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Sat. Aug. 5 to Fri. Aug. 11- Joliet IL to Minneapolis MN

Saturday- We went to the free breakfast at the hotel, then we left early to take the Metra train from Joliet to Chicago. Since it was the weekend we had to purchase our tickets on the train. We paid $8 each round trip! We thought that was pretty inexpensive for how far we traveled!

We arrived in Chicago and caught an Uber to the Navy Pier. $6 for the two of us! The bus would have cost $6 each! We arrived in time to take the 10 AM Architectural Boat Tour, but on my phone I had discounted tickets for $74 dollars. At the pier they wanted $94. The 10 AM tour disappeared off my phone, so we wandered out to the end of the pier to look at the Lighthouse.  We returned in time to take the 10:45 tour for the $74 for the two of us.

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So we took off on the boat. The trip follows the Chicago river and lasted about 75 minutes.

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It was a very good tour with a lot of history and information about various architectural time periods.

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The four below are typical of different types of buildings.

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Above is a building that Joe Kennedy owned and turned into a success.

Below, this was the original post office. At the time, it was the largest Post Office in the country. The problem was the elevators. They held up the mail. So they moved the PO to a location close by….

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Our selfie.

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What used to be called the Sears Tower. It has a different name now, but the Chicagoans all call it the Sears Tower.

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Our other selfie with the Sears Tower in the background.

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Our tour guide Kevin, was a hoot! He was a very good tour guide and he knew his stuff. He obviously had a love for architecture. Below, he serenaded us by playing the harmonica! He was a really good player and played some Chicago Blues.

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We left the boat and returned to the pier. As we were walking over, we saw this fountain of bubbles. The adults were having as much fun as the kids. 20170805_120705 (2)We went to lunch at Harry Cary’s restaurant. We had a nice meal, and tried to visit the inside of the Pier, but since it was a beautiful day, everybody in Chicago had come to the Pier. It was crazy, so we left and called another Uber to return us to the train station.

We were an hour early for the train, so we waited. It was pretty loud as the train station was crazy. So many teenagers and college students getting off the trains to go party in town. The Uber driver told us this happens every weekend.

We returned on the train to Joliet, an hour trip. We walked the dogs, then went to dinner at 99 Hops. We had a 15% discount coupon, and Bob just had a beer, not a flight this evening.

We had a coupon to gamble $10 and get $10 free, so we did that and lost all of it. We still came out ahead!

Sunday- We left around 9:30 and traveled west on I-80 to I-37 to I-90. We continued on to just south east of Madison WI in a small town called Edgerton. We turned into Cripple Creek Campground. It was not the greatest place and we arrived in a rain storm.

We tried a 50 amp site, but it was very un-level, so we moved to a flat 30 amp site where we had water and could get the satellite. Bob tried putting up the booster, and it helped a little bit, but our internet was still awful.

In the travel guide we saw that there was a German Restaurant in Madison, so  I called to check on the hours for Monday, as  their website would not load. They were closed Mon and Tues, so we drove to Madison for dinner.

We were very disappointed in the German restaurant. The food was mediocre, and they brought a meal for Bob with bell pepper on it, so they had to change his order. We returned to the MH for the rest of the evening. Bob had noticed that our generator was leaking fluid!

Monday- Bob called a Freightliner repair facility in Minneapolis, and scheduled us for a repair of the generator on Friday. We will go straight to their facility on Thursday.

We left a little after 9 to go to Madison. We found parking on the street, but the kiosk would not accept our credit card for parking. We gave the meter all the change we had, which was only enough for 50 minutes. The tour of the capitol was for 1 hour. Oh well, we would take a chance. By this time, we were running to make the 10 AM tour.

We made the tour and our docent was very knowledgeable. Below is the rotunda dome.

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Below is an exact replica of the Liberty Bell, except there is no crack.

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Below is a Badger and there are hundreds of them in the building.

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This is the Governor’s Conference Room and it is the most ornate room in the building. The door in the picture leads to the Chief of Staff’s office, then on to the Governor’s office.

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Below is the seal of Wisconsin. Note the badger, and the four different themes, water, land, work, and forest. I think I have those right…. 

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Here it is again.

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Here is Bob rubbing a badger nose for good luck.

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We climbed the stairs above to the Fossil Room. This room was originally the Railroad room, where the Railroad Assoc. met. They donated a lot of money to building the capital building, so they had their own room. As the railroad had less power, it became a room where they have public meetings. Many of the rooms have skylights. The pictures below show the history of the state.

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Below is one of the fossils in the beautiful marble.

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Below is the Supreme Court.

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Around the Courtroom, were pictures through time that were court oriented.

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Below is the Senate.

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Below is the House.

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Here is the outside. The statue on the top is facing east and is pointing to the Lincoln Memorial.

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The capital building burned in 1904 and had to be rebuilt. It is very ornate. They don’t build them like this anymore!

We made it back to the car before we were issued a ticket. We went to lunch, then to a cheese store. We did not purchase any cheese.

Tuesday- Travel day. We drove out of the park around 9 and traveled northwest then west to La Crosse. We arrived at Veterans Memorial Park and Campground. We unhooked the car in the park parking lot and drove the car into the campground. We talked to camp host. He said pick a site and come back and pay him.We stopped and dumped on the way to the site, and parked. We found a 50 amp w/e site for $29 a night with our senior discount.

We settled in and ate lunch. Then we ran to a laundromat in town. There was a laundry at the campground, but it only had 2 washers and 2 dryers. We needed 7 washers for all the laundry that had piled up!

We only spent 1 1/2 hours at the laundromat, and returned, letting what was still damp air dry. We settled in and it started to rain. We had a quiet evening at home.

