November 19, 2013

Many Adventures in the Midwest

In the last four weeks I have been all over the Midwest - Michigan, Illinois and Missouri - and I loved ever minute of it!  The Midwest is truly a great place!  I love exploring the small towns, meeting new people and everyone I met was just so nice.  It seems like every time I go to the Midwest I end up calling Adam asking if he wants to move there (he typically says 'yeah sure' and just ignores me) but I do try to get out there whenever work allows me.  So here are some pictures of my adventures!

First up - Lansing, Michigan, on the campus of Michigan State University to be exact.  I didn't end up taking many pictures in Michigan because it truly was a whirlwind; we landed in Detroit on a Sunday night, drove to Lansing and then the next morning we got up, worked all day and then flew home.  Either way it was still fun to be in a new place.

Go Green!  Michigan State!


Next up I went to Springfield, IL.  Springfield is the capitol of Illinois and in my opinion one pretty cool city.  It is the home of Abraham Lincoln and pretty much everything in the area has something to do with Abe.  It is also home to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.  We flew in to Chicago O'Hare and made the four hour drive to Springfield and let me tell you, once you get outside of the Chicago area there is nothing but flatness and farm land and HUGE wind turbines.  The next day my boss and I were determined to do at least a little site seeing before we had to head back up to Chicago for out 9:30 PM flight.  We knew the forum would take most of the day but we ended up having about 45 minutes for sight seeing (power sight seeing).  One of the representatives at the forum was actually on the board of the Abraham Lincoln Museum and was able to reserve us passes, free of charge!

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
In the land of Lincoln!
"Here I have lived a quarter of a century and have passed from a young to an old man."
- A. Lincoln
Abe and his family inside the Abraham Lincoln Museum
John Wilkes Booth lurking outside the White House in the Abraham Lincoln museum.
Young Lincoln outside of the model of his log cabin childhood home.
Me & Abe!

On the way to Springfield we stopped at this hole in the wall diner off the main highway - it was called That 50's Place and since my boss loves 50s style diners we had to stop!  The food was actually really good - so good in fact we stopped there for dinner on the way back to Chicago too.  The diner also had great 50s memorabilia including Betty Boop, a Cadillac and the blue brothers! 
Pulling into That 50's Place!
Awesome sign over the counter!
Me and Betty Boop!
As I mentioned before on the way to and from Springfield, IL there was a ton of farm land and it was just flat, flat, flat; but that made it a great area for TONS of huge wind turbines.  This isn't the best picture but this is along an access road to the highways with nothing but farm land and wind turbines! 
After Illinois my last and most recent trip to the Midwest was a three stop tour of Missouri including Columbia, Jefferson City and Fulton.  I flew into St. Louis and made the trip to Columbia to hold a forum.  While in Columbia I bought my first pair of cowboy boots!  Authentic cowboy boots!
This was our first stop along our search for cowboy boots - I didn't end up getting my boots there but it was a really cool store!
After spending the day in Columbia I headed over to Jefferson City, the capitol of Missouri.  I was really impressed with the town!  It was very walkable, had some great sites and I was able to do some Christmas (and personal) shopping at some of the local stores.  The morning before my conference presentation I also went for a run around the downtown and was able to take some pictures.
Welcome to Jefferson City!  Sign was on the building that houses the Amtrak station.
Museum next to the railroad tracks - it wasn't open but it's apparently the original station Lincoln would use when he would come to Jefferson City.
The capitol building!
View of the governor's mansion. 
View of the capitol from near the governor's mansion.
I found the Lewis & Clark statues!
Lewis, Clark and their crew.
Lewis, Clark & the capitol.
Front of the Missouri Capitol.
 My conference presentation!

The day after my presentation I traveled to Fulton, Missouri and toured the grounds of the state's Forensic Mental Health Hospitals and State Penitentiary - which was so cool!  Both institutions were constructed in the 1850s and the grounds included a ton of haunted buildings.  I told my Missouri trainers that next time I come back we'd have to actually go inside!  After the tour I road tripped back to St. Louis and headed back to Albany.  Overall, it was a GREAT tip!  I have grown to love Missouri and I think the Midwest overall is just a great place!

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