First long day. Up at 6, eat at 7 (Quality Inn has great free breakfast) and off to Springfield at 7:30. Arrive at Lincoln Home at 8:30 ready for the tour at 9. It's interesting to see the room where Lincoln was informed that he was the nominee for President 150 years ago.
After finding the wrong Lincoln library which had no parking, we gave up and drove to New Salem. This is a great re-creation of the 1830's village that Lincoln matured in. On the way back to town we stopped at Lincoln's tomb. What an awesome place.
Back in town we found the real Lincoln Museum. The dioramas are great and there's enough history here to last for days. After the museum we arrive early for the train , which is late. It leaves after 5:30 and arrives in Chicago at 9:30. The train ride is great. We watch the scenery, plug in our electronics and download and print pictures. There's no worry about traffic or how to get into Chicago or where to park. There's no concern about the $50 a day parking fee. The only drawback is the food. Next time we'll bring our own. Compared to an airplane the seats are spacious and there's twice as much luggage room. After we arrive in Chicago we take a taxi to our hotel and the boys are through for the day. But Kathy and I check out the 22nd floor terrace (beautiful place) and then walk all the way up to the water tower and then back to the Mich. Ave bridge and then back home.
We woke up to rain. Breakfast at the Dunkin Donuts across the street. Still raining, walk down to Dusable plaza to wait for the Double Decker bus. Leave at 9:30, still raining , in the bottom of the bus. Can't see much of anything. Get to the Willis (Sears) Tower, rain stops but guess what? Our 30 dollar fast pass tickets are no good, the Skydeck is closed... too windy. What? Back on the bus but on top this time and we ride it back to where we started in a most enjoyable fashion. We learn so much on these tours. We even spent an hour in Millenium park taking in the Cloud Gate (bean)and the wading pool with faces and the Pritzker Pavillion.
Couldn't find subway (wrong street) so we took a taxi to Wrigley Field. Our driver is foreign (of course) and spends the whole ride on the phone. Our seats for the baseball game are much better than I thought we were getting, eleven rows back between home and first. It rained most of the game, just enough to get you wet and umbrellas blocked our view. But it was great to be in the friendly confines. We could actually see the ballplayers. Took the subway home after 7 innings and ate at Burrito Beach, across from our hotel. Edible.
Next we hiked down across the river to our SegwayTour and rode for miles and miles seeing lots of Chicago south of the river all the way to the Planetarium. WE LOVE the segways.This days not over yet. We hop a taxi and go over to Sears tower and go up to the Sky deck. I don't like to climb a ladder to change a lightbulb, so the glass ledges were not for me. I know they're secure, I just couldn't figure out how they were connected. Looked like baling wire and chewing gum. The view from here was beautiful. What a long day but we've really had a ball and now we walk back to the hotel 12-15 blocks and get a qt. of ice cream from the Baskin Robbins (also across the street from our hotel.)
Not the greates day, but all's well etc. Up and out by8 to get to the 9:00 Wrigley tour. We got to see the bleachers, the press box and the dressing room and dugout. A fairly good presentation but not enough info and behind the scene workings to make a second day up here worthwhile Back home we walk 12 blocks to our new hotel, only to find that the reservations we'd made had disappeared into the ether. Kathy had found this on Travel Ticker and called and made reservations. But we forgot that we had no confirmation and we were stuck in downtown Chicago with no place to stay. Of course our laptop was not working so the only tool we had was our cell phones. I called my sister while Cooper went to Hotel's.com Donna found a 3 star in the museum distric but by that time, Cooper had found a room at the Allerton that we had secured. More $$ than we would have liked and although they let us sleep 4 here, they didn't supply us an extra bed. All because when we went to select a second hotel our $114 dollar 4 star went to a $149 before we could get it secured. Oh well this arrangement was better than sleeping under a bridge or in a door way.
With that settled we were ready to take our Lake and River tour. We got an archectural tour of many of Chicago's buildings both from the river and from the Lake. They sell alcohol so after awhile you have a lot of loud talking people interferring with the guide. Are there not enough bars in Chicago that people have to take a guided boat tour to chat about work and personal problems?
After this we had supper at Geno's East, deep dish pizza, chicken alfredo and spaghetti. Although we had to wait an hour for the food it was worth it. Good food
Then we left the boys in the room while we went to Best Buy to get a cord for the laptop. Leaving the Hancock building, Michigan Ave is silent. 40 cops line the streets. Trafiic is blocked for a quarter mile each direction and lights are flashing everywhere. My guess..........Obama. And I'm right 10 minutes later 10 motorcycles, 40 cars (white vans, black vans, ambulances) speed down the street and vanish in an instant. Barry's been to a fundraiser for his candidates.
Last day in Chicago. Slept til 8. Connor and i went for a walk (over a mile) to find our 11:00 destination. Boys go to Apple next door and at 10 we head out.
The Tastebud Food tour is great. We had Pizza, brownies, hot dogs, cajun gumbo and etouffee, cheeseborgers (from Sat night live) and chocolate . We've been on so many tours we know the answers to the guides questions. Does anyone know where the brownie was first made? Yes we do.
Next we walk back to M park and the bus tour going to the West side of town; Little Italy, Chinatown, Harpo Studios, and Then we walked to the Chicago Institute of Art where we saw American Gothic, the Nighthawks, and most of the impressionist work, plus several other galleries of work. Then its 12-14 blocks back to our hotel and past to the Hancock. Lots of walking but its been educational just soaking in the ambience of this vibrant city.
We found an inexpensive hamburger joint (the W ) across the street and had a great last meal in Chicago. Now we have to get everything ready to go. We leave from here at 6:00 in the morning.
It would probably be a good idea to take an extra bundle of ones to pass out to the many street performers and beggers that dot the landscape, I was always short of cash when I felt like contributing.