America’s Dairyland [Wisconsin]

Summer Road Trip 2014

Day #5 and 6:  June 16 – 17, 2014
Madison & Milwaukee, Wisconsin

When I hear Wisconsin, two words immediately pop in my head: cheese and tornadoes. We stayed overnight in Madison, and our brief stay in America’s Dairyland was quite memorable to say the least.

We arrived in Wisconsin late afternoon, and our first two stops were Humbird Cheese and Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet. It was heaven on Earth! A cheese paradise! Every kind of cheese I can imagine (and more!) laid before my eyes.

Between the two, I prefer Ehlenbach’s because a) they give free samples and b) the cheeses are not pre-packaged so you can purchase them by weight. It took a massive amount of self-control to not take home every kind of cheese they have. In the end, three ultimately stole my heart: mild brick, olive cheddar, and portobello mushroom and chive.

Fortunately, Ehlenbach’s ships nationwide so you too can try their heavenly cheese creations!

We spent the night strolling through Capitol Square, which definitely had a college town feel because of  its proximity to the University of Wisconsin. A noticeable aspect of Madison that I truly enjoyed seeing is it’s friendliness toward the LGBT community. Left and right, I witnessed same-sex couples holding hands freely and happily, and it warms my heart seeing how far we’ve come.

My family and I dined at The Old Fashioned, an All-American restaurant in the heart of downtown Madison. The food was satisfying, not to mention incredibly affordable (compare to Los Angeles prices anyway)!

Perhaps the most memorable experience we had in Wisconsin was the following day, where we were rudely awakened at 8:00 am in the morning by four different iPhones simultaneously ringing , warning us of a potential tornado. I’m sorry, what? A tornado?!

There was heavy thunderstorm that morning, and according to their local news, the storm had the potential to create a tornado. I would be lying if I said I didn’t fear for my life. I wasn’t ready to die! Not while I’m on vacation and certainly not in Wisconsin of all places! My imagination definitely had the best of me. Scenes from Twister flashed in my head. As Californians, none of us knew what to do. We’re familiar with earthquakes, but tornadoes are a whole different can of worms. Thankfully, the storm subsided, and none of us really had to take shelter in an underground bunker.

It was raining sporadically, but we were still able to spend a few hours in Milwaukee, our last stop before Chi-town!

Love,
Anicka Nadine


Humbird Cheese
2010 Eaton Ave
Tomah, WI 54660
|T: 608.372.6069
www.humbirdcheese.com

Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet
4879 Country Road V
Junction V & I-90-94
DeForest, WI 53532
T: 608.846.4791

www.ehlenbachscheese.com

The Old Fashioned
23 N. Pinckney St.
Madison, WI 53703
T: 608.310.4545
www.theoldfashioned.com

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The Journey Begins!

Summer 2014 Road Trip

Day #1, June 13, 2014
California – Utah – Idaho – Montana

The journey begins! All of our bags were packed, and we were ready to go. At exactly midnight, we were off to our first stop 400 miles away, Zion National Park, Utah! My mom and dad alternated driving for the next six hours, and as scheduled, we reached the Utah state line just as the sun was rising.

It’s been more than ten years since I’ve been to Utah, and the banded-iron formations were just as majestic as I remembered them to be. Everything was red, from the pavement to the mountains! Talk about being in real-life Carsland!

*Sidenote: During my senior year at UCLA, I took a Geology class where I learned how these red rocks (banded-iron formations) were formed. Basically, the BIFs are sedimentary rocks that resulted from the iron in the ocean reacting with the oxygen being produced by photosynthetic cyanobacteria. So just imagine, these mountains used to be water! The Earth was literally rusting billions and billions of years ago! Shoutout to Professor Schopf for being such an awesome teacher that I still recall his lessons a year and a half after graduating.

We didn’t intend to hike or backpack around the park, so our stay at Zion was brief. After fueling up on breakfast, off to Salt Lake City we go!

Our itinerary required us to be at West Yellowstone (Montana) by the end of the day, so Salt Lake City was another quick pit stop. We visited the State Capitol, EnergySolutions Arena (where the Utah Jazz play!), and the Union Pacific Railroad Station.

Welcome to Idaho!

Idaho? No, Udaho! (sorry, can’t help it)

More driving ensued (by me this time). The further north we went, the colder it got! Eventually, we reached Montana just before the sun went down.

