Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Monsoon Milwaukee

That is not a facetious title. it rained a bit. We are seriously talking monsoon, here, where the rain's coming down so hard you can't see. We're talking a downpour that would put Houston and Honolulu to shame.

I'd finished the packing job and was headed for the hotel when I got caught in it...and I could not get the .5 miles back to my motel from where I was; North Port Washington goes under a train trestle and it was flooded. I tried to go a different route, but what made that impossible -- aside from it being rush hour -- was for some reason the city of Milwaukee decided to rebuild half the streets in this area all at the same time. So where you could find one that wasn't blocked off, you'd run into intersections that normally would not be under water but thanks to being dug up were now deep enough to stall city buses.

I finally gave up, parked in a CVS and ran in to read magazines. Dripping wet. For an hour. Till I finally got hungry, bought a cheap-assed umbrella (that's already broken) and went across the street to an Italian restaurant that served me Rigatoni with Prego marinara (or maybe it was from a can of Chef Boyardee) then the power went out so they had to work up my bill by hand.

The rain let up for a bit so I figured I'd see what I could do. After all, I lived in Houston and Honolulu, both, so a little rain ain't gonna mess me up for too long, dammit. But even though Milwaukee is right next to Lake Michigan, that's not where the water was going. Fact is, it was going nowhere. I can't tell you how many SUVs I saw sitting quietly in the middle of a placid pond where once a major street stood grand. If a Ford Escape can't make it through there, my piss-ant PT Cruiser ain't gonna do it, instead.

So I headed south to a street that would take me back to Lake Drive; since it runs right next to the lake, I had a good idea that would be clear. Unfortunately, all of north-bound Milwaukee was doing the same thing...and the street I was trying this on was under construction and went down to one lane, where the top speed was two miles an hour. But I finally got to Lake and sure enough, from there it was easy going.

Meaning it took me 3 and a half hours to get from the corner of Hampton and Santa Monica (yes, that IS the street's name) to the La Quinta on North Port Washington -- the decent one by the railroad tracks, not the snazzy one across from the mall.

What'll be fun is if this is still going on in the morning, when the books are due to be picked up. Or in the evening, when my plane is scheduled. I'd intended to do some sight-seeing en route to the airport. Ain't so sure about that, now.

I'm told there might have been tornadoes, too. Looks like the whole damn country's taking after Texas.

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