Wednesday, March 4

Milwaukee, Day Two.

Have I mentioned the awesome bed? Oh yes, I think I have. Woke up fresh as a daisy after a solid night of sleep, perhaps the best night of sleep I have had in a couple of years. I totally wanted to stay in bed all morning, but Will had places to be so we got up fairly early. It was a work day for him. He had to meet Brady at his place downtown to unload the Penske truck. I decided to opt out on the early meeting and meet up with them later. My original plan was to go down to the fitness center and run on a treadmill for awhile, but that never happened. I'm not a big fan of treadmills (mostly because I am used to running outdoors) and I was so enjoying my leisurely morning, I didn't want to rush to do anything. It was so nice.

The most comfortable bed ever.

The couch.

Since I skipped my run, I decided to walk downtown to meet Will and Brady. It was cold out again, but the brisk air felt great when I stepped outside. It was about a 2.5 mile walk. Brady lives about three blocks from Lake Michigan in a modern condo/apartment building. A luxury apartment, I guess. He's on one of the higher floors and has excellent views of downtown and the lake.

(Downtown, the southern view.)

(Lake Michigan, the eastern view.)

There's a cool mirror in the lobby that I just remembered. I meant to take a photo of it and totally forgot. Anyway, I arrived in time to help Will with the last load of boxes. Lucky me! We dropped the Penske truck off and took a cab back to the hotel. It was well past noon so we were starving yet again. We went down to the lounge and ended up having a very pleasant lunch. Same bartender from the night before, but he was really nice. He recommended the Rustic Ale which was really good. Will had a chicken schnitzel sandwich that glistened with grease and I had a crab salad sandwich. (It had bacon in it, of course.) Delicious.

The late heavy lunch made us sleepy, but we wanted to tour the Miller Brewing Co. and Sam told us the last tour was at 3:00 so we kind of had to bust a move. We got there just in time to catch the latter half of the movie they show at the beginning. Unfortunately, the shift change is at 3:00 so as we were pulling into the Visitor Center, all the workers were headed out with their lunch coolers in hand. So after the opening movie, when we went to the next section where the bottling and what not happens, there wasn't anyone working! Not so exciting. And yet another video. And for no apparent reason, I started having an anxiety attack so I was having a hard time focusing on anything. We moved onto the shipping area where they have stacks and stacks and stacks of beer. I think the tour guide said it's enough to fill five football fields. And they ship that much out every day! That's a lot of beer.

At that point, I really had to pee. I don't think one is actually allowed to pee during the tour, but we just happened to be standing by a door marked "WOMENS BATHROOM". Unfortunately it also said "EMPLOYEES ONLY". But me being me, I asked if I could use it which in turn pissed off the tour guide. He said I could use it but I better "make it fast". I didn't feel all that much better after that and was wondering how I was going to survive much more of the tour. Fortunately, as we headed to the next station, we went through a door that took us out onto the street. And we bailed on the tour. I felt like a total idiot, but I just couldn't do it. So we missed the end of the tour and the part that involves sampling the beers. Lucky for us, we've sampled most of the Miller beers already, although we were both wondering if there would be any difference in taste at the actual brewery.

We cabbed back to the hotel and got ready to meet Brady for dinner downtown at another brew pub. This one was recommended in the guide book at our hotel, Rock Botton. Will and I had no idea it was a chain otherwise we may have picked one of the others. We sampled many of the beers. I ended up drinking Firehouse Amber or something like that while Will and Brady went from light to dark over the course of the evening. For dinner, Will had chicken fried chicken, a breaded chicken cutlet that was bigger than his head. Seriously. Brady had ribs and I had fish and chips. I was still stuffed from lunch so it was hard to even eat. The fish was really good though. They serve the fish and chips with salmon instead of cod. I'd never had it with salmon before. Tasty. And again, we engaged our waitperson in conversation and wow, she had a lot to say. Once we got her going, she pretty much told us her entire life story. Studying at University of Wisconsin - she has three majors which I can't recall - loves Milwaukee, loves the Packers but thinks Brett Favre handled the whole retirement thing poorly. And no cheese head. She was sweet although I think she got on the boys' nerves.

For some reason, after dinner and many beers, we decided that a drink at the hotel with Brady was in order. So we called the shuttle for pick up. The driver was there in no time at all, talk about service. This time we had Andy, a young fellow from Milwaukee. And, sticking with the football theme, it turns out that during the summer, he plays football in Europe. Not clear on whether or not it's NFL Europe, but I don't think it was. It reminded me so much of the book that I just read about a NFL player who fizzles out in America and ends up in Italy. This kid said he was one of two Americans on the team. A cornerback. Apparently he played some college ball but was never that good (his words) and then he got injured and I don't know, somehow ended up doing the Europe thing. Between the beers and the book that I had read, I was positively delighted and perhaps a bit too enthusiastic about his story. (The books is Playing for Pizza by John Grisham. I've never read Grisham before - he's not really my cup of tea - but a friend gave us the book. So I read it. And it was cute.) And now that I think about it, it was Andy, not the waitperson at Rock Bottom, that was disappointed with Brett Favre.

We stumbled out of the van into the lounge which was pretty packed for a Tuesday night. Will and I had the Rustic Ale again while Brady had something sophisticated, a single malt scotch, I think it was. As we sat there, I realized that one more beer was not such a great idea. The drunkenness was settling in. (Earlier Brad and Will insisted that we weren't getting drunk because we were at a lower altitude. While people are more affected by alcohol at higher altitude, I don't know that this really works in reverse.) We said our good-nights to Brady and called it a night.

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