Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Road Trip - Day One

I was sitting on the front step when my ride arrived. Got all my stuff packed in the car and then we were off!!!  Our gaggle of geckos is hanging out on the dash of the van.

I sat in the back with my big bag of knitting. Shortly after our start, I decided to tackle something in the bag. Let's start with something easy. I pulled out the HUGE ball of cotton yarn to make dishcloths that I found in the knitting bag. The pattern was there as were the needles. I was ready. In the end, I managed to knit FOUR dishcloths during the drive. My hands were getting tired and I finished just minutes before we hit the hotel. I had already made two from that ball and there's enough yarn to make a few more. My goal for the trip? To finish that ball.

Our first stop was to pick up Shelly. Ronda drove for most of the day but Laura and Shelly spelled her off while I sat in the back and knit. I was very lucky - not that I didn't want to drive, but I got to knit all day. I didn't see much out the window, but then there wasn't much to see out the window. Nothing too exciting off the Interstate Highways but trees and trees and fields and fields.

We headed off to the border crossing in Sarnia with our passports in hand. We did stop at the duty-free to pick up a few things that needed to be declared at the border. One each for us.

Which lane to pick at the border crossing? That's always the question as you want to have a hassle-free crossing. We picked a winner. It was a nice gentleman and I swear this is the first time I ever saw one of them crack a smile and he actually made us laugh (about the booze) and we were off. That was the BEST border crossing ever. Lesson learned? Bring booze (duty-free) across the border!!!

So if any of you are NOT familiar with geocaching, it's like a worldwide treasure hunt. There's a small video at that link to explain it all, but basically, people have hidden small caches (of various sizes) in spots all over. The coordinates are registered and then using your GPS (or the app on your phone which is way easier), you can hunt up these little caches. You get a "souvenir" for each state or province. While I've had a membership for years, I haven't done a whole of caching. So on this trip where we're going to be crossing a few state lines, the idea is for all of us to get at least one cache in each state.

Yesterday, I got Michigan which was a quick find in Wendy's parking lot, Indiana which was located in the woods near the visitor's center and one in Millennium Park in Illinois.

The drive itself was pretty uneventful. Some traffic as we neared our final destination of Chicago, but not bad considering it was the last day of the long weekend. We had no idea what to expect and we gained an hour as we entered Illinois.

I've driven through Chicago and been to the airport but had never been downtown. Our hotel is right downtown on Michigan Avenue. After we dropped off our luggage, we went for a walk. Our end goal was Millennium Park but we also needed something to eat.

Here are some observations from this area - it's chock a block full of universities and colleges. The architecture of the buildings is AMAZING. There is very cool detailing everywhere. Americans really respect their holidays as EVERYTHING was closed. Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, although a few eating places were open and we ended up at Miller's Pub which apparently has been around for a long time. (since 1935). Lots of "no guns allowed" stickers on windows which is just the weirdest thing to see since guns are so not a part of our daily life at home.

It would appear that the goal of driving down Michigan Avenue is to parade your stuff. How loud can you have your music on your motorcycle? Pretty loud it would appear. No helmets on motorcyclists and their bikes are huge and they're dressed very casually. I think we saw one guy in an Adidas sweatsuit. The bigger the rims on your car the better - holy - I've never seen rims like that before. Cars can be of any age and the more noise you can make with your car, the better. It was totally crazy!!!!

Not many people walking on the street either - just other crazy tourists like ourselves. Oh - I should mention that the chocolate shop was open. I went in and bought ONE small chocolate turtle which I was going to eat before bed, but then I was too tired. So that will be my snack this morning as we attempt to get out of the city center and into the suburbs.

We ended up at Millennium Park which was the reason we drove and stayed in downtown Chicago. We got to see the Cloud Sculpture (also known as the bean) and I'm glad we got there in the evening. It's very cool to see the city lights reflected in the sculpture. It's pretty amazing and was worth the trip. We saw the Crown Fountain as well which were very cool and there were very YOUNG children playing in the water (which for obvious reasons) was very heavily chlorinated. It was late at night - we were ready for bed - why were those kids not in bed???

We also saw the amphitheater in Millennium Park which would be a very cool place to listen to a concert. It was near that area where we were searching for the Illinois geocache. Imagine four older women moving and sitting on the five benches and running our hands around all the edges trying to find a small container. Then there's Shelly with her phone flashlight (which is very bright) trying to see. It was with Shelly's flashlight and my eye that we found it. But not until we got some very strange looks from people.

And the minute we found it, all the people disappeared. I think some people left because we were displaying abnormal behavior in a public place!!!

Back to the hotel and time for bed. Let's just say that Shelly got to sleep beside the VERY noisy air conditioner. I'm in my flannel PJs. It works for us!!!  I walked almost 16,000 steps yesterday which is amazing considering that we were in the car for about 8 hours!

Now we're off on another adventure today. We're not staying in the same place twice and basically, the journey is the adventure. There is no one destination. Stay tuned!!!!

Have a great day!!!!!


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