Cars, Bikes, Breakfast, Feet and Deep Dish

Trip Start Nov 10, 2009
Trip End Dec 18, 2009

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Where I stayed
The Depot Diner

Flag of United States  , Illinois
Saturday, November 14, 2009

After rising and exiting the tony Red Roof Inn I took the advice of Laake's and headed to The Depot Diner.  I should have been having breakfast, It was around 11:00 am but, it felt like 10:00 am because it was Central Time.

Yes, I should have been having breakfast but, their specialty is the Open Face Turkey Sandwich so I really didn't have a choice. Here's a bit on the place

The sandwich was incredible.  It hit the spot in a way that few such delicacies do.  The turkey was tender and the cranberry sauce was divine.  There was something different about it, perhaps it was the real cranberries.  I don't know.  I had nice chat with the counter keep who was an attractive Nubian goddess with a pendant that read "Juicy" (I can't make this stuff up). 

I really wanted to have the home made little chocolate dipping donuts but, was too full to try. 

The diner was in a not so hot section of town but, was well worth the trip.  Nubian.  Yeah, that's right. 

After this jaunt I decided to hit the lake.  I'm writing this but, as I remember it I'm not sure where the heck I was going.  I knew I was going to explore the city but, the GPS did not jibe with Chicago's tall buildings so I think I picked the City Segway Tour location but, missed it and ended up at Navy Pier on Lake Michigan (HOMES...I think this was Lake Michigan).  I parked my car on the 13Th floor of an Illinois street parking tower and took my bike off its rack for the first time on this trip.

I first thought I'd take the elevator down to the lobby and begin my ride around the pier and the lake and then I thought, I'm riding the damn bike.  So I went down 13 stories on my Cannondale.  Around and around and around and around and around (repeat 7 more times).  I got to the bottom and wondered why I was coughing so much.  It wasn't the "black lung" but, the ventilation in that place was by no means strong. 

I rode along Navy Pier among a throng of Saturday pier walkers down to its end.  At that point I hopped off the bike and layed down on the picnic table for a while.  I had the Ipod on the sun in on my face and was drifting into complete relaxation.  A few minutes later I started to hear some conversations and I'm a great listener-in-er.  Thank you Metro North Improv for helping me improve such skills of detection.  There was an exercise we did years ago where 3 people had to tell you 3 different stories at the same time and the job was to understand and repeat back the stories.  Not easy work at all.  The Ipod remained blaring when I picked up a conversation of 3 U.S. Navy Officers.  They probably weren't officers but, were they sailors or Navy Men I do not know.  One was commenting on his job of raking the barren courtyard.  He described raking the dirt around (there were few leaves) then said "It's really relaxing, I felt like I could do this all day and life would be good"  He and his buddies were debating where to go for lunch.  One of them had his mind set on Giordano's.  His friends chided him because that was the only place he wanted to go in Chicago and off they went.  A few minutes later I chased them down and engaged in some Kung Fu combat.  I knocked two of them our cold with a roundhouse kick to the back of the head and an elbow to the face.  The other one I put in a sleeper-hold until he "went to sleep".  Then I kept riding my bike.  None of that actually happened I just wanted to see if anyone was paying attention. 

After the Navy guys left and I didn't fight them I took my bike around to the backside of the pier shops to the entry of the pier and parked it.  I took a walk through the shops and realized that this was indeed like Baltimore's Inner Harbor on steroids and HGH.  Lots of shops designed for the souvenir hungry traveler.  I moseyed through the shop and checked out some sunglasses.  I'm traveling without shades so far, not a wise choice.  I didn't find a pair I liked so I went on the Ferris Wheel (because that's the natural reaction when you don't find sunglasses you like, find he nearest Ferris Wheel right?) .  Ferris Wheels have somehow found a way to scare the hell out of me.  I'm sure it is the lack of control over those mechanisms and the fact that they always publicize the amusement part tragedy.  I got a great view of the city and about 3 minutes of terror when I though the wheel had ceased working.  It was an optical illusion.  It was moving the whole time. 

I left Navy Pier and rode my bike down Lakeshore Drive taking in the sights along the way.  Boat races, bikers, in-line skaters, kites, dogs and tourists, tourists, tourists.  I was excited for the exercise and being out in the sun.  Towards the end of the first leg of the ride I pulled off and layed out on an embankment.  It was right close to the shore and again I took in the sun and Ipoded out. 

At this point the sky was darkening a bit and I was about 12 miles from the car park.  I turned my bike around and pedaled back to the car.  It was a good ride and Lord knows I needed the exercise. 

This was a decision point.  To elevator or to climb the 13 stories by bike.  I pedaled skyward and got some great looks from the parkers and departers as I hunkered down on my pedals.  I re-racked the bike and realized I hadn't paid for parking.  Down the elevator I went to pay and then back up and out.  A few more coughs in between.

Next it was time for dinner.  I wanted pizza.  Deep dish Chicago pizza.  Gino's East it was.  When you enter the place you get the experience of a chain style restaurant with a little more authenticity.  I went to the bar and watched some college football and then the bartender approached.  "Have you ever been here before?" he asked.  "No"  I replied.  "It's a deep dish pizza and takes about 45 minutes to make, is that OK".  "Sure" I said (the employment of the word "sure" is something I learned from Jack Greenwood many years ago, a very succinct, friendly affirmation that really can't get you into too much trouble...most of the time).  I consulted with the barkeep who recommended the supreme which is mushrooms, onions, peppers and your choice of pepperoni or sausage.  I asked if they made their sausage on site.  That they did made the choice of sausage much easier.  The next choice was crumbled or a thin layer of sausage between the cheese and the rest of the toppings.  He recommended the layer.  The pizza was wonderful.  It's kind of like chicken pot pie without the chicken and made Italian style, without all the other ingredients of CPP and replaced with high end sauce and goodness.

I ate the whole thing.  This doesn't usually happen they say.  I attribute it to the bike ride and the stress of traveling.  My appetite is enormous right now.  I feel like Charles Bukowski and a liquor store but, then again...I suck at drinking so.  The newness of everything creates a certain hunger that results in big chows.  I'm already looking for gyms on the way.  I loved losing all the weight and want to make sure the waistline doesn't get crazy.  No one likes a dude with the figure of a lowercase "b". 

I left Gino's ready for sleep but, needing to get north.  I hit the highway and after several quarrels with my GPS was on my way to Greater Milwaukee.  The damn GPS in Chicago...Lead me in circles twice.  Heeeash!

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