mac did not disappoint. I could watch them every day for the rest of my life and then some. This trip was amazing. We packed a lot into three days and honestly I could have stayed for the entire summer. If you haven’t been, I urge you to go! It truly is pure Michigan and she does not disappoint.