Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chicago & cheese

7/28/2014 6:17 pm, Peninsula State Park, Wisconsin

I’m out on a peninsula that is its own county! Just like home. Except this is a peninsula out into a freshwater lake, so…not like home. The weather has cooled down a bit in this region, which is awesome. I can wear pants, I’m not sweating through everything, and just all around it is better. I am not a hot weather gal. And now I’ve hit 38 states. Ohio was 35, Indiana 36, Illinois 37 and Wisconsin 38! I have two more nights of camping, then come Thursday I set up my tent in Grand Rapids for a few days and enjoy the wedding shindig! Then I shall properly book it west. No more lollygagging! I brake for parks! Also there is only Tibby in Wyoming and BT in Montana and the crew in Portland to hang with. And just generally…being done with it all! I’m ready to retrospect.

I got up and showered in Indiana, had a little breakfast, and hit the road. Only an hour to get into Chicago. I parked my car in a garage that seemed pretty secure (it was in a basement garage and off the sidewalks, so I doubt many hooligans would be scooping in for stealing, and my car was fine at the end of the day) and heading to Portillo’s on Jeff’s recommendation. There was a line out the door, and the line extended far into the establishment, but the line moved fast. There were many people on the grills, and they got the lunch rush system down! I ordered the Italian beef and it was hot and steaming and filling and very good.

Chicago has so many big huge looming building with dynamic architecture. I was kinda amazed by just how big they all were. The sky was blue with moving, fluffy clouds which was just great to see peeking in the skyline gaps. I liked the look of it all more than New York. Pictures will show it better than I can explain. It was just a cool city, and while crowded there was enough space for people to walk about. Though damn the drivers and pedestrians were mental! Everyone was more gungho than they ought to be.

It was easy to walk from Portillo’s to Millenium Park, where I saw the Cloud Gate. AKA that shiny bean thing. The park had lots of interesting sculptures. Good for a city to have an open park with fountains for kids to play in. All city all the time isn’t good. Gotta have some green.

There was a line out the door for the museum and they needed more people selling tickets, but I got through in a generally decent amount of time. I used my student ID again. And it worked again. The museum had the usual: Renoir, Sargent, Monet, Manet, Degas, Picasso. More notably it had Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, which was great to see up close and to look at all the dots and colors and the monkey! Grant Wood’s American Gothic was more textural than I was expecting, and Hopper’s Nighthawks was lovely. The layout of the museum wasn’t all that great, and I found myself backtracking to get to rooms. I like a museum that flows, so I can walk in one path and see the work, and go from era to era, instead of getting thrown out here and there and having to cut across and down and up stairs just to get somewhere else. They do have a huge collection, but still!

There was a Magritte exhibit, though I’m unsure how I feel about Magritte. Surrealism is hard to look at sans contemporary context, I feel. It’s such a different era. Still, now I’ve seen Treachery of Images, The Human Condition, and Not To Be Reproduced. I’m sure there is a 1001 Art Pieces to See Before You Die book, I should get that and get to checking things off. Just for bragging rights.

The Edward Steichen exhibit was neat, but the Taller De Grafica TGP print exhibit was where it’s at. The Leopoldo Mendez prints were so detailed and bold. I also saw some John Sloan, William Glackens, Ferdinand Hodler, Daumier, several Goyas that I nearly had my nose against the glass with, Boucher, Elbridge Ayer Burbank, Thomas Sully, Max Beckmann, and many others! The highlight for me were the Goya prints. And Lautrec’s At The Moulin Rouge. You know, the one with the blue faced lady. That one took me aback. I did not expect to see it, and there it was, and there I was! I love art so much. Seeing that was just such a treat.

And I saw my old buds Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer in the American Art Before 1900 wing, which is fast becoming one of my “go to” wings. I like older, representational paintings. Portraiture.

Oh! And the Mary Cassat painting with the woman bathing her daughter, that was in the museum too! So great to spend time with art.

I left the museum at 5, which was when it closed, and got a deep dish personal pizza at Lou Martino’s Lou Mazello’s Lou… something. Andy recommended it. It was tasty, sure, but I like thinner pizza. I had left overs, which I have consumed today. I was given a table for four, thankfully I arrived when there was no wait because there was, once again the theme of Chicago, a line of people going outside when I left. I returned to my car, and off I went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I could spend so much more time in Chicago. Well a few more days at least, for museums and food and architecture. It’s going on the “must visit for a long weekend” list.

My phone died when I was leaving the city, but I got enough of a charge back to find out which interstate out of the city wasn’t a toll.

Andy was a master’s student at PNCA during my first two years there. Me hanging out with him is somewhere in the archives. His girlfriend Lisa is also an artist, and they had a nice little bed for me to sleep on. They taught me how to play stump, and we played a few rounds (it’s a drinking game involving a hammer, nails, and a stump, and it’s less dangerous than it sounds). We all commiserated over art and collections and snooty people making art inaccessible.

They worked early, and the house doesn’t lock behind someone who lacks keys, so I left early too. But leaving early got me up to Door County (which Stephen and Erin recommended) early, and into my site before 1pm! So I’ve had all day to relax, rest, read, and organize. It was a straight shot up north, with little traffic. Camping was cheap ($17) but then the out of state vehicle fee ($10!) made it not cheap. Come on Wisconsin, give an out of towner a break! You are worse than New York, which only charged $5 for being out of town. Thus far Missouri is still winner for cheap camping and being welcoming to people from out of state. Said it before and I’ll say it again: I’d totally camp in Missouri again.

So today I set up tent, then went to the beach and sat and read and soaked up sun until the sun went behind clouds. It’s yet to come back from behind the clouds. I used the shower facilities. I organized my paper souvenirs into: tourism brochures, museum guides, maps, camping guides, and park pamplets. I should collect more state maps, that would have been a good thing to nab for each state I entered. I’ll make an initiative to do that at future rest stops. State maps are good to have on hand.

So now it is 7ishpm but my body thinks it is 8. I’ll eat something. Read more. Check out is 3pm, which is nice. Dunno where I’m off to tomorrow. Somewhere more north and east.

7/29/2014 3:38pm McDonalds in Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Taking a driving break. I’ve been on the road for a few hours now, though it has been scenic and lovely with many turns. The interstate stretches with no turns for 120 miles are the real drags. Switching it up every 30 miles is much better. It’s raining off and on, so I’m not going to set up camp. I had a dry night out on Door County. Not a drop of rain, though it never did get warmer than hoody weather. In the morning I heard a kid proclaim loudly “WASHINGTON!”. I assume he saw my license plate.

I packed up a bit early (well 10ish) and hit the road. I swung through Sturgeon Bay, dropped off some mail, and went to Renart’s for cheese. I sampled the curds and wensleydale and gouda, all was tasty, and bought some fancy string cheese for $2.99. It was several sticks, not one thing of string cheese. And it was so good. Very happy with my Wisconsin cheese.

I’m heading northwest for a bit, then I’m going to head east into Michigan. Dunno where I’ll stop. Like I said, weather is no good for camping. Two nights till I camp in Grand Rapids!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am glad you were able to attend the wedding, but I am looking forward to your being homeward bound, too!Great blog, great art discussion. xoxomum