Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 10: A report on day 8

Fast food test results 1
Hardee's: It may look like Carl's Jr., but that is where the similarities end. Far inferior to it's western cousin.
White Castle: Succeeds in what it purports to do--cheap and fairly tasty no frills burgers and fries. You don't go here for quality, you go for quantity.
Skyline Chili: Not delicious. Apparent claim of popularity among midwesterners under much suspicion.

Since my last posting, I've made quite some progress. Day 8 was pretty uneventful, I stayed mostly to the interstates to save some time and make progress, as I needed to meet up with Graham soon so we could start that leg of the journey. I took a quick jaunt through Madison, Wisconsin and nearly got myself ran over by an ambulance while looking at the capitol building, but really nothing exciting. The town is quite interesting as it is built on a strip of land between two lakes. Driving down the main avenue from the highway, the capitol building stood as a culmination at the end, offering quite a distracting driving experience (also one of the reasons I nearly got myself ran over).

Milwaukee: Town from the highway
From Madison I headed east towards Milwaukee, where I tried unsuccessfully to get myself lost. The city seemed interesting, but I didn't really take the time to explore it much as I intended to reach north Chicago by night.

Around this time I did start to notice a distinct trend in the industrial landscape, favoring more factories but also containing many rundown and abandoned buildings. Much of the land that was once taken up by manufacturing plants has been left largely un-reclaimed. More on this and the atmosphere it seems to create later.

Heading down I-94 towards Chicago, I made the mistake of not taking the last exit in Wisconsin and simply finding a motel among the plethora available. Little did I know that I-94 becomes a lovely toll road right across the border. Luckily I had the $1.50 in cash and didn't need to find out if they would take my debit card (somehow I doubt it). Also, once in Illinois the abundant rate of interstate-side motels dropped off exponentially to basically zero. After about 20 minutes of this freeway (and needing to use the restroom badly) I decided to exit and try my luck blindly driving down local highways.

Lesson about toll highways: not only does it cost money to enter, it costs to exit too.

At this point I was in the north western area of Chicago, or what I know like to call land of endless suburbs. Each "town" flowed seamlessly into the next, with gated communities and tree lined winding streets around every turn. Where I had failed in Milwaukee, I overwhelmingly succeeded here to get myself completely lost.

After an hour or two, I had yet to find any motel in the area (although plenty of suite offering luxury hotels). My best bet, I realized, would be to return to Wisconsin and stay near the border at the exit I missed. However, I desperately wanted to avoid paying the toll to use I-94, so I stubbornly would my way on backroads and highways back to the state line. By the time I reached my destination it was past dark. I rolled into the local Super 8 Motel, crossing my fingers and wishing I had something to sacrifice to better my odds.

No dice.

Big surprise, though; it was Friday night (something I tend to lose track of). The desk clerk suggested I head west down the road to "one of the cheaper motels, they should have rooms". When Super 8 tells you to go to a cheaper motel, that should worry you.

I finally found what I was looking for at the Value Inn: a smoking room with a king sized bed priced at more than I really wanted to pay. Okay, perhaps not ideal, but it was the last room available probably in the state of Wisconsin, so I couldn't be terribly picky.

I know I'm about 2 days behind now in the blogs, but I'm tired so day 9 will have to wait until tomorrow. Tune in for adventures in confusing highways, bladder control, and race relations.

Current trippy status: quite trippy, but its good to be in Dayton and hang out with Graham.
Current trippy miles: >3000 (the couch is too comfy to get off to check)
Current trippy music: Nothing really today, but recently...
The White Stripes: Elephant and Icky Thump (the latter being amazing, truly the best that they have done so far)


g said...


best one yet. i might even pay for it.

And skyline chili rocks! though my stomach is still hurting.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I ever realized how "careful" you are with money. Obviously a trait inherited from your fabulous father.

Cate said...

You should also try Lion's Choice and Steak and Shake...yummmmmmy!