This entry is done by my hubby - WENK
Remembrance of our journey in United States. Thanks to my lovely hubby for his contribution.
February 11, 2010. We arrived at O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois at 16:30 hrs. The 14 hours flight from Abu Dhabi made me very tired. Though I want to jump right away into a cab, my kids seem doesn’t care about it. They are more excited to play with the snow. Yup! It’s snowing in Chicago. After making them convinced that there will be more snow at the hotel then I managed to grab our belonging into a cab and we headed to Ohio House Motel, located at La Salle Street downtown Chicago. What comes to our surprise Hard Rock Café is just next door and Michigan Avenue the shopping street for Chicago only a few blocks away.
February 12, 2010. With just a walking trip we discover Chicago. With a stroll at Navy Pier the heart of Chicago main attraction was covered well enough. The Children Museum, The River Walk, The Cruise (close for season) and the Grand Theatre was all located under one roof. From the Millennium Park which located in between Navy Pier and Field Museum we portrait ourselves with Sears Tower. Currently known as Willis Tower was the higher building in the world before been superseded by PETRONAS Twins Tower in my beloved home country, Malaysia. Then we headed to the Burnham Park Harbor. John G. Shedds Aquarium, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and McCormick Place are all close by. In between them was the Soldier Field the home of Chicago Bear, National Football Conference (NFC) team of National Football League (NFL). Since my kids were tired and it’s late we grab a taxi to get back to Ohio House Motel.
February 13, 2010. As early as 07:00 hrs I rent a car which was a Mazda 626 for the rest of my stay in the US. The fuel price range from $2.70 to $3.10 a gallon throughout my 50 rented days. We geared up ourselves and droves around Chicago. Water Tower, City Hall and Civic Opera House were visited before we went south to Mount Vernon, Indiana. We used I-57 S and took an exit 190 to Charleston. Before that we took a rest at exit 212 Tuscola for Tangiers Factory Outlet stroll. From Charleston we drove through Hwy 130 and then exit to I-64 W before we took our final exit to Mount Vernon via Hwy 69. We arrive Mount Vernon at around 19:00 hrs. With a non-stop drive Chicago – Mount Vernon should have been a 6 hours driving trip, since we took so many pit stop our journey end up with approximately 12 hours trip.
February 14, 2010. We drove around Mount Vernon and took a peek at SABIC–IP to ensure that I’m not late for tomorrow 1st day on duty for training in Mount Vernon, Indiana.
February 20, 2010. As the snow melted away I took my family south. To get away from hectic training days we went south as planned to Nashville, Tennessee. Using a new I-41 south between Evansville, Indiana and Hopkinsville, Tennessee then on I-24 S towards Nashville. We arrived in Nashville after 3 hours journey. In Nashville we visited LP Field home for American Football Conference (AFC) team Tennessee Titans. I then recalled the film by Denzel Washington. “Remember the Titan”, one of the inspiring movies which shows passion and determination. Then we visited the Court House, City Hall, Municipal Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame (Carrey Underwood was the latest Hall of Fame members), Hard Rock Café and the stretch street of Country Music (I believe Broadway Street). Within the street it’s full of a bar that’s having live band entertainment to entertain their patron with country songs all day long. Here too we visited the “Coyote Ugly” bar. Still remember the film? We also hop in Ryman Malls just nearby the Ryman Auditorium where all the great country singer gather and perform. After a long day enjoying country songs we nested ourselves at Americas Best Value Inn nearby the Hooters in I-65 N.
February 21, 2010. From Nashville and after a good night sleep in Nashville we headed north to Louisville. How’s you pronounce it “Luh-is Ville, Luh Ville, Lewis Ville” it doesn’t matter. While on I-65 N we drove in Lost River Cave just nearby the Mammoth Cave National Forest. What’s unique about the Cave is the river, it’s came from underground about 100 meter away from the cave mouth. We need to do boating to get into the cave and suddenly the River disappears again from our eyes. It was also believed that this cave was a hideout for Jesse James after he robs the bank years ago. A bar was also opened back in 50’s in the cave. What we notice this Colonel Sander land or this Blue Grass State have lots of cave to be visited.
