Monday, May 25, 2009


Kenosha Light House

Yesterday I took my older son and three of his friends to Great America as kind of a pre-graduation ramble. It was an interesting drive. One of the kids brought his I-Pod with a car adapter for entertainment. I called veto power but was amused to find that his I-Pod was loaded with classical music and jazz. I guess that is what comes of hanging out with geeks! So we discussed the merits of Holst's The Planets and was it difficult to play a Bach piece on the drive north. Actually I did veto a bit of the jazz because I was driving and jazz tends to make me sleepy.
It was quite civilized. When we got to the park I handed over the cash and arranged a meet up time. Then I took off to ramble northward along the lake front.


I visited Illinois Beach State Park but high winds made it feel far colder than the approximately 60 degree weather would have indicated. After a while the numb extremities, runny nose and hacking cough got to be too much for me and I ambled farther northward in my car. I stopped at a couple of beaches to see the sights and hunt for interesting rocks, glass and fossils but each time the wind overwhelmed me. Just north of the Illinois border in Wisconsin, I found a delightful, sheltered little beach. I could have stayed there for hours but I'm not sure the beach was really open to the public. I was legally on the land if I was at the water line (if my recall is correct) but had to cross what might have been private land to get there. It wasn't posted but I was so anxious about running into an irate home owner that I didn't linger long.
Then northward again into the city of Kenosha and a good cup of coffee and sandwich at a little cafe. I froze my ears off again taking a photo of the light house and then headed south. The kids wanted to be picked up at 9 and I was running out of things to do (rural Illinois and Wisconsin are shuttered up pretty tightly on a Sunday evening) so I headed to the outlet mall at Gurnee Mills which was shuttered too. The only open store was Kohl's, open til 9 PM even on a Sunday. After a very boring purchase I grabbed a quick dinner in a crab house where the waiters are obligated to dance the Macarena on cue. Then back to pick up the kids.
We discussed colleges, music, and studying foreign languages. The kids are less geeky than most of the scientists I hang out with (who tend to do nothing but talk shop) and were quite mature. I almost miss the discussions of Pokemon and the preteen fart jokes--well maybe not the latter so much.
Life is good.


Angela Recada said...

I'm glad to hear you had a relatively pleasant time in southern Wisconsin. The crab house with the dancing waiters sounds interesting.

My oldest, a daughter, also pleasantly surprises me when she prefers classical music and delves into yet another foreign language. It's a wonderful feeling. Now my son, her younger brother, is another story. . .

A Free Man said...

Sounds good.

Do people still dance the macarena? Yikes.

JL said...

You were exactly where I last lived. I'm not sure which 'small beach' you are describing.

From Illinois Beach State Park (which is where, back in the early 1980s, I spent most of my free time), beach installations are divided by the Zion Nuclear Plant; North of that is North Point Beach, actually a section that used to be part of Winthrop Harbor; much of the city of lakefront homes fell into Lake Michigan in the 60s due to rising lake levels, and the state bought up and bulldozed the entire area.
All that marsh and prairie used to be neighborhoods. I lived for several years in a former summer house that had been hauled up from the beachfront and plunked in town.

Further North are a series of small beaches, ownership of which is unclear to me; they are collectively called Carol Beach, and are not in Kenosha, but are part of the entity of the Village of Pleasant Praire.

The best beach, I think, in Kenosha is Southport Park, with the old beachhouse. I used to go and sit there when I needed to think.

Your photo is of Kenosha Harbor. I hope you stopped in at the museum, they have a wonderful art gallery upstairs with a small but excellent collection. And Trolley Dogs is one of L's favorite places, along with riding the trolley, which is a quarter.

That whole facility East of the odd little downtown area is the former site of the American Motors Plant.