Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day 19: Thunder Bay to Black River Falls, Wisconsin

Open Road
We ended our lay-over in Thunder Bay today and continued our road trip to Washington, D.C. Two years ago we did this leg of the trip in one night and got to Indiana before we stopped for the night.

This time we took it easy: we left late and stopped early in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, about an hour south of Eau Claire. Last time, Eau Claire made such an impression on me because the highway suddenly disappeared and a large town suddenly popped up. I had never heard of "Eau Claire" before and having to drive through it I thought it was very quaint and wholesome. We even stopped for some ice cream cones at the time. I remember it well, because it was my great idea to take the cones outside so the kids could enjoy the sunshine--and consequently watch their ice cream drip like leaking faucets in the 30° C heat.

This time, however, we drove on a newly completed expressway and it cut a swath right through Eau Claire. We must have saved 15-20 minutes of driving time.

Kind of sad, really.

Click below for more details from today....

Day's Summary: Thunder Bay to Black River Falls, WI
Total distance traveled: 635.5 km
Estimated travel time (GPS): 7 hours, 11 min.
Total elapsed driving time: 6 hours, 40 min.
Average fuel consumption: 10.5 L/100 km
Average speed: n/a
Highest observed outside temp: 32° C
Number of confirmed V1 bogies: 2

The Holiday Inn Express at Exit 116 is the best one that we've stayed at so far. We got a large room on the second floor with a separate "living room" and a balcony overlooking the large indoor-pool area. In addition to the T-shaped pool with a basket ball hoop and plenty of water balls, there is a hot tub, and a large kiddie pool complete with water slides, fountains and sculpted trees and animals. Pretty cool.

What makes this particular Holiday Inn Express even better is the thoughtful amenities like extra luggage trolleys, in-bar sink, disposable plates and cutlery, fridge, microwave, (finally) enough towels for all us, and popcorn and lemonade in the lobby.

We went swimming after dinner and we made sure the kids swam all they wanted. Our kids love swimming and I felt some inner satisfaction when Number 2 told me that she was "all swum out."

Here are few pictures from today. Sorry, I kept the SLR in the bag and took the lazy shots with the el-cheapo point-and-shoot.



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