9/13-9/24/2021 Milwaukee to Springfield

It turned out all of our major headline tickets all fell in the final week of Summerfest so we were there Wednesday-Saturday. We usually bounce around and see a bit of everything during the festival shows, but we weren’t able to as much due to the commitment of the full concerts we had additionally purchased. We did catch a few – most memorably the Spin Doctors and Candlebox.

The three shows we bought extra tickets for couldn’t have been more different. We saw Dave Mathews, Miley Cyrus (Wiz Khalifa opened) and Guns N Roses (Wolfgang Van Halen opened). Miley Cyrus was on a whim of curiosity, neither Ed or I have followed her or would have called ourselves fans. Sort of the point of all this is to get out of our comfort zones and try new things. Also, I was captivated during the pandemic by a few of the covers she was doing and that probably tipped the scales. We discovered this woman is freaking ferocious beyond anything we would have expected! I would say this was maybe the highest energy show we have ever attended and it was coming from both the stage and the audience. We were probably of the oldest in the audience and we couldn’t sing along like others, but we both really enjoyed it.

Ed mostly listens to classic rock but he voted Cyrus had the best show we attended at Summerfest. I personally have to give that award to Guns N Roses. I have been a fan since I was young and used to stand in front of the mirror belting out the songs and imitating his side to side dance moves. They played for over 2.5 hours, covering everything from their first album to their most recent music. (I understand they are getting ready to drop a new album, the first since 2007) The years have certainly tamed them, they could not have been more professional. Axl would humbly say thank you and bow from time to time but spoke very little. GNR is an institution and was a big bucket list item for me. Watching them play all my favorite songs in a marathon set was surreal and I will never forget it.

Summerfest was a blast, and we will definitely go back given the chance. I think we both agree we would commit to less days, as it got to be a lot but after not being able to go to anything like that for so long it seemed gorging was in order!

We are now essentially on our way to Texas to set up a domicile. It will take us about a month to meander to Livingston. Up until we get to Texas we have reservations, and a timeline. We have made the decision to not plan so closely after that and see what we like better. There are merits of each, but we want to experiment to figure out our preferred travel style.

We then moved on to Springfield, IL. We stayed right along Route 66 so we took in a few of the landmarks. There was the Maid-Rite Sandwich shop that boasts itself as America’s first drive through window, and Cozy Dogs which was where the corndog was invented. The kitschy memorabilia in that place had me smiling. If you are interested in seeing more, they were featured on “Man vs. Food”. We didn’t leave without trying their corndogs. While I would never ordinarily seek out a corndog , I have to say it was a very good one!

One afternoon we went to see the Lincoln home, it was very interesting to imagine where we were in our country and to see how they lived. I have always admired the way he fought endlessly to end slavery and promote equality far before he ever reached the Oval Office. He was a man of great convictions, and the tragedies he endured for those beliefs shows just how dedicated. They had a few educational films playing in the theaters of the visitor center that were very well done. If you ever visit, I would recommend making time to take them in because it helps spark your imagination and gain context before your 30 minute tour led by the NPS.

The home was purchased for $1500, and was originally a one story home. They added to the back of the house and eventually a second story. Some of the original furniture was in it such as his very humble writing desk. Abe had it since he was a young man and it was not Mary’s favorite piece of furniture. Once he spilled ink on it and she tried to dispose of it, but he wasn’t having it. Ed and I kind of looked at each other and smiled at that particular relatable detail as we have experienced several of those little battles ourselves. It was also odd to see they had wall to wall carpet, I was expecting wooden floors. Carpet at that time was hard to have cleaned. They installed it in strips, and it had to be uninstalled and taken away to be cleaned.

Possibly the saddest original piece was the stove because it made me think about Mary. They had installed that stove as a young married couple thinking they would live out their days in that home. Just a year younger than I am now, she witnessed his assassination. I read that she was ostracized after his death, her demonstrations of grief made her an “improper woman”. She couldn’t bare to return to the house after losing her husband. She moved in with her sister a few blocks away where she remained until she died at 63 shortly after losing another son.

We also visited his tomb. When he died, they initially put him in a temporary burial spot for five years until the tomb could be completed. There is some interesting history to look up- Lincoln has been exhumed, had his remains identified and interred a total of 12 times. Mary and three of their four sons were also brought to rest there. The other son, Robert is buried in the Arlington National Cemetery as he held a military rank of Captain. It is a fittingly beautiful monument, in fact I was surprised to find that I was touched to the point of tears as I stepped into the room.

The Dana Thomas house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was on our agenda, but we had gone kind of hastily without a plan. Due to COVID they are limiting their tours and we couldn’t make the timing work. I greatly enjoyed seeing Falling Waters once on a solo trip and was a little bummed not to add this one to my list. However, the next camp was first come/first serve and we needed to get a jump on the weekend rush. We arrived today at a campground at Carlyle Lake, about an hour outside of St. Louis.

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