Once arrived in Louisville we leisurely walk around. The Court House, City Hall, Muhammad Ali Center, The Kentucky Center of Performing Art, Louis and Clark Park, the Fourth Street, Hard Rock Café and Louisville Sluggers factory all is just within vicinity. The biggest bat in world is located here in Louisville Sluggers. With I-64 E ahead of us we went back to Mount Vernon, Indiana for my second week of training. The returned home trip took us 3 hours too to get back home.
February 24, 2010. St. Louis, Missouri. One of the photos that my brother portrait long time ago when he went around US for his summer break – the ‘Arch’ come across my memory. Well now it’s my turn. Even though out of nowhere the snow comes down, we headed west on I-64. We are on the way to St. Louis. Far before we went across the Mississippi River we saw the arch. We parked our rented 626 right below the “Arch” beside the Mississippi Rivers, where the Riverboat Cruises parked as season closed. Beside the Arch we also visited the City Hall just right below the Arch, St. Louis Cardinal home ground field of baseball Bud Light Stadium, Edwards Jones Dome the home of NFC St. Louis Rams, Central Library, Fox Theater, St. Louis Walk of Fame, Union Station and the Court House. Our journey in St. Louis ended with the chilling wind blowing that forced us to cover any bared skin that we have including our face.
February 25, 2010. Since we’ve been driving a long distance city for every opportunities it’s comes to a time for some relaxing journey. We’re going to Vincennes, Indiana where the history begun. Today in 1779 in this site of Vincennes, General George Rogers Clark and his comrades defeated British army which led to American Nation. In 1800 July 4th with Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota become Indiana territory, Vincennes was set as a seat of government. About 100 meter away from the site where British surrender to General Clark is the area where Abraham Lincoln for the first time at his 21st birthday in 1830 went across the Wabash River and enter the State of Illinois. Here, we also visited William Henry Harrison house the 9th president of America, Court House and Fort Knox II where General Clark camp before went on to attack British camp.
February 26, 2010. Before I went for a night watch or a graveyard working schedule, we took another round of trip. We went for Evansville, our neighborhood city just 20 minutes away from Mount Vernon. In Evansville we visited LST 325 a warship that was used in World War in Normandy Beach and stranded for 30 years in Greece. In November 2000 the old and original crew of LST 325 brought back the warship to US shoreline. The old man courage and determination brings tears to all of their comrades family members. Then we visited the Emtrac Museum, Evansville Museum, Korean War memorial, City Hall, 1890 Sheriff Residence and Jail, Sailors and Soldiers Coliseum and Bicentennial Tribute to the Tri-State of Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. Last but not least we visited Bosse Field the field for Evansville Otters a first division baseball team. The field also used for the film “A League of Their Own” with Tom Hanks, Madonna, Sally Field and many others as the stars.
March 4, 2010. Our aim is Indianapolis. Our second aim to fulfill our friends needs. Driving thru I-64 E and then I-65 N the journey suppose to end in 4 hours time take longer turn since we need to stop by Edinburgh on exit 80. Here we’re doing some shopping at Chelsea Premium Factory Outlet. Without any time wasted we ended our journey of the day in Indianapolis. Here we capture ourselves with the town center monument of war - The Indiana’s Silent Victors, Hard Rock Café, Ball State Center, Nordstrom, Chase Tower, Court House, Indiana World War Memorial, State Capitol Building, Eiteljorg Museum (American Indian Museum), Indiana State Museum, River Walk, Union Station and Lucas Oil Stadium the home of 2008 NFL Champions and 2009 AFC Champions Indianapolis Colts. The Colts did reach the Super Bowl for 2009 but unfortunately they lost. As it's getting dark, we when to Indianapolis Children Museum. With a gigantic dinosaurs roars out of the building it’s attract my two kids to enter and explore the museum from the inside. The Museum was separated into different categories. The Dino’s World, Take me there - Egypt, Bob the builder world, Barbies world, Science Center and Discoveries. In Dino’s World we all manage and able to touch the real dinosaur bone and chat with the paleontologist on duty that day. What a magnificent moment! On our way back we use I-70 W, Hwy-231 and Hwy-57 to reach Evansville and eventually Mount Vernon.
