Sunday, November 25, 2007

30 Hours in Cheeseland

We made a very quick trip over the weekend to Wisconsin; left Friday morning, arrived on the west side of Madison mid afternoon, saw the relatives, then had a quick lunch and returned home the next afternoon. It was great to see the family but it was unfortunate that we didn't have more time, because we have some great friends in Madison that we didn't have time to see.

A few quick thoughts:

  • Traveling mostly on 94 and U.S. 12, we saw something like 50 dead deer on the side of the road. I know that it's hunting season and that the deer are somewhat more active right now because the bucks are in rut and looking for some action, but it's also clear that Wisconsin has a deer population problem. I'm not a hunter but I'm definitely rooting for the hunters on this one. It doesn't matter how noble Bambi is, he doesn't look good on anyone's fender. And when dead deer sightings outnumber Wisconsin State Patrol sightings by a factor of about ten, you know there's a problem.
  • Maybe I just noticed it more this time around, but Madison appears to be obsessed with all things Badger. My great friend Mark Miller, Wisconsin basketball guru and rabid MU fan, lives in Madison. I have even more sympathy for him now. I watched a half-hour local newscast and I'd say that half the time was spent on things happening at the university. I heard the Badger fight song used as background music on at least a half-dozen radio ads in the short time I was there. I am a big Badger fan, but this is overkill.
  • There are some culinary delicacies that are still best found in Wisconsin. My sister's in-laws, who hosted, are lovely people and they put on a nice spread that included the most potent horseradish I've had in a long time. I think this stuff was used as a defoliant in Vietnam. Needless to say, I loved it. And my sinuses haven't been this clear in years.
  • One thing that's significantly more expensive in Wisconsin is gasoline. Those who want to raise the gas tax here ought to spend some time across the border. I paid $2.89/gallon here and $3.11/gallon in Madison and I saw prices as high as $3.19 in the Mauston/New Lisbon area. Same gas, but more for Jim Doyle. From what I've seen of Doyle, I don't suspect he's worth the premium involved.


Anonymous said...

Gosh, I was in in Columbus Ohio, and it was distinctly Buckeye, Ann Arbor was so tilted towards Michigan, and Austin is so obsessed with burnt orange. That sky sure is blue!!! Talk about being a dribblng Mills apologist.

Mark said...

Hey anonymous,

I've not spent much time in Ann Arbor or Columbus, but I've been to Austin. They are obsessed with a lot more than the 'Horns down there.

And I'm always proud to stick up for Mills, as good a friend and as fine a human being as I know.

But thanks for the comment anyway!

Anonymous said...

I made that trip on I-94 between Madison and Minneapolis about 50 times in the 1980's/90's. I probably nodded off while driving 35 of those times. I had/have a pretty good guardian angel. You've confirmed what I've thought all along when you said the most interesting thing you saw were dead deer carcasses on the roadside. Plus, there is really no good place to eat along that route.

After graduating from UW-Madison, I lived there for 8 years. It was an okay town to live in as a 23-30year old, but I regret not having tried Chicago, if only for a few years. Chicago has so much more to offer. After a brief visit to Madison this past summer, it seemed dirty, tired, and predictable, besides being too liberal. It's a good place to go to school, but I don't miss living there year round with a family.

I wish Mills and his family luck there.

stinger said...

It's a matter of perspective. Mr. D lives in the Twin Cities, where no one has cared about the University of Minnesota since about 1961. So, there is very little maroon and gold to be found up here. Going to Madison is like culture shock seeing all that cardinal and white. It is amazing to see people actually care about their school/team.

Madison is very cool when you are young (I know I loved it when I lived there at age 19). It would be very hard to live there if you don't like Bucky Badger though.

Anonymous said...

In truth the local newspapers are rather pathetic in their coverage of sports, particularly Marquette. Marquette games get the same treatment as UW Whitewater games. I always found that to be strange!

Anonymous said...

Stinger can't be too happy with the results of the Big Ten / ACC challenge. Does Stinger have a bone to pick with the ACC schools for basketball like he has with the SEC schools in football?

For all you Bo Ryan apologists, at least Marquette made a game of it against Duke. When playing Duke if a guy from Appleton West is your top offensive threat, it's pretty much game over.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately for the Bo Ryan apologists Marquette & Wisconsin square off against each other. We'll see what happens. Wisconsin sure ran in to a buzz saw at Duke. Duke is definitely the better team, but I don't think Duke is as good as they played (home court advantage and 52% shooting from 3 land in the first half, and it's likely that Wisconsin will play better than that as well). As for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, I can't help but wonder why the Big Ten continually allows themselves to get taken to the woodshed. I guess that it does given them tough games at an early point in the season and allows them to see how they measure up against the best. Alas the answer this year would appear to be not all that well.