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I guess our road trip really started after Exotica on Tuesday 8/25 when we went to Milwaukee to see the Brooks Stevens exhibit. No pictures were allowed inside but I got these:
Here's a place in Milwaukee that we stopped at for custard (it's a super creamy soft-serve popular in Wisconsin):
Superdawgs and Superfries for lunch at Superdawg complete with carhop service:
We planned on leaving Chicago right after lunch but my insatiable curiosity got the better of me and I had to check out the rest of the tiki joints in the Chicago suburbs while I had the chance. I felt kind of bad not eating at any of them but we weren't hungry so we just had a quick drink and took some pictures and left. All of them are in the Tiki Road Trip book so I'll spare you the details.
First stop was Malahini Terrace. I took only one shot, of their tiki cactus garden:
Next stop was Tong's Polynesian Village in Naperville. The inside was just as boring as the front - no tiki or tropical decor left - skip it.
The next one was way better. Tong's Tiki Hut in Villa Park. Worth a visit if in the area.
Tong's Tiki Hut in Glendale Heights is now the Village Hut, an Indian Restaurant. Thankfully, the decor is still very tropical but I didn't see any tikis and I'm not sure if there were any there before. The man who was there was very nice and explained how he liked the way the decor reminded him of his village in India so he named it Village Hut. He said the Indian food they serve is of a specific region in India and that type of Indian food is only served in 2 places in the US. A nice place to get an Indian meal.
Finally we left Chicago on old highway 20 heading for Iowa. More pictures to come.
[ Edited by: thejab on 2003-09-10 19:51 ]
I need one of those helicopter boats. Looks like it came out of a sean connery james bond movie!
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Hey there Jab... you were at Leon's! Did you have a Tin Roof?! That's one of their signature sundaes... Ah, Milwaukee custard... so buttery you drink a gallon of water after eating some! Leon's has some great neon... a very well photographed icon in Milwaukee...
What did you think of our expensive art musuem addition? Its cool but most of us here are over it... the city went Calatrava crazy for a while and wanted him to design everything here... there's a bridge in town that is a Calatrava rip off...
I went to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) in Milwaukee... BFA in Graphic Design but I saw Brooks Stevens almost on a daily basis in the halls as he taught Industrial Design class in his final years from a wheelchair. I heard him speak a few times in school... an amazing man with so many stories to tell... he lived a full life.
I had the double cone at Leon's. When I worked at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor in San Diego I served a zillion Tin Roof sundaes.
I thought the museum building was impressive but I'm not familiar with the architect. The museum also had an amazing collection of photos of motorcycle clubs in the 60s in and around Milwaukee and Chicago. Worth a look.
We heard about the additional Brooks Stevens exhibits at the Advertising Museum but didn't have time to check it out.
I also LOVED the At Random bar in Milwaukee. It's in Tiki Road Trip.
Cool pics, Dean. Now that you guys are back I can finally get a real mai tai on Thursdays at the Mallard again. Right? RIGHT?
Ya got that right. I'll be there tonight!
Day 2 continued...
We stopped in Union, IL outside Chicago to check out the Illinois Railroad Musuem. I'm a big fan of Streamliners so I had to check out the Burlington Zephyr. It's fully restored and operational. Once in a while they take it out for a short trip.
The museum is huge with about 10 aircraft hanger size buildings filled with locomotives all the way down to streetcars.
Outside there are whole trains on display.
Back on highway 20 we stopped in Rockford, IL at the Rathskeller for brats and beer. It's a delicatessen with a restaurant in the cellar and has been open since 1931. They had a fire in the 90s but spent half a million dollars restoring it and did a great job - it still looks original. We had the sausage sampler - they were all excellent and housemade.
Then we stopped in Freeport, IL at Union Dairy for some ice cream sodas.
Our stop for the night was Dubuque, Iowa, a nice historic town on the Mississippi River. We stayed at the Juilen Inn that we happily found was last remodeled in the early 60s.
The lobby was impressive with it's staircase, fountain beneath the staircase, and crazy metal sculpture suspended from the ceiling.
[ Edited by: thejab on 2003-09-11 20:24 ]
We made a detour off Route 20 to visit Brucemore, an old home in Cedar Rapids with a 1940s era Polynesian basement (in Tiki Road Trip book) but they wouldn't let us take pictures.
After a lot of driving and good antique store shopping in Iowa we stopped for dinner in Lemars, Iowa at Archie's steakhouse. On a tip from Roadfood.com I ordered the "Benny Weiker" cut - a 18 oz. filet aged 21 days. It was without a doubt the best filet steak I have ever had! It ranks up there with the bone-in aged New York steak at Harris' in San Francisco. Good eatin' and it only cost $27 with crudites, salad, and perfect thin-cut fries. The owners of Archie's go to California to buy wines several times a year so they offer a good wine list to boot.
The filet is on the left - Robin had the delicious tenderloin cut on the right (only $25!)
We stayed the night in Sioux City, Iowa, home of the loosemeat sandwich.
A long drive through Nebraska without much to see except a Klown museum (that's how they spelled it) and a lot of corn. WE left US 20 and detoured to the Badlands of South Dakota.
Stayed the night in Wall, SD, where Wall Drug has been a great roadside attraction for years:
This one's for Mig:
The coin-operated animatronic displays were highly entertaining:
We spent the rest of the day driving through the Badlands, shopping in Rapid City, gazing at snakes at Reptile Gardens (an excellent old reptile zoo), and exploring a cave at Wind Cave National Park. Rapid City has a park filled with plaster dinosaurs that some crazy guy made back in the 30s.