March 13, 2010. Why March 13, why not the day before he!he!....This is the crown jewel of our journey. This is what we have planned for even before we’re here in the Uncle Sam country. We’re heading to Buffalo, New York to see the wonder of the world – NIAGARA FALLS. Though the journey as Google maps information should take us only approximately 11 hours but due to the needs of our friends which were not fulfilled in Edinburgh we need to stop by a few places on our way to Buffalo. We move at 05:00 hours.
From Evansville we took I-64 to Louisville, then I-71 to Cincinnati. We’re supposed to take I-71 to Columbus but we took I-75 instead to Dayton to reach Monroe for another Chelsea Premium outlet. After some shopping, we went ahead to Lebanon to have a quick turn to I-71 to Columbus, for now we’re back on track. We’re fortunate that we stumble upon Jeffersonville on I-71 and there is another Factory Outlet. Up to now all needs and promises have been fulfill. After passing through Columbus and still on I-71 we are on our way to Cleveland. Maneuvering around Cleveland using I-271 and then took I-90 towards Erie, Pennsylvania we then entered the State of New York.
I-90 in New York is a toll highway, to Buffalo it’s cost us $4. We reached Buffalo at about 20:30 hours and reached Niagara Falls at 21:00 hours after 16 hours journey. We check in into Days Inn which is just a few hundred meters away from the falls and the custom borders of Canada. The night view was and is magnificent.
March 14, 2010. The next day we stroll around Niagara Falls. The view is incredible, with American Falls and Terrapin Point Horseshoe Falls. I’ll not forget this experience. After ½ day in Niagara Falls we gear up ourselves for Manhattan, New York.
With used of toll highway I-90 to Syracuse, it’s cost us $7.15; then I-81 to Binghamton and Scranton, Pennsylvania. We stop by Crossing Premium Outlet for stretching and food. Then we’re on I-80 to Jersey City, New York. After check-in in the Skyway motel we took a nap at 21:00 hours after about 7 hours driving and stopping.
March 15, 2010. New York, New York. After paying $8.00 toll to went through Holland Tunnel we reached Manhattan, New York. We parked our car for $39 for 10 hours. Our first destination is Battery Park. Why Battery Park? Simply because we need a ferry to commute us to the Liberty Island. Yes, it’s a Statue of Liberty. The lady is our first aim in Manhattan. The ferry also stops over Ellis Island, the island which was used by immigrant to stayed and been scrutinized. Their dreams is to come to the promise land. In Manhattan we walk through Broadway Street, 5th Avenue, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, City Hall, Grand Central Station, the Brooklyn Bridge and 9-11 WTC work site and memorial hall. Some of the places we used subway as the covered area was huge.
March 16, 2010. After completing an astonishing day in Manhattan a day before, we need to get back to Mount Vernon to continue my training in SABIC-IP. We use I-78, I-81, I-68, I-79 and I-64 passing thru Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky. We reached Mount Vernon, Indiana at 19:00 hrs. For our journey back we only stop by for fuel, food and nature’s called. Though our journey’s back was fast and furious we still enjoying the mountains view which was and is breathtaking especially in Maryland and West Virginia.
March 24, 2010. Last weekend was unforgettable, incredible and tiring. We decided to get another relaxing trip for this weekend. We went on for New Harmony, the first settlement for the German community in Indiana. The German built the town with all the difficulties but then sold their land to Scottish man. This Scot brings on his technocrat, aristocrat and scientist which bring New Harmony to a new level of living. Here we visit Harmony house (German), Owen house (Scottish), Community Hall and the Labyrinth (big maze). The town was peaceful and relaxed with total population less than 1000.
