Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How Technology Changed the Sunday Drive

When I was much younger, I can remember people used to go for Sunday drives.  Now we all travel by car so much that maybe it's become a thing of the past, but occasionally, I like to do what I call taking a "Detour Drive".  You can set one destination, but you have to find 3 or more detours along the way checking out places you've never been to before.  These are always so much fun because we stumble upon some great stuff and make a memorable outing, sometimes meeting interesting people along the way that assist in our detour finding.  Sometimes the detours are thematic, but usually it's just about taking a break at a certain point in the drive to keep everyone happy.

We usually do this when my husband is gone because it's a good way to keep Omar busy and not asking where his dad is for an entire day.  I'll share the latest one we did with you so you can see how much fun you can have with this idea.  Smartphone apps and GPS make the whole adventure a breeze. I recommend you have access to Yelp, Oh Ranger! Park Finder, and Tripadvisor.  All three of these apps have the ability to find your current location and tell you what's nearby.  Yelp focuses mainly on food.  Oh Ranger! Park finder finds local, state, and federal parks.  Tripadvisor finds hotels, food, and attractions.  I use it mainly for attractions because Yelp lists many more food options, including fast food (Hey, when your kid insists on a McDonalds, you have to find those golden arches).

We dropped my husband off at the airport and started to drive towards Omar's Saturday gym class with friends in Cedarburg, but we had an hour to kill.  I spotted a turkey walking into the woods near Shorewood Nature Preserve, so we parked and followed it into the woods, taking a few photos on the way.  There were actually a pair, but we only saw this one close up.  Nice feathers!


We hiked down to the beach, finding this beautiful carpet of blue spring flowers on the way.  We saw hundreds of shorebirds.  Omar threw rocks in the water for awhile.  The woods were filled with bird song.  You could see hundreds of songbirds in the trees too.
A finch in the trees above us 

We made it to Cedarburg with time to spare.  While he was playing with his friends, one of the moms told me about this beautiful hexagonal church west of Cedarburg in Jackson, WI.  This is very easy to find if you are in Cedarburg, just head out of town on Western Avenue until you see it on the right side of the street.  We stopped to take a picture and then used Yelp to find the nearest McDonalds, which happened to be at a truck stop on hwy 41, which also had video games.  Omar scored big time!

Some call this a round barn- located on Western Ave, in Jackson WI
The McDonald's even had some very cool video games

I have wanted to see Horicon Marsh for the annual bird migration, so we headed in that general direction.  I guess I never really thought about what we might see.  It was much larger than I expected and there was no way we could hike it with Omar, so we just stopped at the visitor center where Omar made some crafts and I looked at the marsh from the large windows.  I'll save a real trip for when he's older or I have adult hiking friends.


Horicon Marsh, WI
By now, Omar was ready for some real fun, so I used the park finder app to find a county park in Germantown  that had a pond, hiking trails, and a good playground.  Omar found some nice kids to play with and we stayed there for about an hour.  Then it was time to check in with trip advisor to see what was nearby.  I found Paul Bobrowitz' Spectacular Sculpture garden nearby in Colgate, WI.  It was 6 acres of scrap metal creations done by one man who lives on the grounds.  You can purchase them, but we were just looking.  So many amazing things to see and the best part was...nothing was breakable so it was a good place to wander with Omar.  By now, we were both pretty tired.  We hit the home button on the GPS.  It was an easy drive home where we made some pizza and settled in for the night with an amazing array of images in our head from the interesting day of detours.  I encourage you to try it!  Lots of fun!



Homestead Hollow County Park at Germantown
Scuplture Garden piggies





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