Wednesday- We left and drove into La Crosse. Our first stop was at the Visitor Center. The gal there was very knowledgeable, and we found out a lot about the area. They have a little museum in the Visitor Center, but we decided not to pay the entrance fee. We walked over to this statue of Hiawatha.

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and the paddle boat.

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They do tours on the Mississippi river. There are three rivers that converge in La Crosse. The Mississippi, the Black, and the La Crosse rivers. So there is a lot of water around here!

The gal in the visitor center recommended that we visit their garden, which was behind the visitor center. We did. This is a very large place and moves to a trail along one of the rivers.

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The garden was divided into different areas. The city is a sister city with 7 other cities across the world, and all of them have this type of garden. The areas were divided by countries, we saw Germany, Russia and Ireland.

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The building itself was interesting.

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We drove on the historical street suggested by the Visitor Center and there were some beautiful houses. Unfortunately, it was a busy street, so we could not get a lot of good pictures.

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We continued onto Grandad Bluff. It towers 1200 ft. as is one of the areas  most visible and popular attractions. We had to cross the railroad tracks and sat watching a very long train pass in front of us. The drive up to the top of the bluff was only about a mile, but very steep. People walk or ride bikes on this road!

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We arrived just as a bus load of seniors were debarking from their tour bus. We followed them up the trail to the top of the bluff. They had a tour guide who pointed the sites out. It was interesting listening to her.

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From the top of the bluff, you can see three states. Obviously WI, as that is where we are. Across the river is MN and to the south, where the two bluffs seem to intersect is IA, which is about 25 miles south.

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Below is the road where we sat watching the train.

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We drove back down the bluff and into town. Our next stop was at the World’s Largest 6 Pack. “Back when it was the G. Heileman Brewing Co, the World;s Largest Six Pack was dressed up in Old Style colors. Now, these iconic aging tanks resemble giant cans of La Crosse Lager, City Brewer’s most popular local product.” From the city guide.

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Across the street was a statue of King Gambrinus, the alleged inventor of beer.

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We went to lunch at a little BBQ restaurant. That was a disaster. Bob ordered the pulled pork sandwich. He checked to make sure there was no bell pepper in his sides of coleslaw and potato salad. The gal said there was no bell pepper in them. There was, and he had to return them.

I ordered a pulled pork salad. Unfortunately, I did not ask if there was blue cheese on the salad, (who would expect blue cheese on a salad at a BBQ restaurant) when I was half way through the salad I realized there was blue cheese in it. Fortunately, it only made me nauseated.

We left and crossed the Big Blue Bridges ( they call them the Mississippi river bridge, or the Cass St. Bridge).  Evidently they are symbolic of the City of La Crosse. We drove to the top of the MN bluffs to look back at WI. The area was overgrown and I could not get a decent picture. That is I-90 in the picture.

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We returned to La Crosse and stopped in a Duluth Trading Company. We wandered through. They were having a big sale on their summer items, but they were still too expensive and I was not really interested in shopping. We only had a 15 minute parking place anyway.

We continued on to Onalaska to visit Sunny the Sunfish.  Onalaska’s claim to fame is the title “Sunfish Capital of the World”. They have a fiberglass replica of a sunfish which is 15 feet tall and 25 ft long. It was unveiled in 1998.

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Then we passed the campground and went about 3 miles north to West Salem to see the Palmer Brothers Octagons. There are two, but we only found one. They were historic octagonal houses built by two brothers, Horace and Monroe Palmer in 1856-57. Both houses are on the National Register of Historic Places and are open for public viewing. The Palmer-Gullickson house has been restored as a museum and the Palmer-Lewis House is the visitor center. The Visitor Center did not pop up on Google Maps and we followed the signs and could not find the Visitor Center.

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We returned to the MH with just enough  time to walk the dogs before it started to rain. It rained off and on all night.

Thursday-  Moving day. We moved to the Freightliner facility south of St. Paul. They said we could park in a trailer space and plug into the light pole. There was 20 amp, which is enough to keep the refrigerator cold. We settled in. We ate dinner and went to bed at 10, knowing that they are closed from midnight to 6 AM. We thought it would get quiet at midnight. WRONG!

Friday- At 12:30 AM they came to hook up the trailer next to us. That was very loud. We got out of bed and pulled the big slide half way in so that the trailer would not hit the slide. We barely slept all night due to all the noise.

We got up at 5:30 and took quick showers. At 8:30 the tech came to the MH. Bob asked the tech to plug in the MH to keep the refrigerator and freezers cold. He did not. At 11:15 the supervisor came to tell us that the problem was a hole in the generator radiator. He said that they did not do repairs, only maintenance HUH? Bob had told them we were there for a repair. Also the supervisor said that they changed the oil. HUH? We had not told them to change the oil. We discussed the situation with him and we did not end up paying anything.

The supervisor suggested a place for a repair, and Bob called. They could not get us in until Sept. 12. So Bob went online on his phone and looked for a place on the generator company website. He found one about 40 miles south and made an appointment for Monday. We left and went to Dakota Meadows RV Park ($33 FHU 50 A) located at Mystic Lake Casino (the largest casino in Minnesota). We settled in for the weekend. I immediately started laundry. Because it was Friday, we left and went to Mall of America.

We arrived and easily found a parking place. We wandered the very busy mall.

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While we were wandering the mall, the repair facility called. They could get the new radiator, but it will take 3 to 5 days. Then they could not install until Mon. 21st. Okay, we need to change our reservations for Sun and Mon night. We ate dinner at the mall, then returned to the MH and fell asleep!

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