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Madison WI, Donny and Marie, Cantigny and the Kankakee River

September 2, 2014

Visited Vera and Bill in Madison, enjoyed good company, food and local sites.  Bike rides of 10 and 15 miles provided for a close-up view of the city.  I thought this bike service area with rack, tools and pump was a good idea.

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Camp Randall stadium – this is a column of footballs

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where the “Fighting Wisconsin Badgers” play,

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and is named for Camp Randall, which was located here.  It was a staging area for 70,000 WI soldiers during the Civil War.

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Confederate prisoners of war were also housed here and about 150 are buried in this cemetery.

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We were told that the WI state capital dome was the largest in the U.S. and 4th largest in the world.

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Rotunda

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Impressive interior, and parts of two of four wings that are laid out in line with the cardinal directions of a compass

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We were able to walk around the outside base of the dome – great view and statuary

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Dome and statues made from Vermont granite

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Perfect day

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Donny & Marie – their Las Vegas show

Next, drove to Chicago – had dinner at the Rosebud in Naperville with Jim and Cathie

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and then saw the Donny & Marie show at the Paramount Theater in Aurora IL; a high energy, well done and enjoyable show

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Cantigny Park, Wheaton IL

The next day we visited Cantigny Park in Wheaton IL outside Chicago.  I’m embarrassed to say that, though I grew up in Chicago, I didn’t know this place existed!

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Cantigny Park was endowed with $55 million by Robert R. McCormick in 1955 when he died and includes his mansion,

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extensive grounds and gardens,

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a Tank Park; showing, with actual tanks, the evolution of the U.S. tank up through Desert Storm

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and a First Division Military Museum – the 1st Infantry Division is known for its continuous and distinguished active duty since its organization on June 8, 1917.  Col Robert McCormick, editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, was an artillery unit commander in the First Division and renamed his estate from Red Oaks to Cantigny in honor of the Battle of Cantigny in France on May 28, 1918.  It was the first American victory of World War I and a defining moment in his life.

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The museum has excellent displays and information related to the American soldier from the Revolutionary War through the War in Iraq

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Kankakee River IL near IN border

On Labor Day we were invited by Dave and Suzette to their refurbished summer cottage on the Kankakee River for a pontoon boat ride and a steak dinner!  We have to dutifully record here, that though Little Dave warned his father that he was going to run out of gas if he went too far or fast, we ran out of gas about a hundred yards from the dock and started drifting backwards with the current.  Fortunately, we were rescued by another boat and towed to shore.

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It was a fun day.  After dessert, we headed back to Springfield.

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