Leaving Wisconsin behind we drive into Illinois, more specifically Waukegan. In attendance for our wedding in 1960, we had a little 5 year-old girl that found her way from Evanston (Chicago), Illinois with her parents, Louise’s Aunt Josephine and Uncle Bill. Well we thought it would be great to stop in and say hi to Peggy while in the area. Unfortunately their daughter was in Arizona going to school so we didn’t get a chance to meet her, but meeting husband Bob and son’s Luke and Matt, along with seeing Peggy again was well worth the stop.
Again it was a chance to learn a little more about the family, current and the past… Arriving in the Chicago area presents a little problem for those of us that would like a place to park the RV for a few nights, especially with an electrical hook-up. We did find a nice campground about 45 miles away from Chicago, and we did stay for a night, but with a little more checking we found an Elks Club within 12 miles of “The Loop”. They had a 20 amp electrical plug we could use but with the weather being so hot and sticky (90-101) we couldn’t use our air-conditioning units to even half their ability. To use too much electrical power to run our air-conditioners might mean we would blow a breaker…to blow a breaker after everyone was gone meant we would go through the night VERRRY WARM…and that’s not what we wanted. IT WAS HOTTT !!! We did make it through two nights, and it was because of the closeness to Chicago that made it worth the uncomfortable temperatures in the coach. Everything we’ve read and heard about Chicago made it sound like it was “The” city to see and explore, and since we’re here, we’re ready… A quick thought about riding the metro (train) vs. driving our car into Chicago was won over when we found that we could pick up a parking spot for the car, IN TOWN for $20 and right where we want to be to grab a ride on the “Jump-on-Jump-off” site-seeing bus. We LOVE the “Jump” Double Decker sightseeing buses and we use them to our advantage every time we get the chance. After driving the side streets and freeways to “The City” we found our way to The Navy Pier.
Standing right on the lakeshore (it seems funny to call it a lake, it feels like and looks like we’re standing at the shore of one of the oceans…) and jutting out into the lake on a pier, with a large amusement park, more restaurants and bars than you can count, and an unmatched view back into the city. After checking out a couple of the vendors we purchased our tickets for the bus. After making a choice of seats (there were only 3 to choose from) on the top and getting the camera ready, we head off into the city.
There was a little bit of history mentioned to us but the main topics were the buildings, and they were impressive. I remembered a statement from reading a Rick Steves book on traveling through Europe, “don’t forget to look up, some of the best sights are there”… That suggestion runs true here as well.
I can’t tell you how many times we got off and on the red bus throughout the day but on the second stop we got off for lunch AND a view from the sky… The John Hancock Building has a restaurant and bar on the 96th floor so we hopped on the elevator and WHISSSHHH we were there. We decided to have lunch in the bar (a much better value for us penny-pinchers). Surrounded by floor to ceiling, wall to wall windows this bar gave us the view of the city we looking for.
Louise also heard that the “ladies room” had a special view from each stall. Yep she says it’s true, one of the walls of the stall was nothing but window, 96 floors high. Throughout the city we were shown some really great pieces of art and one was just placed…Marilyn Monroe.
Obviously she was getting a lot of attention, especially from the men. One of our other stops turned out not to be what we expected. The Aquarium was hyped up to be one of the best in the country but we unanimously disagree with all that hype. I’ll leave it there without any further statement. Well it’s been a very hot and full day and there seems that the only thing that we (I) had left on our (my) agenda was to have an official “Chicago Dog” and the place that was suggested to us for this official dog was “The Wiener Circle” in north Chicago…I wasn’t totally disappointed but… Over all we did have a great time in Chicago and we would love to come back !!!