posted in: Illinois | 0

What a day! Lots of places, lots of walking, but what a view! We are standing on a glass room suspended from the 103rd floor of the “Willis tower” (AKA: “The Sears Tower”) Desperate to get a major tenant for the tower, Willis insurance was given the rights to rename the building when they signed the lease agreement.  They wasted no time in destroying the name of a famous world land mark. Not to worry though, the citizens of this great nation still continue to refer to the building as the “Sears tower”.  Sorry Willis, just because you change the name, you can’t change reality. It is still the Sears tower in the minds of America.

I drove the car from our park in Amboy to Chicago and avoided all the toll roads. The drive was up highway 30 to I 55 to the Shedd Aquarium on the water front. I drove straight through down town Chicago. The pedestrians and bicycles have a death wish, and had I been a little heavier on the gas, a pedestrian would have been granted his wish, but the poor fellow lived to see another minute.  It was amazing the bikes dart in and out everywhere, making the bikes of Portland look tame. The bicycles knew nothing of traffic laws, not even common courtesy. The pedestrians were also of a very low IQ, but generally happy. This one fellow I referred to earlier was crossing against the light in a downtown intersection, we all had to stop quickly. He stopped in front of our car, preventing us from leaving the intersection, the light flipped to yellow, then to red, then he smiled and continued on his merry way.  Though the young man was smiling, he seemed zoned out, way out! Maybe; just a little disappointed that we did not hit him. I guess he will have to wait for someone else to send him home.

At noon, we arrived at the Soldiers field parking Garage paid $20.00 to park. ($4.00 was city tax). We walked in line to buy a “Go Chicago pass” as they advertised free “hop on hop off” tour busses that stopped at all the attractions every 10 minutes, and free admission to the attractions.  We waited in line at the Shedd aquarium for an hour to get our passes, paid the $245 for the pass and toured the Aquarium since we were there. The Aquarium was quick, as there was not much there compared to the nice places we have in Oregon. We were very unhappy with the way they house their critters. Other than one very nice circular display tank on entry, the aquarium was a series of very small tanks along the walls. Even the otter only got 4X4 room to sit in. This aquarium is an aquatic jail!  The aquarium also spoke of its environmental protection service it is involved in. One such idiotic project is lobbying to shut down the shipping canal from the great lakes to the Atlantic Ocean due to species of fish riding in on ocean vessels. This law if they get it passes will devastate Chicago, as they will lose the shipping traffic from The Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.  (This canal system was the Holy Grail of the settlers of this country, just shut it down!). A better idea would be electrically charge the ship a charge large enough to destroy every living creature touching the hull. Or paint the hull with something the sea life detests so it cannot get into the ballast to begin with. I am sure there is a better solution to this problem than sending man into the Stone Age!

After we got out of the Aquarium we went to catch our tour bus to the Sears tower. (About 1:30pm.) This stop on the bus was shut for the day! (We were told the stop was good to 5:30pm)  We walked to the tower! (Boy did that hurt!) We got to the tower at 3pm, We showed our “Go cards” and they let us in with no problem. We had to stand in line for 30 minutes but we got to the top. (They packed us in the elevator like match sticks. I was thankful the elevator did not break, and no one farted as there was no air conditioning.)
The view from the top was amazing!

At 4 pm; we were at the bottom, and saw one of the tour buses the card was good for setting out on the street. We tried to board, planning to get to Navy Pier. The lady at the door stopped us from boarding and said no more passengers after 4pm on their bus system using the “Go Card” we would have to go buy new tickets at Navy Pier if we wanted to ride. So we said forget it and used our feet again! On the way, we walked through a filming set they were doing for the next transformers movie. (“Catch our cameo appearance in this movie coming in the fall”) I felt sorry for the actors, and us. The set people had giant machines making rain, the actors were in trench coats with umbrellas. (Talk about hot!) we were in tee shirts and summer clothes. (We got wet!)

