Straight from the pages of my travel journal: Day 2
The first adventure was actually surviving the Adventure Inn,* and we have almost done it! All I have to do is shower and we can throw the keys at the front desk and run like hell towards today’s adventure at the House on the Rock.
After a brief stop off at Kohl’s for jammie bottoms, we gleefully left Gurnee and Illinois for much greener pastures. We hit Milwaukee around 11:30 and found a safe house to rest in without blowing our cover. Nancee struggled getting in, but I punched the clock to reveal the hallway behind the bookcase. The food was totally average, but the ambiance was great. We had our own tiny booth set off by beaded curtains. We explored a Russian spy area that included a tiny prison, a piece of the Berlin Wall and a network of tubes carrying messages to headquarters.
Next we made our way to the House on the Rock—or as Eee liked to call it, the House on the Hill. It was much bigger than I remember. We spent three hours exploring. The house itself was still a major throwback to the 60’s, but the new nautical room with the 204 foot sculpture of a whale fighting a giant squid was both dizzying and impressive. The giant carousel was beautifully hideous. Some of the animals on it are terrifying, more the stuff of nightmares than childhood wonder. I found out it be ridden because the foundation cannot hold people. The dollhouse room was also impressive. Since I always wanted a dollhouse when I was a kid, this was actually the stuff of my childhood fantasies. I couldn’t help but wonder where a man who had no wife or children got so many dollhouses. I think it’s really more of a collection to have a collection. So many items in the house seemed odd and while not out of place, not exactly in it either.
Before leaving, we had our fortunes told by Esmeralda on the Streets of Yesteryear. Here’s mine: “You have a special aptitude for the fine arts. Love to beautify the home. Will have a long life and are capable of filling lofty positions. Have a gentle, straightforward nature, very quick temper, strong will power that will accomplish anything you undertake. Fond of solitude and serious studies. A good, commanding nature, and always dreaming of riches. You will have considerable property many times, which will be taken from you repeatedly. You will travel a great deal. You will have few brothers and sisters, and will probably marry an artist or one who works on the stage. Curb your temper and conserve your health. One of your lucky numbers is 12. Drop another coin in the slot and maybe my next prophecy will suit you better.” **
We finally found a clean hotel room where we’ll be staying for two nights. It was such a relief to not smell mold, feel a wet floor or just feel uncomfortable in our own room. I’m also quite glad the walls here aren’t glowing. Sometimes it’s nice to be covered in good ol’ American comfort! We even felt safe getting in the pool since there were no warnings against open sores and diseases. I’m guessing the clientele here are a little more discrete about their health problems.
*I found out how to put links in without giving the entire address, so I thought I’d give you lots of them!
**Let’s ponder the accuracy of this prophecy. I do appreciate the arts. I like pretty things in my home, although I don’t like putting much effort into keeping it too clean. Keeping my fingers crossed on the life thing. I’m not sure how gentle I am, but I’m straightforward, temperamental. Unfortunately, my will power sucks. I don’t like solitude much. Don’t really dream of riches except in that way that we all do. The property thing is interesting…can anyone say Florida? I have traveled a bit and with a mother-in-law who’s a travel agent, hope to do more. Only one half sister. Married a singer songwriter the first time around and a drummer the second. I probably do need to curb my temper. I’m not sure how I feel about the number 12 though.