[Coladam] the Chicago experience
Frances and/or Richard Clee
cleechez at tamcotec.com
Sun Jul 23 17:17:17 EDT 2006
We really should have read the fine print.
Bob Slopsema sent us a reassuring email about his trip back to Grand
Rapids Monday morning, how he left at about 10 a.m., had a minor toll
booth delay but otherwise was mostly on cruise control, and got back to
Grand Rapids about 4.15 p.m. All the traffic was going the other way.
We should have done the math.
Grand Rapids is supposed to be 3-1/2 hours from Chicago normally. The
Slopsemas took 6-1/4 hours and saw it as a fast trip??? At the time we
were so hungry for reassurance that we didn't fuss the details. Maybe we
need to recheck the tab to see how things really add up.
Our time in Chicago was rather neat. We arrived a day early and stayed
three days after. I won't bore you with convention details others have
already posted, but we also visited many landmarks, ate a genuine
prototypical Chicago pizza (different and tasty, but demanding of a
pretty voracious appetite; doggy bags are s.o.p) and took the L around
the Loop. Took an architectural river cruise (Chicago has lots of
architecture; well worth while) and a shoreline cruise to get pictures
of the skyline. Chicago hot dogs are famous, and we tried the one rated
best by Chicago magazine at Navy Pier. Good enough, though Shopsy's or
Yitz's in Toronto need not feel threatened. Spent a lot of time riding
the L, as the hotel was over an hour from the Loop.
That included a visit to the Shedd Aquarium as the Adamcon excursion, an
interesting expedition. On our own we visited the Museum of Science and
Industry and Art Institute of Chicago, where the miniature rooms
collection is justly very famous, and we also got diverted by a
collection of paperweights Corning Glass Museum could well envy. We even
found, out in the suburbs, the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, a
specialty collection with exhibits and presentation to knock your socks off.
So we were in a pretty buoyant mood when we left Thursday morning at
around 10.30 local time, and pleased with ourselves for finding a local
highway that, despite a lower speed limit and intermittent traffic
lights, still promised a more predictable trip than the Interstate,
which we joined later.
Well, that was a mistake. We should not have hit the Interstate at all.
We ended up in bumper to bumper effectively stationary traffic for
hours. Finally when it reached total paralysis we desperately withdrew
to a friendly oasis, only to find the power was out and washrooms
closed. (A friendly attendant took pity on the desperate old folks). We
then spotted an exit just down the road and bailed out onto it, with no
idea where it went but just knowing anything was better than the
Interstate. We ended up on US30 - the old Lincoln Highway - which
despite passage through many slow small towns still at least let us
move. We rejoined the Interstates near the Indiana/Michigan border.
Meanwhile, I phoned ahead to the shop where our trailer refrigerator was
waiting, and found it was open till 8 p.m. This was good, as we arrived
there about 5.15 p.m.. We got it aboard and headed home, making it to
Lansing before throwing in the towel. About half the trip was run in the
same storm that grounded Ron Mitchell, Pamela and Russell Villneff, but
after that it passed on to Ontario while we enjoyed clear and pleasant
sunshine. Friday we got off early, had no border hassles (they didn't
even ask for a formal entry for the refrigerator) and other than having
to cope with the standard Toronto rush hour got home incident-free.
Conclusion: were glad we were able to go, met once again with our
cherished friends, enjoyed our sightseeing, and even may have figured
out how to get by Chicago when we take our trailer to Wisconsin in
September. Ten days most comfortably spent.
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