My friend Ramon and I left for each of our first trips to Minneapolis at 6:30 a.m. It was a perfect day to begin traveling. Not a cloud in the sky as we left Evergreen Park.
We stopped in Rockford just before 9 a.m. for breakfast because I had never been to the town that is one of the largest in Illinois. After departing Rockford, we headed across the Wisconsin border on I-39/I-90. Our next stop would be Madison, the Wisconsin state capitol. We parked right across the street from the Kohl Center at about 10:15 a.m.
I really enjoyed Madison. I now know why they call it one of America's best college towns. Again the weather was perfect. We walked up to the Kohl Center, that has a huge grassy knoll in front that seemed to be the spot to go for Badger suntanners. Everyone was friendly in the city, offering help getting around without being asked and waving even though I was a complete stranger.
From the Kohl Center, we walked over to Camp Randall, which provided the best surprise of Day 1. When we were in the Wisconsin football gift shop, the worker there allowed us to go out on the patio, which was on the field level of Camp Randall Stadium. That was a great experience. The quarterbacks were working out as we were there on the patio. Despite being the the same conference, I would have to say Camp Randall and the Kohl Center and in a different league that the Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium. The Badgers' home fields look more like pro stadiums.
I enjoyed the excrutiating, hot walk from Camp Randall to Lake Mendota, a beautiful clean lake that had kiyakers, boaters and fishermen. It is right next to a wooded area, which I assume would be a great getaway for Wisconsin students. The campus itself was great with lots of buildings and halls. Being the summer it wasn't too crowded.
We also drove by the State Capitol building for a picture.
After leaving Madison, the next stop was a Rest Area near Millston, Wisc. There my friend and I went on a nature walk that led up to s pot where you can have a beautiful view of the hills and trees around the area. The terrain seemed to get better the furthur north we went in Wisconsin.
After some confusion finding the state capitol in St. Paul, Minn., we just went to our hotel in Minneapolis and took the Shuttle Bus to Target Field for the White Sox-Twins game. The Twins have good fans and weren't rude even though we were wearing our Sox jerseys.
The ballpark itself was great, but not as good as what I expected. It is the newest stadium in sports, so I thought it would be the best. It's no Lucas Oil Stadium, but it was convenient. Lots of counters, lots of leg room and good bathrooms. I would say it's not the best in baseball, but one of the best.
There were so many people at the game I couldn't believe it. It seemed like every seat was filled, but the hallways and standing room only areas were filled too. Unfortunately every time I go to a Sox game lately, they lose. And Firday was no exception, falling 7-4 to their division rivals despite having the lead run come to the plate in the ninth. It was disappointing to see their nine game win streak come to a close when I was there.
I would say maybe 5 percent of the fans were White Sox supporters, less than I had thought.
After the game, I ate at 8th Street Grill, which was awful. The service - bad and rude. They didn;t like the customers, they saw them as an inconvenience. And the fact that one poatron complimented the waitress was appauling.
Now its's 8:39 a.m. Saturday and I look forward to seeing this big city more in depth.