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Looping ‘Round the Midwest

Goodness that was a whirlwind.

In the last 3 weeks  Tracy and I count 38 occasions of hanging out with people.  38 instances of meeting out for a meal, or grabbing coffee, or getting drinks, or staying the night.  The real kicker is there were still a good number of folks we wanted to see but couldn’t make the time.

Though quite enjoyable at the time, the 38 which constituted the bulk of our doin’s these last 3 weeks all kind of blur together in memory now.  So in lieu of recounting those, I’ll focus on a few delightful nuggets that have come from the experience.

A visit to the Shissler farm in the middle of Illinois cornfields have given me a fond appreciation for agriculture.  Thanks Adam for answering my endless barrage of questions on how you grow literally tons and tons of popcorn.  For it I’ll never see a pivot irrigation system the same way again, and I’m sorry to hear about those meth heads stealing your copper off of them.

After wading through 90 minutes of Chicago land traffic en route to the north side, nothing could be so comforting as hot fresh breakfast at 3pm featuring bacon and french toast.  Sister Susie and boyfriend Brad, you have our gratitude.

It was Friday the 18th when we realized we were running out of things to do around the Milwaukee area for the time being.  Our stay at a place we found on AirBNB downtown (at which point we would enjoy the non-family parts of our visit) wasn’t until the following Monday, so we had a big gap.  It was at this time we decided just to head to Madison early to enjoy a weekend there.

But wait–we weren’t scheduled to go to Madison until next Thursday when we had a dinner date with a friend.  To go there now would mean we were breaking the schedule, and bouncing around willy-nilly.  This to me seemed counter to my sense to appropriate behavior: like we were being naughty to waste gas, or flaky to be changing cities in on the fly.

Of course that sort of rebuke is ridiculous, head-trash to be discarded.  The real gem of the idea “Hey, let’s go to Madison” is the realization that Tracy and I have serious liberties to design and redesign our World Tour however we see fit, so long as we are able to responsibly swing it.  Which implies an even juicier bit of insight: if World Tour is at all sucking, that’s because we’ve gotten lazy in our design thereof.  We’re on the verge of boredom in Milwaukee having exhausted our family visits?  Then it’s our job to do something about it–loving the time that we have for the next 15 months is our job.  If we’re not having fun, we’re slacking on the job and have no one to blame but ourselves.

Speaking of the non-family part of visiting Milwaukee, I am happy to report that my hometown1 is way cool.  Oddly enough, this was the first time I really got to experience Milwaukee as an adult, for I went off to Madison right after high school and never moved back, and visits since have always centered around seeing family.  This time Tracy and I got to play around the downtown area for two days, taking in brewery tours, great scenery and architecture along the lakefront and riverfront, niche restaurants (Soup Bros. is amazing), and fab bike rides to tie it all together.  The capstone was the view from Lake Michigan aboard my Aunt & Uncle’s boat: bolstered by zipping along the coast with a glass of Chardonnay in hand, the skyline at sunset is striking.  Dang, Milwaukee, you’s a good lookin’ town.

It was a delight to see our friends and family in St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison.  And in the interest of variety, is it my pleasure to say that our appetite for John, Tracy and John & Tracy time is now well whetted.  (A break from listing off the countries we intend to visit should also be rather lovely.)

Onward we now go westward, back towards Denver for the first wedding of the summer.  We don’t know a soul in Minnesota or South Dakota, so our break from visiting people will happening whether we want it or not.  Glad we got it all in while the getting was good.


  1. Well, home metropolitan area.  I never actually lived in the city while growing up.
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