Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Wizard of Waukesha, Part One.

The Queen, Princess, and I were in Waukesha, Wisconsin, for the social event of the season--the wedding of my niece.  And no, I couldn't talk her out of it.

The trip itself was an event unparelleled in the annals of Berry household travels.  We left the Center of the Universe, Dahlonega, around 11pm Tuesday evening and ended up on our first night/morning in Chattanooga, Tennessee, near Lookout Mountain around 1am at the luxurious Holiday Inn Express.

We did not have reservations when we left Heaven but the Queen knew--knew--she could handle this issue while we were driving.  She spent approximately two of the two and a half hour drive time trying to find a room.  Apparently every family east of the Mississippi on Spring Break spends the night on the way to or from Florida in Chattanooga.

I love Cracker Barrel and made an executive decision on the aforementioned Holiday Inn Distress based solely on the fact that you could throw a rock and hit a Cracker Barrel conveniently located next door.

After breakfast the next morning we embarked on the remaining 700 or so mile trip to Waukesha, Wisconsin.  Here's how it went:

9:05am--headed west on I-24 towards Music City, Nashville, Tennessee.  I had to explain to the Queen that while the compass on the car said we were heading north that all Interstate highways were odd-numbered for North/South Hell/Heaven routes and even-numbered for East/West ones.

9:16am--we cross into the ill-named Central Time Zone.

9:18am--we cross back into the similarly ill-named Eastern Time Zone.

As an aside, when you leave Georgia and cross into Alabama (affectionately known as The Moron State) there's a big sign that informs you that you are Entering The Central Time Zone.  Once you're in Alabama you don't leave this time zone.  Perhaps Tide fans returning from a shellacking in Athens need reassurance that they're home, or maybe they're just that forgetful.  I don't know.  All I know is that we drove in and out of time zones so frequently that I lost track, my Smart Phone got confused, and it's not worth noting in this travelogue.

9:27am--the first of many "Where are we" questions from the Princess.  Again, not worth notating over and over and over again.

11:13am EDT/10:13am CDT--ah, the Nashville skyline.  At 83 miles per hour it's not so big.  Also, you can no longer see Opryland from I-65.  Partly because of the trees along the road but mainly because it's not there anymore.  The Grand Ole Opry is, along with Gaylord (what a name) Opryland Resort.  Only in Tennessee can you combine a name like "Gaylord" with a non-existent amusment park and call it a resort.  Keith Urban will be "Weclomed Into The Opry Family" this weekend.  I'm not sure what "weclomed" means...must be a Tennessee thing.

12:42pm--we leave Tennessee, enter Kentucky, and raise the IQ in both states.  They said "thank you".  I said, "you're weclome".

Kentucky, The Bluegrass State, does not have Blue Grass.  However, from one end of the state to the other all I saw was grass.  And they were working on the road, having professionals trained by Georgia's Department of Transportation in proper shovel-leaning etiquette.

2:03pm--we enter Indiana, The Crossroads of America State.  This is NOT on their license plates, but a bar code across the bottom may translate into that saying.  I couldn't get close enough to scan it.

We stopped at a Cracker Barrel (like Santa Claus, they're everywhere) and had lunch.  Amazingly they had the same menu, decorations, and knick-knacks every other CB has.  Amazing.

4:06pm--we hit Indianapolis.  Every bridge is painted blue, apparently in honor of the Colts football team.  I had to explain this to the Queen, along with the fact that the Colts are in Indiana and not Baltimore.  Since 1984.  You're weclome.

5:08pm--we enter the World of Darkness, which includes Gary, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois.  I never knew two places could look so dingy, dirty, and gray.  These two did.  And we had to drive on a toll road which cost approximately $18.00 to travel twenty or so miles.

I did notice that nowhere in or around Chicago were there any signs saying "Chicago--Home of our President".  Go to Plains, Georgia, and there's a sign.  Go to Midland, Texas, and there's a sign.  Go to Chicago, and there's a sign--NEXT TOLL $18.00.  NO CHANGE GIVEN.

We arrived in Waukesha around 8pm that evening.  It is, without a doubt, the coldest place I've ever been.  But more on that next time.