Last weekend’s trip to Chicago was more than just stair-climbing agony. We played tourist and visited, too.
We got in on Friday evening. For some reason, JetBlue doesn’t fly to O’Hare any more from anywhere in southern California. So we ended up on United, which meant flying out of LAX. Yikes. And paying $50 to check our bags. Yikes again. But aside from that, it was all right. And on the way in, I got a good view of downtown and the
Sears Willis Tower. Once more, yikes.
Friday night, we got on the train and went for dinner at the Blue Line Lounge again. We’d gone there last time and liked it.
Saturday morning, we had to go downtown to pick up my packet for Sunday’s race. While we were there, we saw some of our stair-climbing friends, and I got to contemplate once more what was in store for Sunday morning.
On Saturday afternoon, we had tickets for the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s boat tour of the Chicago River. Sure, it’s a bit chilly this time of year, but we were prepared. So we bundled up and took the tour.
I’d been reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, and I just finished it before we left on Saturday morning. It’s the story of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and the intertwined story of H.H. Holmes, who is regarded as one of the first American serial killers. A good bit of the book is about Daniel Burnham, who was the chief architect of the fair, and also is one of the pioneers of steel-framed skyscrapers. So there’s one tie-in with the weekend’s activities. At the end of the book, Larson said that Burnham died in 1912, and that he and his family are buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. So of course I checked the map and saw that we could go there after the boat tour.
We rode the Red Line north out of downtown, and then we walked over to Graceland. By this time, it was about 3:30. When we got there, there was a sign saying that the cemetery was closing at 4:15. So we didn’t have much time. As it turned out, the pond was all the way at the back of the cemetery, and I almost ended up having to run there to get there and back before closing. But I made it and got my photos.
After the cemetery visit, we took the Red Line back downtown to meet up with the West Coast Labels team for our night-before dinner at the Elephant and Castle.
Sunday morning was the stair climb. I wrote that up separately, so I won’t go over it again here. After that, we went back to our hotel and got packed up to leave. Then we took the Blue Line back downtown again. We had lunch at Giordano’s, which seems to be one of the few places downtown that’s open on weekends. Even McDonald’s was closed. We saw a crew filming something downtown. It was funny because they were spraying fake snow. We see film crews with fake snow here in L.A. all the time, but I think that fake snow in Chicago is funny. Sort of like how people there wonder why there are tanning salons in L.A.
After lunch, we walked over to Union Station to get the train to Libertyville to visit with Kathleen’s aunt and uncle. Once again, I chuckled about the railroad cars and their builder’s plate:
Engineered & Manufactured by
Rail Car Company
Nippon Sharyo, Ltd
Who says American industry is on the decli… oh.
Monday was some more playing tourist before it was time to go home. We took a walk with the neighbor’s dog for a bit, and then we went downtown to the Art Institute of Chicago. They have a very good collection there. From Seurat to Grant Wood to Cy Twombly. A full range of art and art-like things. We spent the afternoon there until it was time to go to the airport for our flight home.
All told, it was a fun trip.
Pictures are here: