CHICAGO, IL -- It appears as if I have finalized my travel plans for this summer. Of course, "finalized" may not be the right word; it's all a matter of specifics. But in any case, things are looking like as follows:
May 14th - Start of summer in Madison, Wisconsin
May 16th-19th - Las Vegas, Nevada
May 19th-25th - Chicago, Illinois
May 25th-June 4th - Road trip to Cape Canaveral, Florida
June 4th-12th - Chicago, Illinois/Madison, Wisconsin
June 12th-July 17th - Boston, Massachusetts
July 18th - Winnipeg, Manitoba
July 19th-26th - Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories
July 27th - Winnipeg, Manitoba
July 28th-August 2nd - Chicago, Illinois/Madison, Wisconsin
August 2nd-15th - San Francisco, California
August 15th-September 7th - Chicago, Illinois/Madison, Wisconsin
September 8th - Class begins, Madison, Wisconsin
Whew... it feels good just to get that all out there in a nice, organized fashion. Vegas update - will be staying at the Tropicana Hotel on the Strip, which is an upgrade from the last post. The road trip to Florida is to watch STS-124, the space shuttle which is scheduled to launch May 31st at 5:01PM ET. So the dates are flexible pending the launch schedule as the days get closer and it becomes easier to get a good guess on when the launch actually will be (as they are frequently delayed). I'm very excited about spending a large chunk of my summer, about five weeks, in Boston, as I've never been to anywhere in New England. Boston itself is a very historic city that I've done much reading and studying on, and it will be great to really spend some time there and see the modern incarnation. I'm also trying to get tickets for a game at Fenway, but they are PRICEY! Like, $200 for a half-decent seat for ANY of the games while I'm there (which, there are like 14 games since I'll be there for such a long time). Even though Boston will be for work, part of work will be touring some of the sites, so I'll get to see some of the city, and I should have a couple of days off where I can venture off on my own. Maybe I'll head down to Providence, or take a ferry to Cape Cod... I'm all ears if anybody has any suggestions.
Winnipeg and Great Bear Lake are part of the same trip, a family fishing trip that has been a, for the most part annual thing. Summers of 2004 and 2005 I went with the family to Great Slave Lake, which is also in the Northwest Territories, except it's farther south and therefore not as cold, and not as remote (though, at 65 degrees north, just about everything is remote; it's all relative). 2006 the trip shrank to just 3 people going, and I by the point of knowing about it had already committed to working, so it simply didn't work out. And then last summer, 2007, we took a family trip to Israel, which was an amazing experience that I wouldn't trade all the fish in the world for. That brings us to this summer, and we'll be off to the Canadian tundra, into the arctic circle, the land of bears and moose, with no roads, cities, airports, phones, Internet, television... frankly, there isn't much of anything but nature. The lake is the fourth-largest in North America (about the same size as Lake Michigan), and yet only 400 people fish it each year (it's that far north - look it up on a map). Needless to say I'm hoping for a trophy fish (20 lbs. lake trout, or larger).
San Francisco, like Boston, is for work, except I've been to San Francisco before. We're actually staying at Stanford in Palo Alto, but will do plenty of day-trips into downtown, visiting Alcatraz, Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, some of the parks, Coit Tower, and most of the other famous landmarks. It's one of my favorite cities that I've been to and I'm very excited to go back (I'm also a fan of 66 degree days with sun, every single day, always, no matter what).
And that concludes my summer travel, at least for now. I might end up adding a trip within those, or more likely, it'll be a road trip out of Chicago/Madison - maybe to Michigan, or St. Louis, the U.P. - time will tell. For now I'm happy with my summer plan, and I'm sticking to it.