We left Chicago this morning in the pouring rain, waved off by our lovely hosts in La Grange and feeling that we’d definitely experienced the full range of weather that Lake Michigan could throw at us.
There’s a limited amount that can be said about our 8-hour coach trip to the Twin Cities, other than that we made it here in one piece. We saw swathes of rural Wisconsin that probably aren’t on the average tourist’s itinerary, passing places with evocative names like Black River Falls and Elk Mound (plus the Ho Chunk Casino, which seemed to be advertised every few miles). There was a thrilling moment somewhere around Wisconsin Dells when the coach WiFi password was discovered… every gadget came out and there was a flurry of connection with the outside world, though the signal gave up the ghost before too long. Alternative entertainment was offered by the capricious air conditioning system, which appeared to have two settings: tropical and arctic.
Slightly cramped and bent we emerged from the coach at our destination at 5pm, although one or two of the boys seemed to have developed Stockholm syndrome and were by this stage difficult to eject from their seats. We were given a superb welcome at a reception in Mendota Heights, where a lavish supper awaited us. The fulsome salad bar allowed the boys to make amends for nutritional sins committed over lunch at the rest stop (and an adapted ‘five a day’ list has been agreed for choristers on tour: burgers, fries, pizza, milkshake and cookies).
After eating as much greenery as we could manage we were spirited away by our charming new hosts, already feeling well on the way to recovery from the epic midwestern journey. It’s not even snowing here (yet)!