How epicSeptember 10, 2016 in the United States
I saw it! The giant astronaut holding a rocket! I saw it!
After a quick breakfast in New Buffalo, we heading right out on the road to Chicago! It's still raining, so our plan to enjoy the beach for the morning quickly changed into getting some road done! Because of the time change, we got to Chicago by 10am! Granted, we spent an hour figuring out parking and trying to go further from downtown to pay less but realized 10 mins of driving gave us 2$ off of 30$ parking and we'd have to take the subway... So we drove back downtown, parked right underneath the Millennium Park itself! 35$, apparently we were lucky enough to be there during a special event pricing day!
First stop - Tourism office of course. They led us to a free walking tour on which Stu gave us a private one hour tour of the downtown architecture. The buildings are absolutely amazing! The history, the lobbies, fantastic. You could tell Stu was really excited about it all, which was great! There were quite a few large art pieces, and Jack kept impressing Stu by guessing the artist 3 out of 4 times! She's smart like that. I guess she owes her art knowing to her parents, merci!
The tour finished at the famous large kidney bean in Millennium park. We took the obligatory selfie reflected in the bean, then sat down and had a sad realization. We liked Chicago, but there's just too much to do and see, and we have a long road ahead. We decided we would finish walking around the park, and head out for route 66 right away! No time to waste! We'll be back Chicago. Sorry dad.
Stu explained to us that Millennium park was a "millennium project", so they aimed to finish by 2000. Instead, they went way over budget and finished in 2004, but it's now the biggest tourist attraction in Chicago, so money well spent. It was beautifully kept with statues around every bend.
Now onto the good stuff : Route 66! We had to circle around downtown Chicago twice, got lost, used the GPS, but we were determined to start at the starting sign! No cheating! The photo was taken while we were on foot, but I did get a video of us driving by the sign for the skeptics who might have thought we cheated!
Illinois has fantastic signage for route 66! Stu (who has done the route) said the signs basically disappear after Illinois, so we have that to look forward to. I got all the must take photos along the way including my awesome Gemini Giant, the Polk-a-Dot diner, and plenty more wonderfully funny signs. Since we hit most of the must-sees around 5pm and later, we didn't get into any tiny quirky museums, but I'm definitely looking forward to that along the way! It felt like we stepped into a time machine. Everything we're passing looks like it's from the 40s or 50s, with every business along the way including 66 in their names.
Side note for the gay-curious - Jack and I have been very well welcomed so far... I've rarely been miss gendered, we've been referred to as "ladies", as in "anything else ladies" or "how you doing ladies", with full acknowledgment of our being a couple... It's been great! I remember going to Montreal a year ago and getting comments left right and center. I hated it. But not one so far. I'm assuming that will change further south we go, but I'm enjoying it for now!Read more