Chicago Marathon

Trip Start Sep 20, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Woke up before the alarm at 4:58am to the sound of bacon frying and the smell of fresh coffee brewing. A nice hearty breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon and OJ before our next stretch of driving. By the time we finished with our breakfast and goodbyes, it was 6:30 before we were on the road again in the dark, in the rain (which seems to be following us where ever we go).

We keep forgetting that although we are not working, other people are - we hit a little rush hour traffic trying to get into the Liberty Tunnel. But luckily we were driving slowly so we didn't miss the clean coal billboard.... perhaps someone can explain to me what's going on in this ad?!?

As you can expect, we've become quite the coffee guzzlers thus far. With only 4-6 hours of sleep a night and 8+ hours of driving a day, one needs a good solid caffeine buzz to keep ones eyes open. Well apparently the state of PA gets their coffee at gas stations because Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, or any other jitter station do not exist!!!  We were gettin the withdrawals right after the cross over the Indiana border when the traffic decided to come to a complete halt. It was basically a parking lot for 15 minutes before we started the 'crawl' for the next 10 miles. Then it just sort of opened up all of the sudden.... Now this may sound morbid but sometimes don't you wish you could see the cause of a traffic jam to justify it? An accident perhaps, or a dead cow in the road?? Something ?? Anything??!! There was nothing....of course.

Now here comes the climax of the drive - STARBUCKS!!!!!  (It's the little things that do it for us, really..) A quick fill up and 2 Venti Iced's and we're back onto the never ending highway through field-ville. I love 70 mile an hour speed limits - I just wish there was something to look at!

When you're doing so much driving, you are statistically more likely to be exposed to a larger quantity of idiots and bad drivers. It's so true - cut offs, snails, brake obsessors, road hogs, and truck sandwiches abound! I would say Indiana was by far the worst. Having 2 separate speed limits for trucks (60) and cars (70) makes for a frustrating drive.

So finally - after more freakin' road construction - we got into Chicago at about 2:30. Well actually, as Jesse and I were unaware, it was really 1:30. For some reason neither of us expected a time change so soon. I love gaining an hour in my day!! We decided to pay the $38 bucks to park in the garage since our car contains our whole life... didn't feel like risking a break-in parking on the street... Luckily the luggage compartment on the roof wasn't an inch higher or we would have had some problems... we kind of forgot it was up there.

The race against time began in Millennium Park to see all of the modern sculpture, then the theatre/pavilion, then we crossed one of the many bridges over the river to check out the "Loop" - which is named for the public transit system that Loops around that area...  After living in Boston where tourists are treated like, well, pigeons, I was ShOcKeD when 3 different people asked if they could help us find something... Thanks, Chicago, for being so friendly and making us feel so welcome!

After running the Miracle Mile, a quick freshen up back at the hotel, and a speedy skype session to check on my pup, we headed to Sears (now Willis) tower. As the sun was setting, we bolted up to the Skydeck as fast as the line would move and the elevator would elevate.

Once at the top, it was immediately breathtaking. 103 stories above the city at sunset - gorgeous. Not to mention the creepy skyboxes made of glass on all sides including the floor!  Such an eery feeling to be standing over what looks like nothing and seeing the city below your feet. I highly recommend this attraction. It was really indescribable.

After the tower, we raced yet again over to the West loop to meet up with Jesse's cousin Josh (I swear they're brothers not cousins - I wish I had taken a photo of them together!!). A little dinner and some drinks at the Night Wood (which, by the way is awesome - they only use local and organic ingredients from surrounding states!) and a quick tour of downtown and we were back at the hotel. Asleep by 12:30am eastern time - way too late for a 5am rise the next morning.....
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