Wisconsin River vs. Chicago River

By: Jay Frazier

The Wisconsin River @ the Lone Rock bridge; Lone Rock, WI

The Chicago River
@ the Magnificent Mile
Chicago, IL

This week I had the opportunity (not sure that’s the right word)to visit downtown Chicago for a few days. I stayed at the south end of the Magnificent Mile known for its 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 51 hotels, and a host of sightseeing and entertainment spots. It boasts more than 22 million visitors annually so I was just one of the crowd gawking at the craziness.

While this isn’t somewhere I would normally hang out, I’m working on getting my Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) designation through the Realtors Land Institute and doing so requires taking classes. One part of the curriculum is a 3 day class called Land Investment Analysis which is offered in Chicago. It seems strange to take land classes in the ‘windy city’ but there’s a Realtor building there so that’s where we landed.

The big city was definitely a culture shock but it gave me more of an insight as to why people want to invest in rural property. It’s a big change going from a place where there’s not a stop light within 15 miles to a place where you have to wait for a stoplight to tell you to cross the street. There isn’t any on- street parking so most people park their cars in a ramp (at $30. per day) and walk everywhere but the traffic still appears to be endless. Besides nearly everything costing 40% more than I’m used to, the most irritating thing for me was the incessant around the clock emergency vehicles with sirens and horns blaring. Even at 20 stories up in my motel room, they would still wake me up.  Needless to say, after class on Wednesday I was more than ready to head for Southwest Wisconsin.  After 3 days of looking down at the Chicago River I was very happy to see the Wisconsin River framed by the green hills of the Driftless Area. When I got out of my car I heard birds singing and realized I hadn’t heard a birdsong in almost a week!

I’ve always said that you couldn’t pay me enough to live in a big city and I still haven’t changed my mind. It struck me as I traveled how animal rights activists make a big issue out of not penning up cattle and making sure their chickens are “free range” yet are perfectly happy to pen themselves up in a confined space with millions of other people!

To each their own but personally I’ll take the Wisconsin River any day!

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