Day 8 Chicago

Trip Start Oct 04, 2012
Trip End Oct 21, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Illinois Homicide Investigators Association were holding a convention in my hotel in Oak Brook, about 15 miles west of downtown Chicago. It was full of macho types with big laughs, and the car park had plenty of sinister looking, black Crown Vics sprouting multiple antennas. There seems to be no recession in the Illinois homicide business, I can tell you, these folk all seemed suspiciously cheerful. It was murder.
Chicago is my favourite American city. Wonderful buildings which unlike New York have context and space to be seen properly, Chicago also seems to lack the tension and aggression you find in The Big Apple. I only had time for a River Cruise and a trip to the top of the Sears Tower, The northern hemisphere's (here we go again) highest building. The Sears is officially called something else now, (The Willis Tower) but the locals will only use Sears. Standing on the 103rd floor you can see all the places i have just come from and am going to. My word, its a long way!
Lake Michigan was several inches lower than the river so the cruise confined itself to the river, the Chicago, I think. Although very cold it was crystal clear and I had a great time photographing every building I could lay my eyes on.
Chicago is a visual feast on a fine day. If you happen to be passing like I was, it's well worth popping in for a look around. Be wary of parking charges though, $25 for four plus hours ain't cheap. Worth every penny, I can't wait to come back and explore properly.
On the way back to the car I came across Millennium Park, and the pictures speak for themselves. I had then anticipated a leisurely ride down Lake Shore Drive on the way back to The Lincoln Highway, but it was wide, fast and like a race track, so I headed back down as directly as I could, using Interstate 55 which goes in the same direction as Route 66, but not actually riding the pavement (that's what the road is called) of my old friend 66.
I met The Lincoln in Planefield, which is the only place where America's two most venerable highways, The Lincoln Highway and Route 66 share the same pavement for 1/3 mile. Planefield turned out to be far more attractive than I expected and by the time I headed west again it was almost 6.00 PM.
I knew now I was never going to make it to my intended stop in Clinton, Iowa by the end of the day, so relaxed and just meandered up and down the well signposted Old Lincoln, through sleepy communities and houses, houses and more houses. I eventually stopped at Dekalb Illinois, so I am now 90 miles and a day behind. It has been worth every minute, Chicago was a highlight I would have been sorry to miss. Fantastic!
Now it's across the endless prairies of the Mid West, the next major stop being Omaha, Nebraska, if that's not an oxymoron. I'm due in Cheyenne, Wyoming by Sunday night and I think with a bit of juggling I can manage that. I've covered around 1,100 miles so far, but the next seven days calls for nearly 1600 to keep on track. I know as I go west my pace will pick up, it's miles of straight road even off the interstates. Infinity driving really, they better have some good Country stations. For a while at least I suspect the blogs will become shorter, as the road becomes longer, and the photographs less numerous as the land becomes bigger but there is less to see.
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Barry on

Excellent photos!

Ben on

I love that you went to a town called Planefield, looks like it should be Plainfield!

Joy on

Def want to spend time in the windy city. Superb photos, especially Milennium Park. Keep shooting x

sharon on

Great photos ! Just reminded me how much I like Chicago. Love to visit again - perhaps I would jut fly there tho' :-)

Jem on

Very envious of you doing the river cruise. Judith and I have all the same pictures! But from 2009.
Glad that Chicago worked for you. We loved it.

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