We stayed the night at a cozy 2-bedroom cabin in the middle of the woods. Nature surrounded us, making it a perfect setting to restore our batteries after a long adventure-filled day.

Stay tuned for day 2!

Love,
Anicka Nadine

My Top 10 Road Trip Tips

Everyone should experience a classic all-American road trip. The open road, the ever-changing scenery, the unexpected stalls at the side of the road, the possibility of having an epic experience right around the corner are just a few things that give road trips their unquestionable and eternal lure. With less than a month left until I embark on another adventure from Los Angeles to Chicago, I would like to share a few helpful tips I’ve learned throughout the years as a road trip enthusiast having traveled to over 23 states.

  1. Create a realistic itinerary

    Planning is definitely the first basic step in preparing for a road trip. Select a destination(s), research attractions, and create an itinerary that outlines how many days you have for travel and where you want to go. Make sure your itinerary is realistic and not overly ambitious. Driving 15 hours straight to cover “x” many states may seem doable on paper, but avoid overestimating your energy level when it’s time to put theory into practice.

  2. Do NOT make hotel reservations in advance

    Unless traveling during the busy peak season, making hotel reservations in advance is something I don’t advice. Although it is essential to have some sort of planning done, I also want to reiterate the importance of being loose and flexible! Delays such road blocks, flat tires, getting lost (yes, even with a GPS!) can happen unexpectedly when it comes to road trips. Last year, I traveled with my family all over the Northeastern Seaboard for two weeks. Not having made lodging accommodations in advance, we eliminated the unnecessary stress of constantly chasing time and worrying about being in a certain place at a certain day. I remember spending half of that trip literally sleeping in a different state from the night before. Pretty darn cool.

  3. Have a hardcopy map along with a GPS

    Even the latest newest GPS devices can malfunction, so bring a hardcopy map as backup.

  4. Have your vehicle thoroughly serviced

    Check the tires, air pressure, fluids, brakes, wiper blades, belts, hoses, horn, headlights… and so on! Having a safe reliable car is the easiest way to ensure a pleasant car ride.

  5. Pack smart

    My rule of thumb is to pack with the mentality as if you’re traveling by air. At best, stick to one carry-on sized luggage. To maximize mixing and matching opportunities, bring neutral clothes with pops of color. Also, make sure to leave extra room in your luggage for travel souvenirs. Watch this Youtube video to learn how to pack like a pro!

  6. Check the weather beforehand

    I learned this the hard way. My most recent road trip was a brief 4-day excursion from Los Angeles to Big Sur to Lake Tahoe this past April. Thinking that it’s Spring, my brain somehow assumed that the weather in ALL of California would be comfortable, where it would be warm during the day while cool at night. Boy, was I mistaken. It was downright snowing at Lake Tahoe (think 12 inches!), and I did not pack a single item of clothing built for snow. Cue emergency shopping for snow shoes! Unplanned spending, even for shoes, is never fun especially when you know that your perfectly good pair of SOREL boots are sitting unused at home.

  7. Pack a cooler with nutritious foods and snacks

    With miles and miles of open road, eateries that offer healthy and nutritious foods are few and far in between. To prevent gaining weight while traveling and resisting the temptations of fast food, pack a cooler with cool water and healthy snacks such as fresh berries, apple slices, baby carrots and celeries with hummus for dipping!

  8. Be prepared

    A lot of things can go wrong when out on the road, especially for long distance driving. Stock your car with basics like water, snacks, medication, flashlights, sharp knives, and a first aid kit. Click here for a list of additional items to bring for roadside emergencies.

  9. Stay amused

    With hours and hours on the road ahead, it’s important to keep oneself entertained. I suggest creating a mixed CD/playlist or loading up your iPod/MP3 player with songs. Don’t forget to bring all the essential power cords and chargers while you’re at it! Another way to stay amused would be to have “road trip games.” During a mini-road trip from North Carolina to Virginia last year, my travel buddy and I invented a game where we would try to come up with as many names as we can about a particular category. The only rule is to name a thing/person/place whose name starts with the same letter as the last of the one before. For example, under the Fictional Characters category, one person can start with “Spongebob,” and it can be followed by “Bon Qui Qui,” which then can be proceeded by “Indiana Jones.”

  10. Relax!

    You’re on vacation! Enjoy every minute!

Feel free to share YOUR road trip travel tips in the comments section!

Xx,
Anicka Nadine