17 May 2006
Prairie Schooner - Day 1
Outa the chute early and onto the Eisenhower Freeway System. We logged 450 miles on the Family Truckster, which is not too much to ask, but hey, Almighty, how about something to look at out the window on this route? The showers and thunderstorms started near the Dells, then came and went all the way to Bloomington.
Don't tell me there's poverty or hunger in Wisconsin. There were 6 troopers conducting state business between Hudson and Madison alone. We saw exactly zero in MN and IL. There were also at least 15 examples of failed attempts to cross I-94 by Bambi and his pals; good eatin' goin' to waste . . .
In a sentimental throw to time spent with her grandfather, Mrs. Octane said we should have lunch at Ponderosa on the east side of Madison. The best metaphor eludes me now, but suffice it to say that this is a chain that really blew paradigm shift. I know that even in it's prime, Ponderosas were never fine dining, but today, it's really kind of a sad, left behind venture that just has become wrong in many ways; strange, too-friendly staff, miles of thick buffet-style food, odd, misshapen clientele.
My grandfather was a Chrysler man, and it was sad to lose him in 1983, but in a way, I'm glad he wasn't around to see the cheap dreck that Chrysler spewed from it's factories as the Iacocca 80's wore on. Perhaps there's a parallel today, in that the Mrs.' late grandfather would have been very disappointed by today's lunch.
Got into Bloomington on time and found the inn. The storms caught up and put on a pretty good show. Then we found some pals from the good old days who found us some good dinner and an even better place for some pints downtown.
Thanks to the glory of wireless internet access, upon returning the the inn, we were able to get the lowdown on the Champions League Final from Paris, and the elimination of the Sharks at the hands of Dwayne Roloson and the Oil.
Tomorrow - I-74 to Indy.