Madison, Wisconsin.

Well, here I am at the start of the first proper ‘travel’ day (flights excluded) and as expected, it’s been a large learning experience already. This is good though because my next trip will be planned that much better and hopefully, will give me the experience to be more dynamically productive on the road.

First lesson learned was that Google maps don’t replace GPS or a decent road atlas. All my directions were printed out with associated images, yet I found myself having to rely on the road atlas I brought with me, lots of intuition and a fair bit of trial and error. The basic series of events when thusly:

  1. Walked around the airport for about twenty minutes, following circular signs to the car pickup point and failing to find any kind of designated customer service stand (that is detailed on the printed Enterprise instructions). It turns out that a small bus picks you up at a designated area at regular intervals but, unless I had asked someone nearby or seen the Enterprise graphics on the bus, I’d no doubt still be stuck there. Despite the confusion, I did get to drive off with the car fifteen minutes early.
  2. Made good time and got to Milwaukee over thirty minutes early, after getting confused at the toll road. The lanes split into I-PASS and Trucks. Of course I fit into neither category but found out just in time, that I’m supposed to follow Trucks and filter off to the near side of the orange cones.
  3. I then Discovered after referencing my atlas, that the exit for Milwaukee is defined something like ‘Lower Milwaukee’ and every exit sign that Google had me look for didn’t exist. Not to beat Google’s ass too much over this, as the city is currently redoing most of the freeway to downtown. This results in having to get off at an obscure exit, get lost for a bit, and see signs that say No access to downtown, even though the signs are placed on the detour routes 😐
  4. Left Milwaukee after finally getting to drive downtown and looking for immediate parking to no avail. At this point, I had decided that as I only really wanted to see the art museum (which apparently is world famous yet not even signposted!) and as I’d lost an hour by now, I would opt to head out in an attempt to gain an extra hour elsewhere.

I was a little sad at missing the art museum but I’m sure I’ll have a chance again. There are more famous museums around, so it’s not like it was the last place on Earth to see art. I’m not too overly impressed with Milwaukee at all; it seems to be a rather bland city although like anywhere, it would probably have more life outside of my car tour. Another thing I noticed is the state of the roads – non-toll roads are fairly decent but the toll roads, man they are all torn up and rough. It certainly makes you wonder where the money goes.

After the false start, I headed straight on to the state capitol of Madison, which is where I’m situated right now. I’m finally tucking into a decent meal of a meatloaf sandwich and a mug of root beer at a Jewish eatery. I’m also currently amused that they have free WiFi in this place, yet everywhere else that would actually be of benefit (airport, motel6) actually wants to charge me for the usage.

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