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Hello, Wisconsin!

A trip through the not-so-frozen North

Charles Kuralt years ago hosted segments on CBS Sunday Morning called "On the Road." For these segments he traveled the back roads of the country reporting on the way of life of everyday people and thus finding America. He found inspiration from John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley: In Search of America which was a collection of stories of finding America. Like Kuralt and Steinbeck, a group of friends and I find America for ourselves each year while travelling the country attending a road LSU game.

This year was no different as Marty Soileau and myself set out for Wisconsin as LSU played in Green Bay's Lambeau Field. Marty Smith had a piece on College GameDay the morning before the game about the recent flooding in South Louisiana and its impact on Baton Rouge. He interviewed people on the flight to Wisconsin who described the flood as washing away all the racial tensions that plagued the city following the Alton Sterling shooting and the shootings of the police officers and sheriff deputies. Everybody of all races came together and helped each other when the city needed it most.

One thing the flood did not wash away is the same offensive problems at LSU under Les Miles. I am not going to get into the game too much because a lot has been said about it already. I will say this that it felt later as if the ghost of Vince Lombardi was on the sidelines saying, "What the hell is going on out here?" The game was a let down, but it did not take away from the experience of seeing a game in Lambeau Field.

The experience started the day before in Sheboygan, Wisc., where we stayed the first two nights of our trip. We went to the Friday Night Fish Fry at The Ale Haus where we first experienced cheese curds. That is also where Marty was first introduced to Old Fashioneds.

We left there and went to Pier 17 on the Sheboygan River. We sat down at a table with a couple outside listening to the band playing on the patio. We started having a conversation with them about fishing. We had similar conversations with a few people on the flights there. During the course of these conversations we discovered they do not catch any gou or choupique in the Wisconsin waters. We also discovered there is no such thing as Wanker County.

The experience moved up I-43 the next morning for the game against Wisconsin. We walked around Lambeau Field before the game and saw the larger than life statues of Curley Lambeau and Vince Lombardi. We went see College GameDay outside the stadium and went meet up with friends at the LSU tailgate at outside Brett Favre's Steakhouse. We then entered the stadium through the famed Oneida Nation Gate and sat on the 20-yard line eight rows up from the field where Packer greats once played such as Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke, Reggie White, Brett Favre, and LSU's own Jim Taylor .

After mass the next morning at St. Dominic's in Sheboygan, the experience again shifted. This time it shifted about 60 miles south on I-43 to Milwaukee. We had brunch and stopped by the Lakefront Brewery before heading to the Riverwalk. We saw there the Bronze Fonz which is a statue of Arthur Fonzarelli and saw city hall which is shown in the opening credits of Laverne and Shirley. We then walked to the Lakefront on the shores of Lake Michigan. On the Lakefront sits the Milwaukee Art Museum that featured an exhibit that fit in well with the theme of finding America. It featured a collection of paintings done by Thomas Hart Benton focusing on The Midwest and the opening of The West.

The main reason of the drive down to Milwaukee was seeing my Chicago Cubs play the Brewers on Labor Day. We took a shuttle bus from Milwaukee Brat House to the game at Miller Park. The game was a de facto home game for the Cubs because the stadium was filled with fans wearing Cubbie blue. With his team down 1-0, Jorge Solar drove in Tommy LaStella to tie the game in the Top of the 6th. An inning later pinch hitter Chris Coghlan singled in Miguel Montero giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Later in the inning, Coghlan scored on a single from LaStella for a 3-1 lead. The Cubs took a 4-1 lead in the Top of the 8th pinch runner Matt Szczur scored on a Brewer fielding error. The inning continued with Javier Baez driving in Addison Russell and Coghlan driving in Jason Heyward and Montero giving the Cubs a 7-1 advantage. The Northsiders won 7-2 as Ryan Braun hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 9th. It was all Cubs fans on the bus ride back to the Brat House, so we all celebrated the win singing a rousing rendition of "Go Cubs Go."

Jacob Fontenot commented on my album of pictures from the trip, "You doing the true Wisconsin experience." I could not agree with him more and am looking forward to the next opportunity of finding America again on the road following the LSU Tigers.