4 Days in the US – Day 1 From Chicago to Fitchburg⁩

Another Long Man mission. Fly to Chicago and deliver some parts – have a few free days to explore – fly back. I like those kind of missions. Got a car for 4 days and booked a few nice hotels. Spring was late this year so it was not as green as I hoped for but it was a free trip so why complain?? First stop ‎⁨Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩ via Frankfurt and Chicago.

Stuttgart Airport
Stuttgart Airport – even a decent time of the day. Usually when I do this kind of trips I am on the first plane out of Frankfurt to Chicago which leaves at 07:25. That means get up at 03:00 – drive to Heilbronn – pick up the goods and race to Frankfurt Airport to get the flight.

Stuttgart Airport

Nobody looks really happy today
Nobody looks really happy today

Not a lot of leg room
Not a lot of leg room

Lufthansa A320-200

Loook! An Air Berlin plane!
Loook! An Air Berlin plane!

Off we go - the Albtrauf in the back
Off we go – the Albtrauf in the back

It is blue over the clouds
It is blue over the clouds. I really love it on a rainy day. You have a gray day and go in a plane – it takes off and gets over the clouds – voilà! Sunshine!!!

Look - LEGROOM!!
Look – LEGROOM!!

But it is only the shuttle bus in Frankfurt
But it is only the shuttle bus in Frankfurt

The plane is somewhere - we do a sight-seeing tour of FRA
Usually I do not like it when they ferry you with the bus to the plane. But this time it was different. The plane is somewhere out there – we do a sight-seeing tour of FRA 🙂

Quite interesting
Quite interesting to see the planes from this site

The back turbine
The back turbine

A United plane
A United plane

Finally in my United plane - a bit better than Lufthans on the way to Frankfurt
Finally in my United plane – a bit better than Lufthans on the way to Frankfurt

I want to be able to do that!
I want to be able to do that! Board a plane and fall asleep – how nice would it be. No waiting for the food, no looking for the next movie – only a cruise in dreamland.

Stupid Premium Economy - the exit row in front of me was empty but of course you have to pay for it. And so was most of the Premium Economy part of the plane as well.
Stupid Premium Economy – the exit row in front of me was empty but of course you have to pay for it. And so was most of the Premium Economy part of the plane as well.

Vegetarian lunch
Vegetarian lunch

The wine was not really drinkable - the beer was!
The wine was not really drinkable – the beer was! I had two young Germans in my row. They where on the way to Vegas. And they had a few 1000 to blow. But no clue about beer. Lucky for me they wanted German beer – Warsteiner – one of our TV Beers – so more birds for me 🙂
The flight attendant was German and did look at me like I had a funny hat on – why would you drink American beer? Well she accepted my explanation with the TV beer and handed me a Goose. I told her later that this is a really good beer – much better than Warsteienr if you ask me. Turns out she does not drink beer in the first place.

But they only had a few of the birds so I had one of them as well
But they only had a few of the birds so I had one of them as well

Watched a few movies
Watched a few movies

Snack before touchdown in Chicago
Snack before touchdown in Chicago

Closer to Chicago
Close to Chicago

Close to Chicago
Closer to Chicago

Chicago

Immigration at O’Hare International Airport – the longest I had to stand in line was OVER 3 hours!! That was with the morning flight when a lot of planes come in. Now they have a different system with a lot of machines. Scan the passport, do this do that – do not smile for the picture and whatever. Since I brought some sample I marked the custom form for the goods. After that is was waiting waiting and waiting but not 3 hours more like 45 minutes. Finally it was my turn and I had to explain two times what I bring and after that I had my stamp and was off to customs. They X-Ray the bag and Adios! Good! Germany booked a car for me – at Hertz. So you go out and wait for the shuttle bus to bring you to the rental office.

  • Enterprise 11 times
  • Avis 10 times
  • Thrifty 10 times
  • Alamo 10 times
  • National 9 times
  • Budget 8 times
  • Dollar 8 times
  • Hertz 0 times

WTF??? Somehow I should bring stuff to Fitchburg⁩ in ⁨Wisconsin and not look at the shuttle buses from other rental companies! I see one upstairs – hmm since I waited now more than 30 minutes why not try upstairs at departure? – upstairs I go. Same same – but different! Now more National and Alamo and less Avis buses. I see one coming at arrival again. Running down like a rabbit runs from the fox I got in – let’s go and get the car!
Only 4 more customers in the bus – looks like I do not have to wait today. Ha Ha Hertz had a dirty trick up their sleeve! I dunno how they did it but there where about 25 customers in front of me. Hmmm they might send only one shuttle every 40 minutes or so – this way the line will not be all the way out of their office. Another hour and some minutes pass and finally I get the keys.
The nice thing with renting in the US is that you can choose your car at the parking lot. You rent a class and go and see what parks there. If you have time you even wait a bit if something better comes in. Lets see – I need a nice color and something I fit into. USB etc they all have so no need to check that. In the end I opted for a KIA with 349 miles on the clock. Who does not like the smell of a new car?

