Welcome To My Blog

Weekends are for wandering Wisconsin. That's what Rick, my guy, and I do. Occasionally we wander during the week, too. Sometimes we just drop in on other people's lives.

This blog is my way of sharing where we've been, neat places and things to do that we've found.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Doors Open Milwaukee

This past weekend was a time to appreciate our built environment. On Saturday morning I lead an architectural tour of buildings on State Street here in Madison.  On Sunday Rick and I checked out some of the buildings that were part of Doors Open Milwaukee. Hats off to Historic Milwaukee, Inc. for this fabulous event that opened doors to 125 buildings in Milwaukee to reveal the city's history, economy, and culture. What a great way to see up close some of the treasures in our midst. 

Rick grew up in Milwaukee and lives only about 30 minutes away now, but he had never been inside City Hall, the most iconic structure in Milwaukee. 
When City Hall was built in 1895, it was the third tallest
building in the United States. This structure was almost
lost in the 1970s. Thanks to preservationists, this
stunning building still stands today.
Beautiful stained glass in the Council
Another splendid stained glass

The Common Council President presides over meetings
every three weeks from here.

Visitors can watch from this gallery - and appreciate the beauty
of the chamber -  but the seats aren't very comfortable!

Another building we visited was the Milwaukee Fire House Engine #1. The fire fighters gave out hats to the kids who dropped by. We followed our noses to the back of the station where one fire fighter was preparing lunch and dinner. He said the kitchen hasn't changed since the 1950s. 

The Railway Exchange Building, Milwaukee's first skyscraper of 12 stories, was built in 1900. It's still an office building.

Mosaic floor tile on the first floor. Each piece was laid by
hand - no tile grid for the artisans of the past.
Every stairway has these ornate wrought iron banisters.

The last building we saw was City Lights in the Menomonee Valley. Zimmerman Architectural Studios now occupies the 1903 brick building that once housed huge furnaces to superheat coal into gas, fuel for Milwaukee's gas street lights at the turn of the last century.
With the renovation, all of Zimmerman's employees can now be under one roof.
The steel structure is original to the building; the wood was replaced. Insulation
(8-12 inches) between the ceiling and the metal roof keeps the building warm and cool.
Zimmerman employees have a great kitchen on the second floor.
It seems logical that an architectural firm would have 10,000 Legos on its site.
Kids who visited during Doors Open Milwaukee had the chance to
design interesting buildings.
Thanks to more than 400 Historic Milwaukee volunteers who helped over the weekend.

"It's not good because it's old; it's old because it's good!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Midwest Vintage Trailer Rally II

People who own vintage camping trailers are some of the friendliest, funniest, and most creative people we've met. This past weekend we participated for the second year in the Midwest Vintage Trailer Rally in Montello at the Buffalo Lake Camping Resort. (Open the rally link and you'll see that Rick's Chevy panel truck and the Trailblazer from the 2011 Rally were featured!) 

T-shirt from this year's rally.
Our hostess, Kimberly Steiner, once again did an outstanding job of putting together a fun weekend. Progressive cocktail party, potluck dinner, jello contest, conversations around campfires, "show 'n' shine" open house - lots of great activities for the last weekend of this summer. 

This year we took the '65 Frolic which we are calling "Frolie." Rick bought the camper on July 16. In a matter of a few weeks he repainted the trailer, got the stove, furnace, sink, and toilet working, shined all the aluminum trim, and replaced all the exterior screws with stainless steel ones so no more rust.  I sewed cushion covers and curtains. 
Of course, Rick needed a different truck to pull the new trailer - an '89 Ford. It may be longer than the trailer!
We displayed Rick's vintage Scotch collection at our site.
"Ginger," new to this year's rally, belongs to Julia and Norm from DeKalb,  IL.
A pair that is sure to turn heads as its owner drives the two down the road.
Shawn and Kelly from Cambridge offered popcorn and slushies to visitors during the weekend.
One of the "canned hams" at the rally.
And another.
There seemed to be more "silver bullets" at this year's rally compared to last year.
An Airstream beauty.
A new feature of the rally this year was a mailbox contest. Every morning Kimberly delivered trailer mail and we were encouraged to get creative. Here are the winners - first, second, and third place.
Curt and Tina from Ladysmith, WI get honorable mention in my book for their mailbox rendition.
Gary and Mary from Ellsworth, WI and Mary's cousin, Christie, immerse themselves in the vintage weekend by dressing in 70s clothing the entire time.
Pink flamingos - of all sizes - abound at vintage trailer rallies.
Now here is something that's really vintage! About 200 Amish families live in the area. We visited a rug maker, bakery, and general store on Friday when we had some free time.
Two worlds meet at the general store.
Someone who posts on a Facebook page that Rick follows commented that rallies and rally people are so much more fun than camping with the general public. I couldn't agree more.