March 25, 2010. While at work I was told that one of the Phenol team members, which was also close to me had a massive land in the country side. He owned a land of 84 acres in Shawnee National Forest. Mike Hoehn did invite me and my whole family to give him a visit. Today is our opportunity to visit his property. At his home my family did try a lot of things. We try cowboy and cowgirl suit. We try the bows and arrows, the four wheelers and play with the horses. Pam, Mike’s wife prepares us smoke salmon, rice and salad. After lunch we took a deliberate walk around his property. Mike’s has two big ponds, two horses, a creek flowing 100 yard away his house, a beautiful cliff named Herod Bluff, a cabin right in the center of his property and 84 acres of forest. Mike also shows us around the Shawnee National Forest especially the Garden of the Gods. Since the time is not on my side we need to get home early so that I’m prepared for my night work. I promise to myself that I’ll come back to the Garden of the Gods to view its spectacular view. My time at Mike’s property was unforgettable; my whole family really enjoys the stay.
March 28, 2010. To fulfill my own promise three days ago, I came back to Shawnee National Forest and view the incredible Garden of the Gods. To get there I use Hwy 62, then Hwy 141 before turn south on Hwy 1. Once reached Karbers Ridge junction we went west the same way that we took to Mike’s home. The rock formation, the forest and the facilities was magnificent.
March 31, 2010. My last day training in Mount Vernon. For the rest of my colleague they will stay in Evansville till the day our flight off to Dammam. For me I’m going up north to Milwaukee, Wisconsin using the same route we came for the first time. We use Hwy 69, turn west on I-64, turn north on Hwy 130, north on I-57 and finally north on I-94. Since, my travelling needs to be stopped at Tuscola for Tangiers Factory Outlet for my family’s souvenirs and at Michigan Avenue, Chicago for my wife cosmetics needs we arrive at Milwaukee at 20:00 hours. On our way we found the replica of Pisa Leaning Tower in Chicago, with the same size and height. Upon arrival in Milwaukee we checked in at Howard Johnson Inn.
April 1, 2010. Going around Milwaukee. The birth place of Harley Davidson. Our first place was definitely Harley Davidson factory. Then we when on to Harley Museum, Lake Front, Museum of Art, Miller Brewing Factory, Markus Center of Performing Art, The PABST Theater, City Hall, River Walk, Bradley Center home of NBA Milwaukee Bucks, Children Museum, Court House, Public Museum, Open Market, Broadway Street and Miller Park home of MLB Milwaukee Brewers.
April 2, 2010. We’re further north to the home of the legendary Vince Lombardi. Yup! You heard me right we’re going to Green Bay using I-43 and after 2 hours drive from Milwaukee. We arrived at Lambeau Field the home for Green Bay Packers. The Super Bowl trophy was named after their great head coach Vince Lombardi. The only place in Green Bay that worth visiting is this field. You’ll go through the Packers Hall of Fame, the field and the pro shop. In Green Bay we also mingle around Ashwaubomay River Park and Green Bay Beach Park. We concluded our day at the park and returned to Milwaukee.
April 3, 2010. On our way back to Chicago we use I-94 and then took Hwy 41 to take us to the Six Flags. Though we know the park was closed for season and will only open in June for summer, I need to portrait myself there at least to fulfill my craziest dream. In Chicago we stop by Hard Rock to bought some stuff and later return my rented car at O’Hare International Airport in the afternoon. At 20:30 we board our flight back to Dammam.
Though I didn’t mention here how my training days were in Mount Vernon plant, technically it was a most wonderful moment. I admire the camaraderie that been develop among me and the SABIC-IP members. I’ve enjoyed every single moment that I’ve spent with them in the work place. I’ll not forget the hospitality that I received be it at the work place or at Mike’s home. Even Pam has treated us more than a family. I’ll treasure this trip more than ever as I enjoyed it very much. Can it be compared to my previous overseas training days all around the worlds only my trip journal can tell?
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