I am a city slicker at heart – there is no question about it. I grew up and still live in Los Angeles and have lived in Washington, Philadelphia, and Frankfurt as well. In other words, I have always lived in big cities and like it that way. But there is something incredibly endearing about small town America – that “flyover” country with rolling plains, no traffic, and a slower pace of life (as long as it is not a farm).
Once a year, I meet up with a cadre of pals I used to work with in Germany in Green Lake, Wisconsin. It’s about four hours north of Chicago. My friend Denny has a house on Green Lake and although the fellowship of friends is the essence of the trip, there is nothing like a dose of what it is like to live off the grid, at least relatively speaking.
We have a Friday night tradition – all you can eat fish fry at Walker’s. It’s a local tavern that cooks up some amazing fried haddock. All you can eat with French fries, cole slaw, and apple sauce and still cheaper than an appetizer or cocktail in LA. We go out on the lake – using both a giant pontoon and jet skis. We sit around and talk, we go see Denny’s grandson play peewee football, and we enjoy prime rib at the finest restaurant in town – a folksy restaurant called Alibi’s with a smiling staff and a salad bar that is quintessentially Midwestern.
T-Mobile has no service here, though there is internet, but the point of this weekend is to stay off the internet, as much as possible anyway. I guess this is the closest thing to a vacation that I have and I just had another incredible weekend.
Now I’m back in LA, though, and I like it here. Flyover country is a wonderful place to visit – I am already looking forward to next year’s trip – but it is not my home. There’s no place like LA. Still, if you’ve never been you should check it out – it’s a whole difference pace of life and there is something so heartening about never having to lock your house or car and spending an evening at home because everything in “town” is closed.