-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?