Finally in the rental car
Finally in the rental car

My ride for the next few day - a KIA whatever. Lots of plastic but it drives well
My ride for the next few day – a KIA whatever. Lots of plastic but it drives well. I was a bit confused about the toll system here. The last times I paid cash but some of the toll stations do not have an option to pay cash. And I had next to no coins as well so I stopped at a gas station to get something to drink and coins. Just in case. Next both I put my coins a man who worked there told me the car has an I-PASS thing on the windshield. You can open and close it and decide if you want to pay with it or with your credit card or cash. Ok – good to know….
There was not too much traffic and I got into ‎⁨Fitchburg a bit after 18:00.

Fitchburg⁩

Had to bring the samples to two technicians waiting for them in the
Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg. They where happy and I was tired. Of course there where no room booked for me but I was too lazy to find something else so I checked in the Wyndham. Nice place next to a small mall. So no need to take the car to get some food. To tired to go to a restaurant that has some vegetarian options anyhow.

Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩

My room at the Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩
My room at the Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg⁩, ⁨Wisconsin⁩

Mini Bar, Microwave, Coffee Maker and an Ice Cooler
Mini Bar, Microwave, Coffee Maker and a Ice Cooler – looks like I need that little ice cooler later!

Sink opposite of the bathroom
Sink opposite of the bathroom

The bathroom
The bathroom – no space for a sink there.

If you ever go to Fitchburg⁩ use my affiliate link and stay at the: Wyndham Garden Madison in Fitchburg

Went over the street and scouted for some dinner options. Hmm took me the longest time in front of that fridge!
Fuck - which one?
Fuck – which one?

The choice for today. Hummus, Avocados, Bananas and Baguette. And - BEER!
The selection for today. Hummus, Avocados, Bananas and Baguette. And – BEER!

House of Cards in real :-(
House of Cards in real 🙁

Here you find day 2: 4 Days in the US – Day 2 From Fitchburg⁩ to Mukwonago
Here you find day 3: 4 Days in the US – Day 3 From Mukwonago to Libertyville

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From Stuttgart to Frankfurt to Bangkok

The last gray and cold day of 2015 in the afternoon I boarded an ICE to Frankfurt main station. There the tram to Römer and from there it is only a few more steps to Alexandra’s place. We did spend the last evening with food and wine. Walked down to the Main river a few minutes before midnight to see some fireworks. It was really foggy and loads of drunk people letting off loads of firework. Really nothing I did miss the last 20 or more years. The next morning we had breakfast and then it was time to take another tram to the main station and a S-Bahn to FRA.
Went really early to try for an exit row seat and it did work. Than I walked back to the FRA train station and had lunch at REWE.
The last good beer for a few months – and a nice option to kill some time before the first leg of the flight.

Train to Frankfurt
On the ICE from Stuttgart to Frankfurt. Most of the time a mix of white and gray clouds. Some rain from time to time. Makes it easy to say Adios Germany

Frankfurt Airport - Last good beer before Asia
In front of the REWE supermarket in FRA airport. They do have a nice buffet, loads of bread, refreshments and a wide selection of things you might left home and need the last minute for your trip

Frankfurt Airport - Another gray day
View from my exit row seat on board of flight Vietnam Airlines 36. A Boeing 787 Dreamliner that was fairly new. About 8.750 km or 10h 35m to the capital of Vietnam

Above the clouds - blue sky!
Above the clouds – blue sky!

Air Vietnam vegetarian meal
My vegetarian meal on the flight from Frankfurt to Hanoi

Hanoi airport - as gray as Frankfurt
Landed at 6:00 in Hanoi. That leaves 3 hours to find the next gate and browse the Duty Free. The sky as gray as Frankfurt but the temperature was 20 degrees more. Boarding at 8:30 and one hour later flight Vietnam Airlines 611, an Airbus A321 was in the air for another 970 km or 1h 50m for the second leg to Bangkok

Heart shaped river in Bangkok
Looks like a heart – what a nice welcome to Bangkok

Rriver in Bangkok

Over Bangkok
Might be shrimp farms?

Over Bangkok

Bangkok City Bus
On the way to Mochit Bus Station for the night bus to Udon Thani

Cold Leo beer
And a long day waiting it was. And the bus station is pretty boring only 7/11 food or some meat options. You have to walk to the outside of it to find a place with nice food and cold beer. Why not – there is even some sun and sky to see?