9 months on the trot...one and a bit more to go!

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Howard Jones - $52 during weekdays. Same service

Flag of United States  , Illinois
Sunday, September 14, 2008

So it is Sunday again and its the best day to travel into a large City, free parking, no traffic, less people, etc. However its still raining strongly but we will survive it...we did survive hurricanes in Costa Rica while calmly walking around the jungles!

We first indulged in the Howard Jones "continental breakfast". We are not really sure which part of continental we missed, except that everything you eat in these motels becomes a continent of blubber in your stomach...1,000 calorie bagels, muffins, suggary cereals...these guys wouldn't recognise a piece of fruit if it hit them on the face! In any case...we indulged.

Another annoying thing in these motels (all of them) is that the coffee pot is always empty. Do they specifically use pots that evaporate when clients arrive? We keep having to go to reception in the different motels to tell them the containers are empty "no coffee dude!". If they say they serve breakfast from 6am to 10am...we expect coffee to be in the pot until 9.59am!! They couldnt run a pissup in a brewery these guys (we refer to most motel managers we have been to). How difficult is it to keep an eye in the coffee machine...?

So off we set towards Chicago which is only about 30 mins ride with all the traffic included from Lansing where we are staying. But, only 10 mins into our ride the traffic really builds up and comes to a halt...very slow movement and long stops.

As we feared the rain has really collapsed the roads and some rivers have overflown. It took us about 2 hours to get to central Chicago, but it was still worth it...the city was empty and a great place to walk around. Even better Chicago supplies free trolleys for tourists on 3 different routes when its off season. So we managed to see most of the areas we wanted to visit without getting too wet.

The pictures are there to be enjoyed so little else to add, except that there is plenty to do in Chicago...if only Museums did not close on Sundays (not all of them though).

When it started getting dark, we starting driving back towards Lansing, only to find the interstate 94 back was cut off due to flooding. We followed the thousands of other cars around different roads, and believe us, some of the suburbs of Chicago we had to pass were scaaaaaary. Just like the worst films or an episode of "Cops". Terrible places...and not sufficient petrol in our tank to feel comfortable!

A few comments on life around US:
- Its great to be able to buy newspapers in most corners. They sell them in metal boxes in which you point coins in. Something that just doesn't happen in Europe, either because of vandalism or because the newspaper stands are way to powerful to allow it.
- Easy payments: there is a new fashion now to fool people into buying stuff on TV. Instead of saying that a product costs $100, they now say "you can buy it in 4 easy payments of $25"....it only takes a couple of seconds to convince the not so bright that the product costs $25! And why are the payments easy?
- Petrol Prices: its got to the absurd point of petrol increases. When we started our trip we were paying around $3.60 for a gallon, but now its at $4.19 (average) with some places taking the piss and charging $4.45 per gallon. They say its due to Ike and the oil fields that can't work for a few days in Texas...pull the other leg! They are just taking advantage and its obvious from the price differences we find along the way. We are sure we will see the $5 per gallon soon...still much cheaper than Europe though!
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