“So, why has Michael not updated lately?”, you might ask yourself. Well the reason why I haven’t been able to update lately was because I was on a two week adventure exploring the Midwest of America racking up a staggering 2300+ miles driving. On my trip I encountered so many cool things that they all can’t be explained in words. Some things were so awesome that you just had to be there to fully take it in. I travelled across half the country in pursuit of visiting all of our nations baseball parks plus one more that is located in Toronto. However, on this trip I was able to tackle just four teams/stadiums. In the process of visiting cities within the United States I met some pretty amazing people; had I been accompanied with someone on my trip I don’t think I would be approached as much as I was when travelling alone.
Meeting and talking to new people is probably one of the most enjoyable things about travelling that one can experience. Getting to talk about your hometown and your likes and dislikes is something that keeps conversations going. It’s something about the unknown that makes people keeping wanting to know more and more about. For example, I had no idea what life and the cost of living was like in the Midwest and for people I met they had no idea how life was like here in San Francisco. As people I’ve talked with they are often interested in what San Francisco has to offer, they often are interested in knowing why I would come
all this way just to visit their hometown. Once I get started talking I’m very passionate about the things that I say and I often pride myself on having come from one of the best communities that this country has to offer. I must say yes the cities I’ve been to visit have been absolutely great, but there’s just something about good ol’ San Francisco that I still am in love with and that I would never find myself living away from. San Francisco has so much to offer and so much diversity that it’s surprising to know how much can fit into a 7 mile by 7 mile city.
Likes and dislikes of my trip often revolved around with what I have here, back home, versus the other cities not having what I’m use to or vise versa. What I like about the cities I’ve travelled to is the fact that some of the food is so amazing that I wish I had them here locally. Yes you can ship it to your home, but it’s just not the same when all the goodness is made there. I loved the weather over there. It was mostly sunny in the 70s and it was not humid at all except for a few days before it was going to rain, but an overall great sunny trip. Gasoline is probably the cheapest I’ve seen in a long time. In San Francisco the average gasoline price is about $3.15 and the average price in the Midwest is $2.15 with exception to Chicago which average prices were about $2.85. I like the fact that people are genuinely nice and polite if you are willing to give them a chance to introduce themselves and talk with them. I like the museums and attractions that are pertinent to their area. I like visiting different baseball stadiums and seeing what each has to offer. Finally, I like being able to explore on my own and not having to keep a friend waiting to go to another destination (allows me more freedom to strike up conversation with others).
Dislikes from the trip are few, but still important to record down. I dislike travelling alone at times because travelling gets to be very expensive when there is no one to help share the cost with. I dislike having to go to some of the very best places to eat, but not being able to try everything on the menu because there is only so much you can eat and diversity in dishes is next to none because you lack a travelling buddy to try their food. I dislike the fact that there’s not a big Asian community to feel a little comfortable in. I sometimes felt that I was being looked at a lot because I was different or maybe perhaps I had my zipper down. At times I really did miss seeing another Chinese person or not having been able to eat some Chinese food which would have been comforting to me. There are a few more, but I feel like you get my point.
So now you’re probably wondering where have I been to and why am I just rambling well right about now is when I disclose all. My itinerary was to visit St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. Along the way I visited a few other cities that were pretty awesome too. I visited St. Paul and St. Joseph as two additional places. All I can say now is that two weeks weren’t enough to see all those places for the first time.
I flew out of San Francisco to St. Louis on Southwest Airlines. I had one of the most entertaining flights I’ve ever had on a Denver to St. Louis connection flight. The male flight attendant was one of the most hilarious persons that I’ve encountered. He made flying so much fun and eased the tension for those that hate flying or even flying alone. He basically turned the plane into a party plane, it was so fun. One thing I was questioning myself was to get off that plane to take an offer of a hotel stay and a $200 voucher for a future flight in return to give up my seat for someone else because Southwest overbooked the flight. If I got off in Denver I would have experienced heavy rain, my luggage would have been sent away from me for a day rotating around the baggage claim carousel, and I wouldn’t have been on the party plane.
In St. Louis, there is so much to see and explore that a few days is not enough. In St. Louis I got to see the Gateway Arch, Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Jefferson Barracks Historic Park, Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Science Center, the Old Courthouse, Museum of Westward Expansion, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis Zoo, Forest Park, Busch Stadium and other various places in and around those areas.
Chicago is a great city, but what absolutely sucks about the city is that no matter where you go you have to pay for parking with a few exceptions though. Even city parks you have to pay for parking which I found to be a little ironic, those places should be free to park. I’ve been to Chicago before and did all the touristy things that there is to do, but on this trip I brought along my DSLR so I revisited some of the spots that I’ve seen. While in Chicago I visited the Eli Cheesecake World Factory, outside the Museum of Science and Industry (which is an amazing museum), Lake Michigan, U.S. Cellular Field, Wrigley Field, United Center, Shed Aquarium, Alder Planetarium, Buckingham Fountain, Public Library, Millennium Park, Magnificent Mile, Lincoln Park, and other areas of the city.
In Milwaukee I got to walk outside the Harley Davidson Museum, Miller Brewing Company, Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes), Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee City Hall, Pettit National Ice Center, Shops of Grand Ave., Riverwalk, Lake Michigan, Water Tower, North Point Lighthouse, and Miller Park.
In St. Paul I saw the Cathedral of St. Paul, Cherokee Park, City Hall, Como Park (zoo and conservatory), Landmark Center, Minnesota State Capitol, and Mickey’s Dining Car.
In Minneapolis I visited the Minneapolis Museum of Art, Mill City Museum, Guthrie Theater, Minnehaha Park, Steven’s House at Minnehaha Park, Upper and Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam, the Metrodome, Stone Arch Bridge, Downtown, and a few miles south the Mall of America.
In St. Joseph I visited the Pony Express Museum, Pony Express HQ located at Patte House Museum, Jesse James’ Home and the original site where the house was built before moving to the Patte House, Robidoux Row Museum, the outside of the National Military Heritage Museum (which was closed), the Missouri River, Downtown, and Lovers Lane.
In Kansas City, MO I got to see Downtown at night, the Harley Davidson Kansas City Manufacturing Operations Plant, Union Station, National World War I Museum, Crown Center, outside of Hallmark Visitors Center, a glimpse of the Toy and Miniature Museum, Jazz District, The Plaza, the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, and Kauffman Stadium.
In each and every city there were absolutely some great food and there are so many places I would love to share with you, but you’ll just have to wait and see when I have time to get reviews of those places up. I must say though it was sure some great eats.
Overall, the trip that I took to all of these places were absolutely amazing. While travelling alone I couldn’t help not forget all the generous people who have made my trip much more enjoyable. Being offered free tickets to sampling food made this trip one to remember. I’m so thankful for those of you who made this such an awesome trip. Travelling alone is not foreign to me because now I can say that I’ve been there and done that. I will embark on a new adventure next year and I hope that the trip then will have much of an impact on me as it has now.
Pictures of the trip will eventually be put up in my travel section of my website, but for now keep the anticipation up and encourage me to get it done. Hope to share with you some of my travels. If I met you on my trip please leave a comment I would sure like to keep in touch with you. Thanks.