Stage 4 - Chicago

Trip Start Aug 29, 2009
Trip End Sep 26, 2009

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Where I stayed
Hampton Inn & Suites

Flag of United States  , Illinois
Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday 05/09/09

Early start, checked out at 8:00am, filled up with fuel and headed for Chicago. We stopped in Woodstock for some breakfast, I had a big fat Belgian waffle and an extra large coffee and then took control of the Dodge for the next big stint.

We had to queue for about an hour at customs leaving Canada, another interrogation by the dude there who also stole all our fruit that we got from the roadside the other day. I just think he was a bit hungry. So, now we're into Michigan (MI - State 7) Squeak, we later found out, smuggled some bananas across the state line. Sticking it to the man squeak, I like it!

345 miles and an empty tank later, it was time to pull over and refuel. We stopped in Scottdale, grabbed some more snacks, handed the keys to General and off we went on out merry way. Then into Indiana (IN – State 8). A few toll charges later and we were in Illinois (IL – State 9).

Not too much later we arrived at out hotel in Chicago, the Hampton Inn & Suites, Chicago-Downtown. We decided to park next door as it was half the price of the Hampton Inn valet. We went for a swim, sauna and Jacuzzi in the hotel before heading out for some food.

We were advised to visit 'Ginos East’ for some food, an interesting and very busy little place. We then made a mistake of epic proportions; a slight, or rather catastrophic, miscalculation of the size of the pizzas would follow. We later discovered that a small deep dish would normally be enough for 2 people, 2 Americans at that. Between the 5 of us, we had ordered 3 small pizzas and 1 large! Needless to say, most of this food returned home with us, which later came in handy for breakfast, lunch and dinner the following day.

Sunday 06/09/09

After breakfast at the hotel we headed off into town for some Chicago sightseeing. We passed a few local monuments and then got on a boat for a 90minute tour which took us from the Wrigley building down towards the Sears Tower, which has now been renamed the Willis tower it turns out, and then back again.

After that, Squeak and Spy wanted to get culturalised so went to the cultural centre. So, me, Weffy and General, who felt less of a need to be culturalised, went to Starbucks, General also bought some Blues CD’s from a local music shop. After this we all went to look at the big shinny bean, which I guess was kinda cool. Following this, we all went our own ways for the rest of the Day.

Me and Weffy went for a walk around Millennium Park and then found some rather odd waterfalls that had video display in them. After that we headed for the Sears Tower. On the way we found lots of film crews, turns out they were shooting a Buick commercial and had closed off a few of the roads. I was hoping for some mental burnouts, hot chicks and explosions, but instead there were just people walking past the car, all rather dull, I won’t be buying one. Once we got to the tower, we queued for about 30 minutes to get into a lift, then another 10 minutes to get tickets, then, we queued again for about 20 minutes to catch a freight lift up to floor 99. After that we caught another lift to floor 103. Anyway, finally, we got to see the city, and it was quite an impressive view. They also had some glass boxes, with a glass floor, which protruded from the top of the building to give and even better view. After a few (dozen) photos, it was back into another queue to get out of the tower!

We finally got back to the hotel at about half 6. We got a touch lost and ended up catching a taxi, who also got a bit lost and had to stop the meter. We went down to the pool for a bit, chilled and did some laundry, as I was down to my last pair of pants. We then heated up some pizza, watched some baseball. I updated the blog and went to bed.

Monday 07/09/09

Labour Day today, so we had a lie in, and subsequently missed breakfast. So, after packing up our stuff, we checked out and headed off out to Cellular Field for the baseball. We caught a train from Grand to Sox-35th ($4.50 ea. Return) where we got off and picked up the tickets I had booked through Ticketmaster.

It was then time for some hot dogs and beers. Every so often we saw a bit of baseball being played. The Red Sox started off going 1 up in the first inning, and having won the previous day it was looking to be a similar story. The White Sox, ChiSox, then went 3-1 up in the third. The Red Sox almost got a grand slam in the 7th, but got stuck out. A home run from the ChiSox at the bottom of the 8th put them 5-1 up and was enough to seal the game. A good bit of fun, lots of entertainment at the park so highly recommended, unless you don’t like baseball of course!

After that it was a train back to the hotel, we picked up the bags and Weffy got behind the wheel of the Dodge for the start of the huge 934 mile stretch to Mount Rushmore.

We hit Wisconsin (WI – State 10) whilst it was still light so powered on through with the help of a bit of Sneaky Sound System.

After crossing into Minnesota (MI – State 11) the tiredness was starting to set in within the car, so we stopped at the Super 8 motel in Fairmont to catch a few Zeds.
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