Day eight: Chicago

Trip Start Jul 07, 2006
Trip End Aug 13, 2006

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Last night it rained. It rained for the first time since we've been camping, and with all the warnings Diana and Stan have given us about making sure the camper is dry when you pack it up, I was paranoid all night long. I was wishing it would stop raining, or hoping it'd be really hot today so as to dry off the trailer while we were out. Alas, it rained and it stayed muggy and stormy for much of the day. I'm hoping it'll dry out tonight. We'll see, right?

We got going after listening to the parents next campsite over yell at their daughters for wearing their glasses to the showers. After spending a night in a KOA, I remember the sights and smells of camping from our family's trip so many years ago. I hope my parents weren't yelling at Buck and me like the parents of many of these young campers.

Anyway, we headed into the suburbs of Chicago, to do some sightseeing. Our first goal was to go into Glencoe and see if we could find some filming locations of Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. We got a little lost, but found the church where "she go get maddied to oily bo-hunk." Just down the street is a location from FBDO where Cameron goes berzerk. We've reenacted the film in the photos, of course. We ended up eating lunch at a small cafe called An Apple a Day. Brian and I both realized very quickly that we could barely afford just walking through this suburb. The food wasn't terribly expensive, but the atmosphere was... well, pretty disgusting. The ladies who were sitting next to us were talking about a friend of theirs who bought her house for $1 million, and sold it for $2.5 million, and planned to buy a $3 million home, which "would be pretty nice." Wow. I think it was then that Brian decided that he hated everybody in this town. The food wasn't all that great. On our way out to the suburbs, we had listened to another Killer Angels disc; the union just won the battle for Little Round Top. Brian reenacted the entire battle with a dessert that we ate, which helped me envision the battlefield... or just enjoy a tasty brownie.

We then headed to find a FedEx/Kinkos so I could fax in the last of my application for George Fox University's Doctorate in Education program. Tomorrow is the deadline, so I figured I ought to try my darndest to get it in so I could take classes in the fall. That was a huge ordeal, but it got done. After that, we tried to get back to the John Hughes memory lane, but Brian and I were both frustrated with the lack of information/good maps that we decided it was about time to get into Chicago.

And we thought that for the next hour as we fought our way to downtown Chicago. It was definitely about time. We traveled the equivalent of 15 miles in about an hour. We saw some interesting things, though, and to quote another John Hughes movie, National Lampoon's Vacation, "Kids, are you noticing all this plight?" We saw some wacked out folks who don't believe in crosswalks, and we heard a lot of horns honking. Brian thinks that folks drive with one hand on the wheel and the other on the horn. Other things we saw were a corner which we think is a shooting location from The Blues Brothers, and also the slanty building from Adventures in Babysitting.

When we finally got into the downtown area, we parked and walked, even though we weren't sure where we were going. We walked and walked and walked and came across the fountain from the Married, With Children intro. We wound our way to the Art Institute of Chicago. We got there about 4:40 or so, and the sign said it closes at 5:00 most days. We were disappointed until we heard from one of the security guards that on Fridays in the summer, admission is free from 5 to 9. How cool was that? We went across the street to a Bennigan's and got ourselves a snack. We went in to the museum and walked around and saw some beautiful pieces (but, unfortunately, not all that I wanted to see) and quickly got worn out. After touring for a couple of hours and seeing the big pieces, we walked up to the Sears Tower and saw Chicago at sunset. It was quite amazing.

We drove home on the toll expressways, which were a pain, but much quicker than the side streets we took going to Chicago -- it being almost 10:00 probably helped, too. We decided that when we head to Cleveland tomorrow, we're going to avoid Chicago if we can.

Thinking back on today, I realized that the stuff we appreciated most in Chicago came from our pop culture education. We love our TV and movies. Okay, so the art was pretty great, too. But our take on Chicago is one different that most folks would take. All in all, today was a fun day, which was was capped by some sad news. Brian and I just found out that one of our former students drowned while whitewater rafting earlier this week. She was a sweet girl, and she will be missed by many of students and staff. She was a youth leader in the LDS church and in the choir. She would have been a senior this year. We hope all of our friends and family are being safe... we are doing our best to be so.
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