Visiting old friends and family is priceless. Having moved around for the past 5 years, I rarely have considerable time at home to relax with friends and family. Since I finally have the time (being unemployed isn’t too time-consuming), I am taking advantage of this. The latest trip was up north of the Illinois border to Wisconsin to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Monroe and then two friends in the Milwaukee area.
Road Trip to Wisconsin
The trip really proves why traveling is awesome. Not only did I get to catch up with my brother, Chad, and his wife, Kendra, but I had the chance to stay with friends from my last two adventures, Arden, who I met through Bike & Build, and Brian, who I met on a tour of Antarctica. Crazy, I know.
I cycled across the US with Arden and happened to meet Brian in the coldest and most barren continent in the world, and both are from within a few hours of where I grew up. Sharing these types of experiences creates a special connection that will never be lost.Remembering tough days on Bike & Build with Arden and watching Brian’s picture video of the Antarctica trip brings back so many thoughts and emotions from those times. Only a small amount of people know what it’s like to cycle 80 miles through Death Valley on a 120 degree day. Similarly, I personally don’t know many people who know the Christmas morning feeling of waking up on a ship in Antarctica as we look out the windows to see towering, snow-white mountains in the clear-blue sky. Both of those are surreal moments that can only fully be remembered and relived when around those who were there. That’s why visiting family and old friends is very unique and special.
Weekend in Milwaukee
The weekend in Milwaukee was eventful, to say the least. On Friday, Brian and I went on the Lakefront Brewery tour and tried several delicious beers. The IPA was my favorite, as I love a good amount of hops in my beer. Afterwards, Arden joined us for the fish fry at the brewery (fried cod and potato pancakes) with live polka music. Later on, we found a bowling alley for some friendly competition. Arden (aka “I’m seriously not good at bowling) dominated the first game, while Brian took the second game fairly easily. I am going to assume it’s the Wisconsin lanes putting me at a disadvantage.
The next day, Brian headed to Chicago in the afternoon, so we grabbed lunch at Milwaukee’s best-known cafe called Alterra Coffee. In the afternoon, Arden showed me around various Milwaukee areas, including the shopping on Brady Street and the beautiful walkways along the lake. The rest of the evening was spent hanging out with Arden’s family. Her adventurousness definitely runs in the family, as her parents have traveled extensively and her older brother even cycled from South Africa to Kenya!
On Sunday, we explored Milwaukee on bicycles in the 40 degree cold. A great thing about Wisconsin is the bike paths, especially in cities. We were able to take the path from her house in Whitefish Bay along the lake and all the way downtown, about 10 miles each way. To an avid cyclist, this ups the quality of life to another level!
Before this trip, I had had a fairly negative view of Milwaukee. However, the problem is that I had been there only a handful of times for baseball games and the Summerfest music festival. I had never explored anything else and only seen the industrial side of the city from a distance. Without even saying, my view of the city has completely changed. Between the beautiful views of the lake, the up-and-coming downtown, the bicycle lanes, and the outdoorsy nature of the people, it’s a great place to be. Now if we can only get through this winter…
Thank you to Chad, Kendra, Brian, and Arden for hosting me!