Thursday, January 24, 2008

BRRRRRRR...Madison is really cold!

-1 Degree. -11 Windchill. Boy do they make it cold here in Wisconsin. Why haven't we figured out a way to bottle up that cold air and pump it back into our houses during summer?

Lessons from this trip:

#1. Don't fly through Chicago, no matter how much you like to see rows and rows of 777's and 747's (i'm a airliner buff). Everyone else I talked to who connected in Cleveland, Detroit, or Minneapolis to get to this conference actually landed at the Madison airport. I did not. United wasn't able to get me here Thursday night and instead of staying at Megan's Uncle's house until the next morning when I did have a confirmed flight, I actually hopped on a bus that brought me to Madison three hours later. Crazy I know, but it was only a one block drag (I have my rollerboard suitcase) across the snowy sidewalk to my hotel.

#2. It is darn cold in Madison Wisconsin. It is ice-immediately-forms-on-your-nose-hairs cold. To my friends in High School, yes, you know how cold it really is here in Madison. Colder than a _______. I'll let them fill in the blank. Usually you think of snow as being wet. Not here-- the snow has a texture similar to styrofoam since it is so cold and so dry.

#3. Lakes. I finally got to see Lake Mendota, made famous to me in my limnology class at Miami University. It seemed like every scientific paper I read on lakes was either completed on Lake Mendota or compared their results to a study of Lake Mendota. I can see why the University is so famous for lake studies, since the campus is smack dab right against the lake. I even saw a bored looking college student shuffling snow around on the ice this afternoon as I was listening to a presenation.

#4. Madison is great little town. A jammed packed little town. Since the town sits on an isthmus between two lakes, space is at premium. Many of the buidlings in the area, including my hotel,are 6-8 stories tall. There don't seem to be any skyscrapers here either. State street is lined with cutesy boutiques, ethnic restaurants, and your typical college student stores--outdoor gear, college sweatshirt joint, bike shop, camera store, and art supply place. Oh yeah, and a cool looking old time movie theater.

So that's all I have, the conference has been great so far, I've gained quite a bit of insight into what other states are doing as far as mapping invasive plants go. I feel like today was a crash course to catch me up with the past 10 years or so of things that have been going on, and my brain was a bit frazzled. A nice walk down State Street in the -1 degree temperatures took some of the edge off. Did I mention it was cold here?



  1. Come back to freezing cold Ohio soon!

  2. I lived in Fond du Lac, midway between Madison and Green Bay, for 3 years. -1 isn't that cold. Wait for the -15 and below to hit. That's cold. My first winter up there we had a 2 week stretch where the warm day was -2.

    One correction, the locals prefer the term "snot freezing cold" to describe the feeling you had in your nose. It's something you don't get to experience very often here in Ohio.

  3. I went to UW-Madison back in 1982, one of the coldest winters on record. The coldest night that year was -56F. So cold that water froze before it hit the ground. Way cool (er, cold)

  4. Congrats! Warm the temp up 5 degrees, squint your eyes down State Street and you've just visited Ann Arbor. We're Madison's doppelganger, we just don't get to be the state capital.

    If you ever have reason to come to a conference in this Big Ten city, let us know!

  5. Wow that is cold! I'm not surprised about your airport situation, Chicago has one of the worst records.
    I'm watching your bird cam right now at relaxing!

  6. Update on the bird cam:
    I'm literally watching the sun set in Ohio, which is cool because it is cloudy and snowing right now in Chicago!

  7. My niece lives in Madison. I don't hear her ever mention the cold. But she pretty much grew up there, so she's probably used to it.

    If it's any consolation, it's darn cold in Ohio right now, too.

  8. Megan-

    I'm back. Finally, I'm back. And I never thought that 24 degrees Fahrenheit would feel comfortable, but it did last night.


    Thanks for watching the cam. I had gobs of trouble last night getting into O'Hare and getting back to Columbus, but I did make it. I just want to add that on my trip, I only boarded one of my scheduled flights, the leg from Columbus to Chicago. This flight was three hours late arriving. I chose bus over plane for the second leg of the trip. Last night, coming back to C-bus, I hopped on an earlier flight which was also delayed, and once I got to Chicago, I boarded yet another "early" flight, which got me back to Columbus a whole hour after I was originally scheduled to land.

    Erik- It was so dry there that there was no snot in my nose that could have frozen, but I can see that if you had a cold, all the snot would freeze and you would start to have some micro-glacier action going on in your sinuses and nostrils.

    Lucy- Ok, that is ridiculously cold. I can't even begin to imagine how cold that must feel.

    Kylee- I talked to a few Madisonians in a very cool used book store and they jokingly told me that everybody complains in Madison about the cold and snow....they said it almost like they were embarrassed to complain but it also gave them a pretty good chuckle. I love Wisconsinites. Very cool people, and I love to listen to them talk.

    Beth- I've only passed through Ann Arbor and noted that the campus looked very stunning. Some time I will make it back there again!


  9. Conferences can be overwhelming. I attended a day one with a dentist I worked for and he fell asleep and knocked over the projector. I was the one taking notes! LOL

    Hugs, JJ

  10. JJ-

    That is incredibly funny, especially since my father in law is a dentist and he takes his office to a conference every once in a while!