We finally arrived at Navy Pier at 5:30pm and we saw one of the tour boats that came free with the “Go Card”  and asked if we could ride one of the boats. Unlike the bus people, they cared about their customers and customer service. The said our cards expired one minute ago, but they could get us on the next boat any way. They put us on an architectural tour of Chicago.  This turned out to be a one hour tour on the Chicago river, right through town. (Venice West?). Athena and the girls got a lot out of the tour, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I understood nothing, but thought the river was cool, the buildings were very interesting and loved the fact that Misses O’Leary was finally cleared of any wrong doing by the city of Chicago in 1997. It was determined that she had nothing to do with the fire that burned down the city. The wheels of justice can be slow!

Back at the pier we were not only tired, but hungry too. We thought to our selves “We are in Chicago, lets get pizza!) we walked all the way to the end of the pier looking for pizza. Non to be found! People don’t eat in the city of Chicago, they drink and they drink a lot!!! We found a local and asked him about pizza, he sent us up grand avenue.

We walked about an hour up Grand, and found no pizza, so we walked back to the Pier and took a water taxi back to soldiers field. The water taxi was a $25.00 trip, but much easier on the feet. The view of Chicago was great, and the moon on the water was beautiful. About half way back to Amboy on I-80 we found a Burger King, the dinning room was closed, so we ate dinner in the car on the way back to Amboy. I did the blog at 11:45pm and went to bed. The Blog was gone when I got up! That sucks!

In the end, Chicago was great to see, but it needs a few days and one needs to stay in town. Don’t by the “Go Chicago” card. Stay a few days and use the “City pass” card. The city pass is $70.00 per person, good at five major attractions for nine days. Our pass was good for everything including transportation for one day at $70.00 per person. We found that one day does not mean one day, it means when the vendors are slow, and feel like taking the pass. People with the city pass seemed to be more satisfied. I would probably collect coupons and go Ale-cart if I were to do this trip again. There are a lot of coupons around, and everyone takes cash!. (Side note: bring lots of cash, plastic is not taken as often as one would think. VISA is not taken everywhere, vendors are dumping it due to discount rates and fees.). I figure the “Go Card” cost us a total of about $100.00 more than we would have spent otherwise, and contributed to a lot of walking. “Maybe the walking part is what they mean when they say “Go” in “Go Card””

Exit from Soldiers field parking garage

 Museum out side of our parking area

 The Chicago Bears. (These police are nice and like their jobs, unlike the ones we met in St. Louis.)

The Fire Department

 Chicago Board of Trade. (I have to talk to them about the “Go Chicago Card”!)

View from Sears Tower

 The city goes on forever

 The city goes on forever this way too!

Holly over the city

Slide out rails the glass room on the tower rides on. These glass rooms are built using the same technology as the slide out rooms in our RV, as a result Athena and Sarah did not trust the rooms enough to venture into them.

Is this statement still true in our country? Are we soft?

Our walk through a nice part of town to the pier.

 A dinner boat. I wonder if dinner is as big as the boat?

 Cool Building

 Big Bear?

 Cool building reflecting another cool building

 Pillars of Light

 Sears tower from the Chicago River tour

Railroad lowers bridge once a year to preserve their right of way. If the they ever use the right away the Chicago Sun is in trouble. Their building will have to be removed.

The Navy pier land mark

 We are on the pier looking for food.

 Maybe there is Pizza in here?

 No pizza here. I wonder what they have on the childrens menu?

 This would have been a nice picture if our camera was a little better.

 City from the harbor. Lake Michigan is incredible.

 The museum by Soldiers field. The end of Chicago.

 There is a lot we could say about Chicago. we saw a lot of good bad, and in between, but it would takes volumes to describe it all. One thing I will never forget is the black guy in dread locks on his sail boat burning heavy incenses so much so that it looked like smoke coming from the vents on his boats, a giant square pipe full of something interesting that he was drawing hard against, and a song playing loudly in the background with lyrics “Come get your fix with me”. What a city!

Well that’s all Folks!!