The road through Custer State Park was a wildlife lover's dream drive but few were close enough to get a really good picture without a zoom lens. We saw bison, elk, and bighorn sheep:
We stayed the night at the nice vintage Rocket Motel in Custer. I forgot to take a picture but here's one from their web site:
Where's the rocket? Well, I liked this one especially because the rooms were nicely decorated with black and white photos of local attractions like Mount Rushmore. Yay, no ugly southwest or cutesy country decor!
In the morning we saw Mount Rushmore (I'll spare you the boring pictures) and stopped to visit our friends Fred and Barney in Bedrock City!
Who needs Mt. Rushmore when you have Mt. Rockmore!
Sadly we had to leave the Black Hills area. We barely scatched the surface of the attractions there. It's a great area to visit if you like classic roadside attractions, natural beauty, and wildlife, without a lot of new development.
Cool pics! Thanks for sharing
Streamliner and loose meat-That's Livin' Brother!
Next time you'll have to hit the Spam museum in Austin, Minnesota.
Wow - the pictures are great! and all that red meat...I'm SO jealous. Mr. Pineapple makes me eat fish a bunch of nights, I'd eat a steak like that everyday! mmmmm red meat...
We're glad you're back for many reasons, but we REALLY missed Robin at the Mallard!
What a fab trip! Thanks so much for sharing your photos and experiences. How did you enjoy the Lang & Reed cabernet franc at Archies? I saw the bottle on the table. It's one of my faves. Lang (the teenage son of the winemaker) is a budding ukulele star in Napa Valley. A fine choice in vino with a tiki twist. You just can't get away from it, eh Jab? Hope to see you at The Mallard soon.
-Weird Uncle Tiki
We just picked that wine because we never had cabernet franc before and we loved it! We ordered the 2002 but the waitress almost accidently gave us a bottle of older vintage, until the manager intervened with the corrct bottle. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the 2002 very much.
Thanks for all the nice comments! Here's still more pictures:
Day 7 saw us leaving South Dakota for Wyoming. We stopped at Devils Tower for a spell and ended up in Sheridan, Wyoming for the night. Only disappointment of the trip: the amazing 40s cowboy bar called "The Mint" was closed for the labor day weekend.
The gorgeous Chevy dealership in Sheridan:
The 2 thrift stores in town were closed for labor day so we took US14 west over Bighorn Pass and stopped at Medicine Wheel, an ancient native American sacred site.
Bighorn Canyon was our next stop:
We saw this incredible 1952 theatre in Logan, Wyoming:
The interior was frozen in time so I took some pictures through the glass doors:
Detoured to Red Lodge, Montana, so we could take the scenic Beartooth Highway over Beartooth Pass:
Overnighted in Cody, Wyoming, home of Buffalo Bill and Jackson Pollock. Nice town. Not as touristy as Jackson and there's the fine historic Irma Hotel in town. They have a nightly rodeo in the summer and the excellent Buffalo Bill musueum that's actually 5 museums in one (Buffalo Bill Museum, the Museum of the Plains Indian, the Firearms Museum, a Natural History Musuem, and a Western art museum).
After seeing as much of the museum as we could stand we drove through the smoke from the summer's fires into Yellowstone National Park. We stayed the next 2 nights at the incredible Old Faithful Inn. It's a must see and well worth staying at least one night in.
The dining room from above
and from inside
My favorite spot - the bar!
They did a great job restoring and maintaining the place without cutesifying it. It pretty much looks the same way it did a hundred years ago.
Other Yellowstone sights:
Morning glory spring
The Grand Canyon on the Yellowstone River
It looked like a painting - it can't be real
We left Yellowstone and encountered a traffic jam
They keep their buses in nice shape in Grand Teton National Park:
We had excellent steaks for dinner at the Gun Barrel Restaurant in Jackson.
Inside the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Pull up a saddle and rest a spell!
Jackson's a weird town. There's a few old neon motels left but it's mostly real upscale with tons of "galleries" selling "art" like animal sculptures and landscapes. It's real sterile and boring because I guess that's what rich people like. I felt out of place.
We stayed the night near Grand Teton National Park at this place:
The rooms were original 1950s log cabin rooms - here's a pic from their web site:
Day 13: Our day to explore the Tetons was cold and rainy so we didn't do any canoing or hiking, which we had planned. We ended up in Afton, Wyoming, home of the world's largest antler arch:
Our motel, which I didn't get a good picture of, so here's one from their web site:
Day 14: We drove US 89 through a bit of Idaho and into Utah. We stopped near Perry for a delicious meal at the Maddox Ranch House. They have the juiciest fried chicken and tender steaks (they even have their own feed lot out back!), served with huge flaky homemade rolls with raspberry butter, and bottomless mugs of homemade root beer or sarsparilla (no beer or wine - it's Mormon country). They even serve water from their own well. The deserts are great as well.
Look for the spinning sign that says "Maddox Fine Foods"
Somewhere near Ogden, Utah, on US89
We stopped briefly at Bert's tiki bar in Salt Lake City didn't especially care for the decor so I didn't take a picture.
Drove 500 miles that day and stopped in Ely, Nevada on highway 50, the "loneliest road in America". Stayed the night at the historic Hotel Nevada in the Hank Thompson room (many of the rooms are named after famous people who once stayed in the hotel - ours had records by Hank in frames - a nice touch).
Day 15: Another long drive (500 miles) home across Nevada and California to Oakland.
Whew! When's the next road trip? I can't wait.
Oh, only 2 tiki mugs were found on the whole trip (not counting the Kahiki moai salt and pepper shakers I got in Chicago). I found a leilani mug and Robin found a skull mug (Trader Vic's older style). I did find a few records, a great bakelite radio, a lamp, some great old cocktail books (one with pinups on the cover and inside!), a few aloha shirts, some ties, lots of cufflinks, and more tchotchkes that I don't have space for.
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