One day in Chicago

Trip Start Jun 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 13, 2010

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Where I stayed
leisure lake campground

Flag of United States  , Illinois
Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We decided to leave Port Clinton and start being tourists again. We took our time checking out of the site and weren't on the road until after 11. We didn’t pull into Joliet, IL (near Chicago) until around 7pm. We screwed around and made a lot of stops on the way turning a 4 to 5 hour drive into a 7 or 8 hour drive, as usual. We’re always doing that and Vonnie knows it so she works it into our itinerary. She is the navigator and she will say something like…. "It says we should be in Chicago around 3:30 so that means we’ll be there around 7 the way that we travel." I get side tracked as we’re driving and I always want to stop and see something.

I needed to locate a place that would put some tires on my trailer. I need 2 tires. (Upon further inspection I had noticed another tire that is pretty badly worn.) No one has them. I pulled into several places and, because they are a special trailer tire, (“ST” rated) not an ordinary truck tire, no one stocks them. I had a good spare and I’ve been using it for 1000 miles or more but I’m still a little concerned and need to get this taken care of. So, knowing we would be there in a few days, I finally called ahead to a Camping World in the Minneapolis area. After playing phone tag all day I was finally able to have these guys order tires from their distributor and made an appointment for this Friday to have them mounted. What a pain in the ass. I’m in RV country here. They’re almost all made in the Indiana area. We even passed a RV Museum on the highway and I can’t locate a set of tires!

The trip is winding down. We’re trying to make it into Grants Pass OR by the 7th to visit all my family that lives there. That’s in less than 2 weeks! We have a handful of things we would like to check out on the way so they will be quick stops. No more hanging out for 3 or 4 night somewhere.

Chicago has been a place we were planning on visiting from the beginning for obvious reasons. Unfortunately we had only a day to check it out. So we hit a few of the basics. My friend Mike visits here a lot on business so he gave us some tips.

We drove the truck right into downtown and parked it all day in an underground garage. It costs around $30 but still cheaper than taking the train from Joliet. After getting some Chicago Dogs for lunch, our first stop was The Chicago Art Institute. It was awesome. I didn’t expect to see this stuff here. (nor did I know the place existed).    I figured the DC gallery was “the one” but this place has so many of the masters here and is a “must” to see if you are in Chicago (maybe better then DC). Unlike DC, it cost some money ($18) to visit but well worth it. I was stoked and took some video clips of some of the rooms, like the van Gogh room. Amazing collection here. Also, in one of the wings we were viewing artifacts and pieces of art some 3000 years old! We took lots of pics here, especially Violet. All of the rooms have these gadgets running in the corner that is measuring and tracking the air quality. I should have gotten a pic of one, but the machine looked like something that tracks earthquakes. It has a little needle that runs back and forth on this scroll of paper. (Sorry. Got side tracked.) Each piece had some sort of statement or write up mounted next to it describing the history, owner of the art, artists intentions, etc…. It makes the work even more interesting and the DC gallery lacked that….I thought. From here we walked the lake front out to the Navy Pier. This is a big pier with lots of amusement park stuff, shops, galleries and restaurants and pubs. Kind of like Pier 39 back in San Francisco. We had a couple of beers here and walked to the end and back. Standing at the edge of this lake, it’s so massive, you really get the feeling you are at the ocean. You can catch a boat tour here that might take you out on the Lake Michigan or up the river. We caught a water taxi ride that took us up the river into the downtown. It dropped us off at the Willis Tower. (It used to be called Sears Tower.) I’m thinking I read that, if you include the height of the antennae on the roof, at 1730’, this is the tallest building in the world. They allow you (with the price of admission) to go up to the Skydeck, 108th floor I think, at 1350’ up. A super fast 60 second elevator ride! Here you can walk out onto one of the four small glass bottom box ledges protruding out of the side of the building about 4 or 5 feet. So creepy. (Check the pics.) It just feels so wrong to step out onto this thing. You can see, we’re pulling Vi onto the deck in one of the pics. Then we talked her into laying down on it for another pic.

After our visit to the Tower, it was after 7 and we wanted to get some “Chicago Style” pizza for dinner. I had been asking locals all day what is the best pizza in town and they all gave me different answers. There are about 4 or 5 major chains here and we chose one (Giordano’s). It’s one of the many places that does the Chicago style stuffed crust pizzas. The thing is about almost as thick as a quiche or cheesecake. Probably more calories than both of those put together. A person can only get about one of these slices down before it’s game over. (see pic). We boxed up the rest and took it back to the camper. It’s a 40 or 50 minute drive back to camp and we were home around 10 or 11. Great city. Long day.
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Mom on

Sounds like a full day...I went to the Navy Pier with Holly, too bad you didn't have time to meet any of your German relatives there. they all want to meet you.
Happy trails!

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