Labor Day Weekend 2008
I enjoyed my Labor Day weekend this year; Linda came to visit me! She visited last year and we had a good time together, so she decided to come back for more. I spent so much time in a car, and by the end of the weekend I pretty much exhausted myself, but still, good times were had.
She arrived on Friday afternoon; I got out of work early to pick her up at the Kalamazoo airport, an hour and a half or so away. We immediately started talking away when she got into my car, and we pretty much chatted nonstop the entire weekend! I love hanging around someone who talks as much as I do! We didn’t do much Friday; we went out for wings at my favorite local wings place and came back to my apartment to watch some episodes of The Office.
The next morning, we set off to hit a few wineries in Michigan! There’s roughly a million wineries in the southwestern Michigan area, and I’d only been to two of them. That day, we hit four; Lemon Creek, Domaine Berrien, Round Barn, and Free Run Cellars. We had fun driving around middle of nowhere Michigan, and I had a good time trying to figure out where all the wineries were located with this little not to scale map I printed from my nearly out of ink printer. Interesting times.
Standing outside of the last winery we went to. We couldn’t have asked for better weather!
We came home and went out to dinner at a local brewery, where we watched Cops and laughed at the live musician we heard in the next room; I’ve never heard someone play covers of songs that badly. We cringed. And laughed. At least the beer was good.
We spent the rest of the evening drinking wine and watching more Office episodes. And talking, of course!
The next day, Sunday, we hit Milwaukee and Chicago! We left bright and early, I filled up my gas tank, and we drove the 3.5 hours to Wisconsin, a state neither of us had ever been to before. We ran into a lot of traffic and I made fun of the shape of the route marker number thingy in Wisconsin. In Indiana, we have squares, and Ohio has little Ohio shapes, but Wisconsin had this… triangle inside of a rectangle thing. Here’s what they look like. (I am amused that there is a website devoted to the highways of Wisconsin. Awesome.)
We make it up to Milwaukee at around noon, central time, and we eagerly went to a brewery to go on a brewery boat tour we read about online the day before. We were excited; we were to hit three local breweries and sample beer at each, plus tour each place! We thought this was a great way to spend the afternoon in Wisconsin.
Not so fast! When I looked up the tours online the day before, I read that we needed to pre-register for the tour. I searched the website for an online form to book our trip, but couldn’t find one. No big deal, I think, we’ll just go to the first brewery and buy our tickets there. No problem.
Yes, big problem. We arrive to find that we DID have to pre-register after all, as the brewery didn’t have anything to do with the tours, so we were pretty much SOL. We hadn’t really planned on doing anything else in Milwaukee, so we tried thinking of something else to do. We eventually headed to another brewery, the Milwaukee Ale House; we ate lunch and drank a few beers and talked, and we ended up having a good time after all.
Partaking in an adult beverage at the Milwaukee Ale House.
We were a little peeved that the tour thing didn’t work out, but eh. We couldn’t wait to get out of Milwaukee; it felt oddly empty and abandoned, and there wasn’t really much going on besides a Harley Davidson convention (and neither of us are big into motorcycles!). So, we took off to spend some time in Chicago!
On our drive up to Milwaukee, we noticed a TON of traffic backup going the other way, especially when we crossed into Wisconsin. We dreaded coming back, but thankfully, all the traffic cleared up when we headed south. Made us happy.
I love Chicago. I hate parking in Chicago. I always end up paying a lot more than I want to, only because I don’t feel like parking on the street in the city and dealing with parking meters. One of these days I need to take the train into the city so I don’t have to deal with my car!
We didn’t really have much we wanted to see this trip, so we just sort of wandered around for a bit. We walked until we found this little park and fountain near the canal, so we took a few pictures by the fountain and walked along the canal to get a good glimpse of the Michigan St Bridge. So pretty.
The Michigan St Bridge. I hadn’t ever seen it from this angle before!
Of course, being in Chicago, we wanted to hit a pizza place! We decided on Pizzaria Uno; we waited an hour and a half for our delicious deep dish pizza! While we waited we walked down to a 7-11 to get Slurpees; my cherry Slurpee really hit the spot. As did the pizza, when our names were finally called and we were seated. I still like thin crust, New York style pizza more than Chicago style, but I’ll never turn down a pizza!
Linda eating her awesome pizza.
We arrived back in South Bend around midnight and I promptly crashed. I’m not used to all that walking and all that time in a car, so I was incredibly wiped out. I slept well that night.
On Monday, we woke up at around 9 and I drove Linda to the airport. Thankfully she made all her flights on time and I made it back to South Bend at noon. I took a shower, ate lunch, and went to a friend’s Labor Day barbeque. All in all, a good weekend.
Also, I’m playing with the built in gallery generator in WordPress, so I’ve uploaded all the pics Linda took of our trip; check out the Linda’s Visit gallery! I’ll probably update this with descriptions and such sometime, but right now, I’m lazy.