First thing’s first, Chicago O’Hare airport just truly is the worst. After our experience the other day obviously we had no desire to ever return, but the car hire place was there so off we went on the rush hour trains with our heavy bags and our too-warm coats. Suffice to say it took “a while” to find the shuttle bus we needed, due to more inexplicable fails on the part of O’Hare. I’d give you more detail and maybe draw a diagram, but sod it, we’ve written enough about how much that place sucks.
The first half hour or so of being at large in a rental car in a backwards-driving country is always very alarming to me. On our Iceland trip last year the nerves were compounded by the narrow roads and heavy snow, but even here I spent the first part of the journey staring at the road ahead, reporting on the changes in speed limit in what I admit could be misconstrued as a nagging tone of voice, and generally gripping the seat belt with whitened knuckles.
(Interruption to report that Dave just found reports on the TV of multiple tornadoes in Nebraska today, as if we weren’t dreading the drive through Nebraska enough. Anyway.)
Luckily the drive from Chicago to Green Bay is basically just up one easy, uneventful road, so we soon settled down and found a strangely eclectic radio station to kick off the road trip proper. There’s not a whole lot to write about the drive here, which might make it sound dull, but it was an enjoyable four hours of impenetrable bantering and in-jokes and bodes well for how we’ll cope with similar length drives throughout the trip. As we started to approach Green Bay one of the picturesque farm houses had a huge hand-painted sign in the garden, facing the road, “HONK 4 PACKERS”. We didn’t honk because after three days in Chicago we’ve both developed nervous twitches in response to the sound of car horns, but seeing the sign got me all overexcited and so it deserved a mention.
I find myself struggling to find things to mention about Green Bay that won’t make it sound boring. It’s not boring at all, it’s . . . lovely. Our hotel room is huge. The surrounding streets are quiet and orderly with the occasional child bouncing a ball or a group of ladies sitting out on a front porch. We walked into the town centre via a riverside path full of Ingress portal opportunities, and the whole place was weirdly quiet. We ran into a man and woman doing some energetic gardening outside a business building of some kind, who as we walked by announced “We’re glad you’re here!” and “We’ve been waiting for your muscles all day!”. These people talked to us on the street and they weren’t trying to sell anything, they were just being friendly and interacting with random passers by. That’s the sort of place this seems to be.
Tonight, we’ve just got back from Hagemeister Park which is an excellent bar/restaurant/riverside deck with a Packers theme. The waitress was attentive but not annoying like the one we encountered in Chicago. The food was lovely. Dave had two Wisconsin beers that he appeared to enjoy (though frankly that second one was foul) and I had a root beer that tasted even more like medicine than root beer usually does. Nice.
The walk back just further outlined how deserted this place seems. Half the houses were completely dark, and we suspect that Green Bay has some sort of seedy underbelly and most of the population are off somewhere taking advantage of it.
Anyway, that’s it. Maybe not the most thrilling blog entry so far, but definitely my favourite day of the trip. Of course, we are only on day 4 so that’s not saying a massive amount. Tomorrow, Lambeau!