VISIT TO CHICAGO AND WISCONSIN, PART ONE
Marie, Nancy, Dan and I flew to Chicago on August 29, 2006
to visit Dan's family, sample some Chicago great food
and sights, and drive through Southern Wisconsin. Dan's Chicago family consists of his father, Al, Brother Ron, Ron's wife Linda, and their two daughters, Katie and Mary.
The visit was wonderful and we returned home on September 6th.
We are having dinner with Dan's family in Giordano's, a famous Chicago Pizza restaurant. Chicago style pizza is the best! Here Nancy captures Dan, me and Marie.
From L to R: Linda, Katie and Al.
Here Mary is showing us her birthday gift she received from Dan and Nancy.
Here Katie is proudly holding up her birthday gift from Dan and Nancy.
The pizza was excellent! We also feasted at the White Eagle, an outstanding Polish restaurant, Jamison's Steak House, Italian restaurant, and more, and they all were great.
Now we are on the road heading northwest to Wisconsin. This is some of the beautiful farm land.
This is the beautiful Capitol building in Madison Wisconsin. Robert was here
the next week to run his second Iron Man race.
Madison is a delightful small city, proud of it's strong dairy heritage. As an example, the
area around the capitol has many beautifully decorated figures of cows, such as this one(Glinda the good witch of the North), standing with Nancy, Marie and me.
The inside of the capitol is absolutely gorgeous! It is one of the best in the country.
Just look at this dome!
Here is another one of the cows (a munchkin).
After leaving Madison, we drove to the famous Wisconsin Dells, where we checked into our hotel,
and drove to the main strip, where many many attractions are located. This large Trojan horse
is the icon for one of them.
As I will describe below, the Dells grew around a very beautiful stretch of the Wisconsin River.
As more and more people came to enjoy the natural beauty, other attractions, hotels,
restaurants, etc. were developed here.
As most of you know, World War II involved many amphibious operations. One of the very
successfull devices developed, was affectionately called the "DUCK". It could travel on land
and also in the water, and it carried a nice payload. After the war, these clever devices were
snapped up at the government's surplus sales.
Dan remembers that as a child, his father took him to the Dells, and they rode in a DUCK. So
the first thing we searched for was the DUCK ride. Here is a picture of a surplus DUCK that
has been slightly modified to carry tourists.
Here we are in the front seats, ready to go!
The first part is a thrilling ride over a narrow dirt trail, heading to the river. It was fast and thrilling.
This caught our eye!
Some of the other passengers.
Here we are on the bank of the river. He simply drives into the water, and then shifts the gear
lever to drive a propeller rather than the wheels.
This is part of the beautiful natural gorge that was created when the
All of the flat sedimentary layers formed long before the glaciers. The rushing waters from
melting glaciers then easily carved these relatively soft layers into the dramatic gorge.
It is now the next morning, and we are embarking an a cruise of the upper river. A dam
had been been built near here to generate electricity in the late 1800's - covering a large part
of the beautiful gorge. This would have encountered great opposition in today's strong
environmental era. However, the water is very navigable, and there are a number of
very nice boats that provide nice tours.
We are heading upstream.
Over the years, streams coming from the flat lands above, carve very narrow picturesque
canyons. This is a dock in a narrow cove, where one can explore one of these narrow canyons.
A pathway has been constructed through the narrow canyon called Witches Gulch, leading up to a store and restroom facility.
It is very nice, and there is a road leading from here to the highway so that supplies can
be brought in and waste hauled away.
Going back to the boat.
Next, we visited Stand Rock, 47 feet high. In the late 1800's, a pioneer
photographer, named Henry H. Bennett, came here from New England,
and fell in love with the Dells. He took many photos to publicize the area, but
one of the most famous was one he took of his son jumping across this gap. He
developed an early high-speed shutter, made out of wood and rubber bands, and after many attempts, he got a beautiful shot of his son in mid flight. But no one would believe the photo, and they could not imagine how he might have faked it.
Later this was developed as a tourist attraction, and soon the human jumper was
replaced by a trained dog. More expendable.
And here Nancy has managed to catch the dog in mid flight.
These stunning rock formations are as high as 40 to 50 feet above
the current level of the river!