Part I found here.
If you ever find yourself in La Crosse, Wisconsin and do not visit Riverside Park, you will hate yourself forever. And not just because of the spectacular views of the Mighty Mississippi, or the International Friendship Gardens, but because delightful elderly gentlemen on their morning constitutionals, will stop to tell you jokes in the most adorable of Midwest accents.
After too many deep-fried cheese curds (USA! USA! USA!) and not nearly enough time to explore, we boarded a plane to Philadelphia.
And I said good-bye to a tiny part of the American Midwest, where I saw my first Amish buggy, listened to a lady play “Eleanor Rigby” on an accordion, walked down flag-lined Main Streets and a bit of my childhood come to life despite me growing up thousands of miles away.
Philly reunited me with traveling members of the Timbers Army and though the Sons of Ben did not hold back with the high-brow “Fuck You” chant, Union fans seemed impressed by the opponent’s fan base that traveled from the other side of the country.
A massive rain delay drove away most of the crowd, but not us. It was a pleasure to watch the Braves go down in flames during my first visit to Citizens Bank Park. With the ballpark as empty as it was, every drunken insult could be heard loud and clear; Philadelphia’s sports fans are…memorable.
We spent a few days relaxing with The Husband’s family in New Jersey, which made leaving more difficult for him.
Our final day of vacation was 11 September. We rented a car a began the 10-hour drive because I felt strange flying. And with sad reflections clouding my thoughts, Charlotte’s skyline came into view.