American Midwest

March Break 2015 was another two week roadtrip for us! We really put some miles on my tiny little car, loaded the thing with granola bars and trail mix  and off to America we went. This time we had many stops to hit.

First up…

Cleveland OHIO
Cleveland was nothing short of hilarious from the moment we got there until the moment we left. The hotel we checked into was hosting an equestrian group of waffle lovers who while overhearing a conversation we were having asked us to a titty bar… it should be noted that our conversation was about the local cheese house, not strip club.

Our first night in town we explored the downtown core and ended up following a group of elderly white people into a theater, letting them pied piper our evening. Turns out they were going to a one woman piano play based on the haulocaust…so yes, it was a good idea.
I remember Cleveland having great art and being filthy… no one warned us that taking the short cut through East Cleveland into town would put us at risk for insurance scams and give me a real rotten impression of what was in store for us.
Rock and Roll hall of fame!
There was an overpass marking the divide between east Cleveland and the part of town where businesses thrived, some unspoken understanding that only a certain kind of people cross under it… now we know.

Indianapolis INDIANA
We assumed Indianapolis had nothing to offer us and was just a city halfway between two places we were going that we could stop at overnight–so we splurged on a fancy hotel suite, used the work out room and planned on spending the night watching movies. After a long car ride we thought it would be a good idea to take a walk before starting our hibernation… and good thing we did, because the city was kinda cute!

We patrolled the professional sports stadiums, saw the Senate (pictured) and cruised a huge 4 city block mall. As always I tried to find the city museums, and the only one this place offered was a Native American museum, we took one look at the front lobby and promptly turned the other direction. We hit some Indiana restaurant for what I thought was a healthy dinner of stuffed peppers… which was pure illness fuel, they were the size of my head and mostly full of hot cheese substitute. One day was plenty in this cute little town.

St Louis MISSOURRI
We entered St Louis after dark and it had a very New York like skyline filled with huge covered bridges, the arch in the distance and a lit up business district. St. Louis was actually one of the bigger art stops of our trip and we came for the reviews! After our first full day in town we went to the St. Louis Blues vs Philledelphia Flyers Hockey game, the home team won and an obnoxious Philly fan was heckled hard “Sit down philly cheesesteak” for the duration of the game. Bobble heads for everyone! (I ended up with multiple from this trip, each sporting event offered us a new one) 

The Gateway arch (the largest arch in the world: 192 m!) a monument in St. Louis, looked like an elevator shaft the closer you got to it. Everything in downtown St Louis looked better from afar, however we weren’t staying downtown, we were staying in the Art Loop… a hip little district with a House of Blues that demanded to see our passports where we saw several chick bands scream in a basement (amazing) a slew of galleries and used book stores and Mexican restaurants, a huge park that had several castle like museums.

This quirky lunar-themed hotel was in the Delmar Loop district next to The Pageant concert hall and 15 minutes’ walk from Washington University, yes it was space themed (pictured). It was semi futuristic, covered in rocket and planet knick knacks and fully hilarious. It was exactly the way The Jetsons was.

CASEY ILLINOIS
Where to find the worlds largest EVERYTHING! While making the drive from Cleveland to Chicago we saw several billboards and street signs advertising just about everything (Steak&Lube is a real business….they feed you a steak dinner while changing your oil!) One of these signs alerted us to “The world’s largest Golf Tee” and who doesn’t want to see that? So off we went to Casey Illinois.
So, it turns out that most golf tee’s don’t get very big… so it ended up being about 6 ft tall and I was expecting a skyscraper, but it turns out this town was home to many other gems! Including the “World’s Largest Wind chime” (pictured), the “World’s Largest Knitting Needles” and a sign you can see as the title picture for my tips page a lot they’ve saved for “The world’s Largest Rocking Chair” which I affectionately took to calling the World’s Largest Almost.
Then, as it was about a town of 4000 we got the hell outta there. Charming though, real cute.

Chicago ILLINOIS
We stayed in a heritage Hotel while we were in Chicago, it was located in the heart of the city and much to my travelling partners joy, right behind the shopping district. Chicago surprised me by being bordered by water (who knew?!) and also by being more of a fashion hub than I expected. Also there’s a Michael Jordan steak house.

Millenium park is a sight. It was amazing and has my favorite piece of art “Cloud Gate” better known as “The bean” (it is shaped like a bean…) this thing is AMAZING. During the day, amazing. At night, amazing.
I returned to Millennium park 3 times during this trip to see this thing at different times of day. Always worth it. When we went back at night (walking home from the basketball game for an hour) we were actually drawn to the park by this giant lit up head sculpture (pictured) during the day it had been decent, not too impressive but after dark when it’s an ivory frown… wild. The park has many art sculptures and floral gardens to offer along with a great city view, it borders the museum and there is an outdoor concert venue- very worth checking out.

I feel like I could do a whole post just on the Bulls Basketball game (we had great seats, pictured) I think I remember it being a good game, and I know that Chicago won, but honestly it’s everything else that I remember… there was a child sized man in a furry bull costume riding a small motorcycle down a flight of stairs during the game, fog machines and fireworks following the win, an actual BLIMP floating around inside the stadium dropping Tee Shirts and gift cards to local restaurants…it was madness, I have seen less theatrics at the circus. So, obviously I loved it! Having never been to a professional basketball game before I don’t know that I could ever go to one again… I would be expecting this display and I fear nothing will measure up. The perfect “only” experience to have. Everyone should go.

Milwaukee WISCONSIN
We had the pleasure of spending St. Patrick’s day in Milwaukee (although I should mention that we got to celebrate St. Patrick’s day almost every stop on this trip– turns out America like to party all day for the whole week!)

We rolled into town midday + I was immediately impressed with the view of the water that the downtown offered, and immediately disappointed with the highway built near it. We parked downtown to grab lunch….and that’s all she wrote. Completely unintentionally we were GreenBeer’d for an afternoon. We hit a wine bar for charcuterie, saw a band perform at an Irish Pub and I got to be the one who took a break and DD’d us back to the hotel.

The next morning we took a gallery tour and saw some amazing art, however I’ll have to return one day as the whale Museum was closed. No it does not have whales to view, but it is shaped like one…I do not need to know what it’s actually called.

Madison WISCONSIN
This place… is maybe the most American University town I have ever seen. It was almost entirely pubs, schools, galleries, and government.
I will say that what I’m about to say likely isn’t true of the place always, but this was the day after St. Patricks day in a university town so yep, covered in trash and riddled with hung over skateboarders.
We saw a pretty hands on art gallery that allowed us to contribute to some of the works that were being displayed (interactive woo! …but hated it) saw some great used book stores, ate some pub salad and took off back to our terrible hotel next to the Harley Davidson Dealership. Madison!

Detroit MICHIGAN
Detroit is an insurance fire. I’m sure there is a portion of town that has high-end neighborhoods and boutique stores and little pastry shops or cute parks… but it is certainly not the part that I had the pleasure of seeing. The Tigers stadium was adorable, and the contemporary Art gallery was AMAZING but everything else was slow rolls through stop signs and trying to ensure the car didn’t get broken into. This was not a place that we walked on foot after dark, and it was not a place that I need to return to. Although I’m certain if I did, and with a little research it has much to offer. Ending the trip with Detroit was a hilarious idea.

Cracker Barrel will ruin your day. Do not do it.

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