I toured the University of Wisconsin, Madison, yesterday, in hopes of joining a graduate program in landscape ecology and conservation next fall. The campus has a very cool vibe, there is a street much like Burlington’s Church Street (complete with a Dobra Tea, in fact), and the folks in my potential research lab are fascinating and enthusiastic. I had a lovely day speaking with the professors, post-docs, grad students, and university representatives today, as well as a great bike ride along the edge of the lake that borders the school, and a nice dinner and drink on the outdoor waterfront dining terrace at the edge of campus. I felt quite at-home on campus, probably because Madison reminded me so much of Burlington. 

The Terrace, with UW behind it.

State Street = [(Church Street)x2 - brick promenade]
I then drove 11 hours (750 miles) from Madison to western Nebraska. Technically I’m still in the country, but the last few hours were… unfamiliar: 

I had to provide an ID for my motel room, and the girl saw my strange vertical ID and said “you guys are gay.” She was referring to my ID, and not the people of our state, but her language surprised me nevertheless. 

The gas station I filled up at had a large blinking sign advertising “best looking cashiers!” The cashier at the time was a 250 pound dude with long hair who was clipping his nails behind the counter.

I had to specially request a non-smoking room.

All disposable food containers are Styrofoam.

several bumper stickers were available at the counter of one gas station that read: “Speak English or get the hell out!” and “Welcome to America, now learn to speak English!” etc.
This is a wind turbine blade in-transit on the interstate

Now I’m outside Denver, CO, visiting my friend Jess, who will be moving into a cute new home in a fascinating little pre-fab town plopped in an abandoned airport. Stapleton is the name of the community of 14,000, which was planned out, municipal buildings, shops, and neighborhoods, etc., right down to the color swatch. Jess’s house was being re-painted (this is a brand new house) by the developers because it didn’t jive with the color arrangements of her neighbors’ units. I had heard of pre-fabricated developments, but the scale of this project is just massive. Oh the things that can be done with all the open space out here!