Tuesday, July 24, 2012

WISCONSIN & ILLINOIS

Town readies for July 4 festivities along Mississippi
We were in La Crosse, Wisconsin over 4th of July.  The city is situated on the Mississippi River - the name comes from Indian words meaning Father of Waters. The Mississippi actually starts about 200 miles north of Minneapolis and creates the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin.   Our hotel overlooked the river which runs 2,352 miles down to the Gulf of Mexico and is used by 60% of all North American bird species as a migratory flyway.  Barges run up and down the waterway, each carrying the equivalent 58 semi truck trailers.  One barge carries enough wheat to make 2.25 million loaves of bread.  
Stone cottages in Mineral Point
From there, we drove through miles and miles of farmland to Mineral Point, Wisconsin.  This was during the height of the heat wave and we saw endless acres of corn gradually turning brown. Mineral Point is reminiscent of a small English village thanks to an influx of miners from Cornwall, England in the early 1800s.  Skilled in hard rock mining and stone masonry, they came to the area to mine the rich mineral deposits.  Now the population is less than 3,000 but at one time, more people lived here than in Milwaukee and Chicago combined. 

Scott & Ann at their dental office
We moved on to Delafield, Wisconsin and had a wonderful week at the Delafield Hotel.  The hotel is lovely, quite new but built to reflect the colonial era.   In fact, the whole town has a colonial flavor.  Our friends, Ann and Scott, came up over the weekend.  On our way to Chicago, we stopped to see them at Scott's beautiful, new dental office.  He wanted a set of x-rays in case we ever have a problem during our travels.  What a friend!
Trudy in her elegant Chicago apartment


Out on the town: Trudy, Scott, Geri, Ann, Ron
We continued into Chicago
to spend a few days with Trudy, another friend from the 2011 World Cruise.  What a magnificent apartment she has on Lake Shore Drive.  Ann and Scott joined us one night and the 5 of us had a great night out.  Another World Cruise friend, Alan, was in town from Colorado so we got to spend some time with him as well.


Caroline, Nick, Clare & Norman (with ball in mouth)
We relocated to a suburb of Chicago in order to see a girlfriend I had not seen in over 40 years.  That's a lot to catch up on!  And, we were able to spend some time with our niece Caroline and her family who had just moved to Evanston so she can obtain her Master's degree at Northwestern.   


This has been a very social segment of our journey.  As I have said before, one of the best aspects of this trip is seeing friends we met on our travels who live scattered across the country.  We feel so fortunate to know so many lovely, fun and interesting people.


BOOK NEWS: I am working on a new book called "The Relationship Handbook."  If interested, you can read excerpts on my website www.gerioneill.com.