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Ratz Carlton Milwaukee

Anonymous Coward
User ID: 78318214
United States
01/06/2020 08:28 PM
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Ratz Carlton Milwaukee
I'm paying a visit to the nicer part of town, where I concluded a day's treck and the sale of a bag of DVDs I hauled on my back all day. I got a dollar for them, and I joked about it with the girl at the check out, but she didn't see the humor in it.

This is the prickly character of the people at the Ratz side of town.

By "Ratz", I'm using the language I found in the graffiti along the trail.

The parts of the Hank Aaron trail that I'm more familiar with are more or less well maintained, and where it goes past residences it can be so much more than well maintained.

I particularly loved a place where the hillside right up to the trail was dressed up like a combination of Tom Sawyer's Island, a playground, a pirate ship, and a lumber camp. The sign said private property, and I agreed, even if it was encroaching mightily on the park. They were keeping the wild overgrowth under control and making their extended home in it. I didn't trespass or disturb it, although I spent a good piece of time admiring it. I want to see so much more of that sort of thing.

I admired the construction and environmental management under a whole system of highway overpasses and electrical stations. In fact, I was stuck on the trail for a good stretch of it there because access was restricted all around.

I came out in a neighborhood where the trail has been in some state of construction, or closed for years.

I crossed under an old railroad bridge that was heavily tagged with graffiti, and spotted the last of a tag I've seen all over downtown. Someone who misspells Treason as "Treasn". That was an elaborately drawn one, resembling a face, with a tear falling and the word "Hell" beneath it.

The kids thought the trail turned to hell.

I was eager to explore hell.

And I found some of it.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 78318214
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01/06/2020 08:47 PM
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I went on down that trail as it began to curve away South, well out of my way from the Grand Avenue of Bluemound Road.

I had my immediate impression of why the kids consider it hell. It was a problem common to parks when they run near vague areas between highways and large corporate developments. The trees and woods had been allowed to fall to ruins. There were vines, and fallen trees, but this was also marshy ground, part of a deliberate ecological approach. It looks scary to kids, but there was some work done in the park there. When I passed under the highway, it opened into beautiful fields with trees at intervals.

But the gnawed corpse of a full grown deer hanging by a rear hoof from the highway fence gave the place a distinct hell-like appearance.

I couldn't decide if every large tree in the field had so much brush growing up around it until it was nearly swallowed in thorns and vines was a deliberate ecological choice or lazy grass cutting going back a decade or so.

The pirate cove at Tom Sawyer's Island had one of those road sign posts like from an old "Road To" picture by Hope and Crosby. It gave directions to various places as far away as Baltimore.

One place was Narnia, and the spooky park had a water drain, decorated and splashed with graffiti. One label was Narnia, at least a mile from the pirate camp.

Kids did have little play areas set up in the almost impenetrable brush around those trees.

A couple of trees had deer stands, beautifully placed, and the grass in front of them was kept strategically cut to make it easy to retrieve deer, but to partially conceal the stands.

I'm sure those hunters are professional and there is no danger that they will hit the cars going by on the highway above.

It also explains why the sign at hell park specifies that it is only open dawn to dusk.

They don't want people lurking around those deer stands at night.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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01/06/2020 09:06 PM
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There was no apparent way through the park unless by following the river as it curved South. I made a wide swath, finding only people's back fences, and I decided to backtrack and come out behind some extensive playing fields and playgrounds.

There were some animal tracks and coyote droppings, but no kids were using any part of the parks, which didn't seem to be connected with any school. They were just on the edge of a very rich neighborhood.

A graffiti on the verge between the overgrown hell trail and the playing fields said simply "Change". But the words were all backwards and forward, so it wasn't clear what change was meant or what change was observed. The word was going both ways like past and future.

There were some nicely landscaped areas along the verges of those rich neighborhoods. One particularly nice area had a wide variety of pine trees and evergreen bushes, running along a long stretch, covering the backs of some big stores like Target.

I spoke to a man who said I had to go all the way back to Bluemound, which is a major artery, and at the same time a hotly contested area for development. The man told me that a huge corporate center blocked my way directly West, and it sure did.

Massive buildings sprung up there like mushrooms in recent years.

I had laugh over a sign of a supposed corporate name along the road.


I thought the rich homes directly across Bluemound, represented there by a sort of classy gated community fortress gate, must have thought exactly that about the corporate development across from them.

It was a sick itch to scratch.

But the corporation preferred to bill itself just that way. The woods between Bluemound Road were allowed to grow thick and trackless, while just beyond them were fancy, fancy, bodaciously fancy apartments, clustered around the impassable corporate center. Each floor was an entire apartment with floor to ceiling windows. Magnificent!

But not as old fashioned as the traditional houses and wooded castles on the other side of the road.


(Did I spell that right?)

Anonymous Coward (OP)
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01/06/2020 09:10 PM
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I spoke to some young Marines who were about to go off to boot camp.

(It was at the edge of some woods behind the closed recruitment center.)

I advised them to watch each other's backs at boot camp, and we compared notes on the tricks officers play to keep the troops alert.

I was Army. (long ago, when we still trained with maps and compasses.)
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 78176816
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01/07/2020 01:28 AM
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No replies.

I knew I could count on discretion.

I liked some art work I saw along the trail, not too far down the trail from the hell gate.

That last bridge is only a couple of hundred yards from the painting and the place where the trail deviates from strictly following the rail lines.

On the map, the trail is marked as trail and rail line.

The highways are engineered over it to allow a train to run the length of it.

And a massive bike spur has been constructed to go right up in the middle of the highways, but it is big enough to almost drive a small car on, and it could give access to a train station at that point.

We don't know what the future will bring, but the railroad retains the right of way to slap a light rail, or even a full rail in there.

An old rail bridge (still standing) from 1902, has just maybe inches more clearance than the lowest highway bridges, but I bet it doesn't make a difference.

The last bridge, which is bypassed by the trail, "hell's gate" Is an old wooden rail bridge, that looks as though it could bear the weight of a train. and any track there will need to continue into the large industrial and residential area, which also has a lot of truck yards.

Anyway, the painting.

It plays with perspective because to be as large as depicted, the bees and butterflies would have to be way in the foreground, almost buzzing and flapping around your face.

There is a silhouette of a man and his son on bikes, heading along the trail into the park.

There is a silhouette of a very proud, almost bending over backwards proud, woman, all dolled up for walkin', and looking pert, as she power-walks out of the park.

Nailed it! That's how most men and boys and women go through the park, and seldom as a whole family together.

What I particularly liked was the industry and construction part of the painting. It was the most imaginative and fanciful. It featured at least two workmen. (There was another significant figure in the last corner of the painting, but I've forgotten it.

There was a man with his back to the cross on a church climbing Jacob's Ladder.

The ladder led straight into the roofline, which continued up toward heaven as the thick green stem of a wildflower. Maybe it was some kind of orchid, with giant flowers hanging below it.

Flying above Jacob's Ladder was a giant Monarch butterfly.

Directly below, on the other side of the house from the ladder, was a workman taking mighty swings with a hammer at chisel at the foundation of the house.

Chopping away at Jacob's Ladder.


(One star!? It sure feels like old times.)