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When in Wisconsin

Go to House on the Rock

overcast 83 °F

We're on the road again after a short stay by Shari's family, who very graciously opened up their home in Postville, Ia, to us this past shabbat. Many meals were eaten, in the proper order, according to tradition. In an interesting twist, Postville has a sizable Jewish community thanks to the kosher slaughter house there. So most conversations were in Hebrew or Yiddish. Everyone, whether Jewish or not, was very nice. People waved and called out greetings as we walked down the street Saturday afternoon. We also walked through the town cemetery, where there are graves dating back to the 1850's, and memorials for men who died in the civil war.

On our way to Postville, we took a scenic Amish detour. The road we drove down was meant for horse drawn buggies, not compact cars, and seemed to lead into greenness until we reached a twist that revealed a farm house, barn, and small shop. Chickens fed in the yard, and a dog bounded from the house to shop. The shop was full of hand made baskets and oven mits and aprons. We bought a few baskets and hit the road.

Heading out of Postville was similar to heading into Postville: Lots of corn and soy fields covering rolling green hills, fading to blue with distance. Our destination for the day is House on the Rock, a crazy feat of architecture and the human tendency to build collections of random things. Thanks to Neil Gaiman and American Gods for the introduction. First off, there are two tour options: the 2 plus hour tour, or the 3 plus hour tour. We opt for the 2 hour tour, because we have friend to see in Madison, and 2 hours is still a hell of a ton of time to see literal tons of stuff. The actual house is built on top of a rock spire, 75 feet above the ground. The house is full of narrow stairs, books, Tiffany style glass lamps, fire places, stained glass, and Asian sculptures. It is cozy and bizarre and the view from the roof is amazing.

The second building of the House on the Rock in and old mill near the bottom of the bluff. The mill is filled with collections of music boxes and automatons the play songs and enact scenes at the drop of a token. There are firearms and dolls and blown glass. I feel overwhelmed from the myriad of sights and sounds flashing and chiming and whistling. And there is so much more. There's the Street of Yesterday and the Origins of the Sea. The whole place is a bizarre amalgam of museum/ meticulously kept hoard.

The final part of our tour is the Carousel. One the largest in the world it host 269 creatures, but not a single horse. it is beautiful and gaudy and breathtaking. The accompanying music plays from a giant mechanized orchestra as the Carousel goes 'round and 'round.

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After the House on the Rock we head to Madison and meet up with our friend, Sander, who recently moved to Madison. We reminisce and wander around the quite downtown,, trying to get a good view of the lake

Tomorrow, we hope to check out Epic, where Sander Works.

Posted by MiriG 21:55 Tagged lakes road_trip driving friends family iowa madison wisconsin wi lower_48 mirig 48 post_college_stress_disorder neil_gaiman house_on_the_rock Comments (0)

Mall of 'Murica

Captain's Log Stardate 68984.5

sunny 81 °F
View Road Trip!!!!!!!! on shari36's travel map.

We leave the small, lovely town in North Dakota and head to Minneapolis, Minnesota, namely Mall of America. It's large, the largest mall in America as a matter of fact. (The largest mall in the world is Dubai mall, just thought I'd throw in some trivia.) First stop in the mall: Star Trek exhibit. It's super cool, it's got costumes and props from the actual sets, and lots of phasers and an enterprise model that was actually used in shooting most of the original series. I squeal like a five-year-old when I see the bridge, the picture below is me looking really pleased in the captains chair.

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After Star Trek we check out the Lego store and exhibit. Lego sculptures are awesome and possibly the coolest form of art. The picture below is of me posing with the Lego stormtrooper, I'm really geeking it out today.

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We check out some other shops and buy some stuff we don't need with money we don't have but we're not really trying to impress anyone, at least not people we don't like, Miriam adds.

We check into the hotel and chill out in the Jacuzzi downstairs. The following sentence has been edited out.

Tomorrow we're driving to Postville, Iowa where we're spending the weekend with my brother and his lovely family.

Here are more cool Lego art.

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Posted by shari36 20:40 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip iowa star_trek lego minnesota minneapolis mall_of_america lower_48 pcsd post_college_stress_disorder Comments (0)

Today's Entry is Corny

So Much Corn Sioux-t got rejected.

semi-overcast 74 °F

Not much happened to today. Usually, there's an interesting detour, or something odd that comes up. Today, the detour involved getting off the highway for a bit, driving up through green fields on a country road, and arriving at a casino, where we promptly turned around and found our way back to the highway. We drive past corn fields, and bean fields, field fields. We drive past a sign for Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in De Smet, South Dakota. There's a lot of history, and a lot of hills. Transitioning between Nebraska to Iowa to South Dakota to North Dakota and then Minnesota is seem-less. The signs are small and blend in with the green highway signs.

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We drove through the town we're staying in in under ten minutes. A railroad runs through the city of Wahpeton, parallel to the Main St. There's something small about the town, but not sad. Wahpeton feels proud of its quiet Midwesterness. But it's an indistinct place. We barely notice when we cross over a small river into Minnesota. We turn around and head back west after a series of silver silos that smell like Parmesan cheese.

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From our hotel window, you can see the trains running past. I got up to watch the first few, but they're loud and feel a bit like a minor earthquake. For the evening, we are lazy, aside from the train watching shenanigans. I listen to a lecture by Neil Gaiman and Shari goes outside to enjoy the pleasant weather.

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Posted by MiriG 20:24 Tagged road_trip nature driving usa road trip iowa south_dakota minnesota nebraska north_dakota cross_country lower_48 mirig 48 pcsd post_college_stress_disorder Comments (0)

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