Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 34: On Wisconsin

Day 34 miles to/from work: 29.3
Total miles for S4S: 904.9

I don't think Wisconsin should become known as a state where we shoot cats.
                                                                                         -Former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle

User friendly:  what this morning was not.

It wasn't a bad morning by any means. Although short on sleep—now the standard—I felt good. Getting ready for work went smoothly, Jazz and Oreo seemed marginally grateful to be fed (okay, not even a little, but at least they didn't act pissy), and all was well with the world.

However, the great outdoors presented a gray, windy, bone-chilling day determined to emanate hostility. Rather than focus on the hypothermia and frost bite (my fingers went numb even with gloves, but 
honestly, the ride wasn't that bad), I want to put the lens on Wisconsin and how I fell in love with my adopted and adoptive state.

If you live here, you're already livin' The Dream, and 'nuf said. If you're not a homey, I hope my pictures with every blog post have given you some idea of what a beautiful, diverse state this is—even though you've only seen one teeny 13-1/2 mile sampling of it.

In April 2002 I was preparing to move from Sacramento, California to Austin, Texas. "Uh, hello? Austin, Texas isn't exactly where you wound up." For a blonde with a bad sense of direction, landing in Madison was an easy mistake to make: state capital, university town, humid summer. (January demonstrated that the winters are the distinguishing characteristic between Austin and Madison.)

Before embarking on the intended move to Texas, I had sold my house and wrapped up my job in Sacramento. Free time and open road beckoned for me to take the big honkin' road trip of my dreams. For three months I drove all over the USofA and put 15,000 miles on my car. I came through Madison and spent five magical days, during which my feelings for this city and this state were like falling in love with a person. I could no longer imagine living anywhere else. Within six weeks I had a job and owned a house here. I later learned that both my grandmothers were born in Wisconsin, so probably some primal drumbeat was thrumming through my reptilian ganglion and brought me back. (Fade with Twilight Zone theme....)

As much as I loved my life in Madison, those first few years I often lamented, "if only I could find a man I love as much as I love this city". In 2006 I met Scott. So my life here now is about two great loves.

And one bicycle. Silver Beauty taxied me on a couple after-work errands and then home through a still somewhat unkind and cold wind. But I was bundled up in cozy layers, ear warmers were in place, and—of course—my bright night train light led the way. Happy to be home. Happy that home is in this place that I love.



  1. I remember that road trip! I think I still have your postcard from Boston. We on the west coast miss you madly. BTW, my mom, caretaker and kind benfactress of a feral cat community in Missouri, was also born in Wisconsin. Thanks for your inspiring, touching and always entertaining posts. I'm very much enjoying the ride vicariously!
    anonymous aka Cyn

  2. And Liz, you know what? Wisconsin loves YOU!!! Congratulations on passing the 900 mile mark!! I calculated that if you continue on your journey with Silver Beauty, through the end of October, you will have racked up over 1,087 miles!! Wow, can't wait to see your skinny butt at the party!
    P.S. This wind needs to die down for you though, good luck today!