Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Adventures in Michigan

Location: Beloit, WI
Miles: 915

This morning we toured Ann Arbor with Matthew-who-is-called-Sid as our able & enthusiastic tourguide. Ann Arbor is a great town, well worth visiting, with many attractions. The highlights of the tour were the giant cube and the alley of art and graffiti.

(Above) Here's Matthew/Sid and Don at the giant cube.

(Above) And here's Matthew/Sid and Don in the alley of art & graffiti.

Before leaving Ann Arbor, we stopped in at Middle Earth, a fantastic shop that sells jewelry, books, cards, buttons, bumper stickers, toys -- all aimed at the literate, liberal adult. Lots of cute anti-Bush graphics and jokes. Among other things, Thomas bought a button that says, "God doesn't believe in me, either. It all evens out." If you are in Ann Arbor, you cannot miss Middle Earth.

We also stopped in at Kaleidoscope, a marvelous book-and-curios store that is crammed full of used books and all manner of knick-knacks. Like a great air-conditioned attic, the store is crammed with unknown numbers of old books. If there's ever a fire, it will burn for days...and dozens will be trapped under collapsing piles of hardcovers and bookshelves. Don bought a couple sf paperbacks, and Thomas found a vintage Empire Strikes Back Luke Skywalker halloween costume, complete with flimsy plastic mask.

Around noon we headed west on I-94. By two we were in Battle Creek...who could resist? We stopped to go to Kellogg's Cereal World, which is basically a museum of Kellogg's cereals, including great displays of cereal premiums throughout the ages. Definitely well worth the $7 admission charge.

(Above) Thomas and a friend at Kellogg's Cereal World.

From Battle Creek we continued west on I-94, which bent south just in time to miss Lake Michigan. We followed I-94 through Chicago...what with construction and traffic, it took us two hours to crawl through downtown Chicago. Memo to big cities: this idea of having multiple Interstate Highways go directly through your downtown is never a good one. Beltways and bypasses exist for a reason.

Finally, around 9:30 (Central Time) we stopped to eat at Beefaroo in Rockford, IL. Beefaroo is one of those faux-fifties burger joints, but with great food and an innocence that somehow transcended the tackiness. Highly recommended.

At 10:45, we reached Beloit, Wisconsin...or at least, a stone's throw away from Beloit, Wisconsin. (We didn't see a "Welcome to Wisconsin" sign, but it was dark and we were both very tired.) And now we are safely ensconced in the Knight's Inn, which is a nice enough place for a roadside motel.

Tomorrow: Wisconsin and, if we're lucky, on into Minnesota.



Betts said...

Looks like more fun! I would love to visit the bookstore with star wars toys. Sounds like a great many fans spare rooms or basements.

Don? Has Thomas taught you the welcome to a new state song that I taught him on friday night? If he didn't do it as you went into Pennsylvania, ask him about it. :)

Meerkat Meade said...

Oh, yes! We've been happily signing the new state song each time we cross a border. It's great fun!


M. said...

Going around Chicago can be worse than going through.... I think we hit the same construction 5 years ago!

Meerkat Meade said...

I don't think there's any good way to avoid traffic at Chicago. Sort of like the DC Beltway, or 495 in Massachusetts.

Can't wait to see what kind of traffic we hit around Los Angeles. Maybe we should plan on arriving in California a day before we need to....