2014 Road Trip Photos #6: Shiny Happy Madison

Wisconsin State Capitol!

As you drive southwest on Washington Avenue, the Wisconsin State Capitol dome is kind of hard to miss.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Each year from 2003 to 2013 my wife, my son, and your humble writer headed out on a long road trip to anywhere but here. Our 2014 road trip represented a milestone of sorts: our first vacation in over a decade without my son tagging along for the ride. At my wife’s prodding, I examined our vacation options and decided we ought to make this year a milestone in another way — our first sequel vacation. This year’s objective, then: a return to Wisconsin and Minnesota. In my mind, our 2006 road trip was a good start, but in some ways a surface-skimming of what each state has to offer. I wanted a do-over.

After dinner at Ella’s Deli, we headed straight to downtown Madison, and I do mean straight. Our hotel was on the northeast end of Washington Avenue; downtown is on its southwest end; and Ella’s Deli is likewise on Washington Avenue, somewhere near the middle. Navigating was a snap. Unfortunately, downtown parking on a Saturday night wasn’t. We just so happened to be in Madison the same weekend as an annual art festival held all around the city square. Though the festival itself was shut down for the evening, all the parallel-parking spaces were still taken. Since most non-food businesses were surely closed by now anyway, we retreated back to the hotel and planned a do-over on the morning of Day Two…

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2014 Road Trip Photos #5: You Can’t Spell “Psychedelic” Without “Deli”

Ella's Deli!

You are about to enter another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of food.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Each year from 2003 to 2013 my wife, my son, and your humble writer headed out on a long road trip to anywhere but here. Our 2014 road trip represented a milestone of sorts: our first vacation in over a decade without my son tagging along for the ride. At my wife’s prodding, I examined our vacation options and decided we ought to make this year a milestone in another way — our first sequel vacation. This year’s objective, then: a return to Wisconsin and Minnesota. In my mind, our 2006 road trip was a good start, but in some ways a surface-skimming of what each state has to offer. I wanted a do-over.

Our Day One drive through Wisconsin took us in the late afternoon from downtown Milwaukee to the state capital of Madison. We’d driven through Wisconsin in 2006 and 2009, but this was our first time detouring in Madison’s direction. If you’re only looking for roadside oddities, nearly everything on their to-do list is located along a five-mile stretch of Washington Avenue running diagonally southwest-to-northeast between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. Our hotel was at the northeast end; the State Capitol was at the southwest end. Plotting directions was a cinch.

Between the two endpoints was our dinner destination, Ella’s Deli and Ice Cream Parlor, all decked out like a TGIFriday’s hoarding novelty antiques.

Right this way for a lavishly eye-popping Day-Glo extravaganza!

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