While I was growing up watching Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley, I thought Milwaukee was a mythical land, as fictional to me as Oz. It was about as foreign as you could get for a little Chinese girl born of immigrant parents growing up in East Oakland. So when Jay said we were going to Milwaukee for 4th of July fireworks last year, it never registered that I was going to the actual city that was home to the Cunninghams and the Fonz. The realization did not hit me until after I found my first geocache, GC1FGFC (Letters Carried to the Fonz) and took a picture with the Fonzi statue I found along the river running through downtown.
Milwaukee is also home to my all time favorite geocache GC3798 (Covert Cache). We had been wandering around an alley for awhile and were asked several times if we needed assistance. (I thought it was weird there were other people in this otherwise, seemingly empty alley.) Soon after, Jay suggested we go into what looked like a little imports shop. When I inquired about a geocache, we were told to dance a waltz (which we obligingly did with no questions asked). When we finished, a secret wall opened up behind us offering passage into a dark hallway that ultimately opened into to a speakeasy. This cache lived up to its name because the bar even had a spy theme adding to the cheeky mysteriousness of the place. I will never forget how much Jay and I enjoyed finding this one.
Later on, we went to find Fireworks on the Lakefront, an incredible hour long pyrotechnic extravaganza that happens every year on July 3rd. The rumors we had heard were true. This was one of the most spectacular and definitely the longest fireworks show I have ever seen. Every time we thought the show had hit its climactic end, another string of fireworks began. Adding to the drama was every kaboom reverberating off the high-rises behind us.
I loved Milwaukee so much we returned the next weekend. (Now it is starting to dawn on me why I haven’t seen that much of Chicago.) Since there is no better way to spend a summer afternoon than at a baseball game, we took advantage of the Brewers being in town and headed to Miller Park. On the way to find transportation to the game, we learned two things. Number 1? This city is the birthplace of the American League. Wouldn’t this have been a perfect spot to place a geocache?
Number 2? You can go to just about any bar downtown and get a free shuttle ride to and from the ballpark AND buy and drink adult beverages while riding on the bus.
When I got to Miller Park, I was surprised to learn Hank Aaron had played here. (Well, the old park. This is a new stadium.) Here I am posing with his statue after finding GCQ722 (Terra Petra).
It turns out this is also the home of the famous racing sausages.
In Wisconsin, dairy is king. Naturally, this area would be the birthplace of the butter burger which is served with a pat of melting butter between its bun and patty. The famous Solly’s butter burger has been featured on numerous television shows and is ranked 89th on the recently released Thrillist list of best burgers in the country.
To wrap up the weekend, we stopped at a cool looking marketplace I had been eying the previous weekend. Reminiscent of San Francisco’s ferry building, the Milwaukee Public Market is a historic building full of different vendor stalls selling foods ranging from popcorn kernels to jam and fresh seafood. Of course, I was immediately distracted by the oyster bar. Once I finagled a seat at the counter, I hunkered down and you couldn’t wrestle me away.
Many thanks to Jay for all the geocaching. He even helped me find GC60TAM Landmark Building – Historic Third Ward on the way back to the car before we hit the road back to Chicago.
If it wasn’t for the fact that the winters would kill me (literally, according to Jay) I would like to live here. The city is clean, cost of living is much less here than in the Bay Area, and delicious butter, ice cream and cheese are everywhere. But most importantly, the people I came across were some of the nicest I have ever met. I hope I will get to visit again sometime soon.