My busy boy in the wee small hours of the morning.
Playing at the play area in the West Town Mall in Madison.
Yesterday started early at our hotel room in Middleton, WI. Even though we had an early start, we took our time getting ourselves together and out of the hotel. Our first stop was the West Towne Mall in Middleton. We were going to see a friend from college who works at the Apple Store. But, unfortunately, she had to leave work early and we didn't get to see her. We did get to see the shiny new iPads though :) And the mall had a fun play area for Dylan as well. After letting him climb around a bit, we got back in the car and headed into downtown Madison to see the capital building. I'm glad we did. Madison's downtown area is situated between two lakes and when you come across the bridge there is a lovely view of the city. The capital building itself is impressive and the tilework inside is spectacular.
Downtown Madison as seen from across Lake Monona.
The capital building.
Inside the capital building.
Denny and Dylan check out a really neat mailbox.
We asked the capital tour guide for a lunch recommendation and he sent us over to the Old Fashioned. Denny and I both had the house hamburger - a tasty burger topped with Wisconsin cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, red onions and a soft fried egg. Mmm, mmm, good. Denny had his with fried Wisconsin cheese curds, ooh those are evil good. Later in the day Denny commented "Wisconsin cheese curds are just one letter a way from being Wisconsin cheese turds". I laughed so hard I cried (or maybe it was the smell he let out in the car before making the statement that caused the tears in my eyes...we'll never know).
Interesting snacks to this southern girl.
My tasty burger.
Is this love?
After lunch we headed back into the capital building (we were parked on the opposite side from the Old Fashioned, needed to get postcards and have a potty break before piling back into the car). Dylan and I rode the elevator, which is always a fun diversion for a 3 year old (or any small child who likes to push buttons). And then we were in the car and off again.
Here we are on the steps of the captial building.
Dylan and the super cool elevator.
And here's one more photo of the inside of the capital....a closeup of the dome.
We decided to make a pit stop in the Wisconsin Dells as it seemed like the appropriate touristy thing to do. For those of you in the south, the Wisconsin Dells is akin to a touristy beach town. Except it's full of indoor waterparks. It has the requisite fudge, candy, taffy, kitcshy, tshirts, knick knack and other random stores. It even has a Ripley's Believe it or Not. My favorite thing was noticing that the Torture Museum was across the street from the Dells Bells Wedding Chapel. It is worth noting that all of this is around a river that has carved interesting cliffs into the landscape. We were able to walk to the overlook and take a few photos before our little guy asked for water (which was in the car) since the chocolate we gave him made him thirsty (it's imperative to buy chocolate at the chocolate shops in these towns cause it's always the "best"). After a quick stop to take a photo with Paul Bunyan (and eat more chocolate) we took to the road again realizing we were going to be getting in later than we had planned.
The little town of Wisconsin Dells. (it's nuts!)
How much is that chocolate in the window?
The river and cliffs of the Wisconsin Dells (at least the ones closest to the road :)
Cracked us up that the Torture Museum was across the street from the Dells Bells Wedding Chapel.
It's Paul Bunyan!
And it's all you can eat!
Wisconsin has lots of farms along the highway (as does Minnesota, more on that later). By the time we reached the Mississippi River, we'd passed a sign for the Ho Chunk Casino and Lamers Bus Lines. We decided we really didn't want to go to a Casino where a "ho" blew chunks. And any bus lines named "lamers" just had to be lame.
Pretty scenery in Wisconsin.
The hills straight ahead are across the Mississippi River in Minnesota. Can you tell we've splatted lots of bugs on our trip so far?
Crossing the Mississippi into Minnesota.
We crossed the Mississippi into Minnesota and the land seemed to immediately change. On the western side of the Mississippi the hills were larger for a bit before leveling back out into plains again. With farms, lots and lots of farms. Our little guy finally gave up and fell asleep around 6 in the car and we pulled into our hotel in Owatonna at 7. We got him transferred to his bed with no problems (well, except that he decided being awake at 3 would be great). We were disappointed with our Holiday Inn experience in Owatonna. I picked this place because they had a Serengeti miniature waterpark complete with animal statues in the pools and a waterslide. But, I found out upon checking in that they don't open the waterpark til 3. Which would do us absolutely no good. We were told to ask in the morning (this morning) if they would open it for us and they wouldn't. So, we packed up and got out of dodge quickly. More on that in my next post. Stay tuned!