Mid-day we headed downtown (Chicago) after another nice morning breakfast served up by my Dad. Saying goodbye is never easy although it seems to have gotten slightly easier since I initially announced I was leaving for Portland. I'm still trying to get him to move out here. He loves the weather and outdoor attractions (the Gorge, mountains, coast, etc) but his wife has family in the area.
Once downtown we walked down Michigan Avenue and headed directly to Gino's East, the famous Chicago deep dish pizza joint. Thick crust, cheese, one large sausage patty covering the entire pie, and sauce, in that order. After tasting the pizza I can confirm that I have made it at home and tastes just as good.
We then headed out to Navy pier. I've never ridden the Ferris wheel out there before and it was decent ride with a good view at the top. It's amazing how much cooler the air is out on the water. Easy 10 degree temperature swing.
I can't say enough about the weather while we've been here. Basically sunny and 70s the entire time. Ironically, back in Portland they got snow above 1000 feet. So we even enjoyed some ice cream while we walked out to the end of the pier and back.
Afterwards I needed a nap and Heidi wanted to do a little shopping down Michigan ave.
That evening was the highlight. We hopped a cab over to Buddy Guy's blues bar. Normally it's open mic on Monday night. A surprise band from Chicago was in town. They played for about and hour and then they opened it up to the local talent. Man those guys play. There was also a local woman on the mic that was tearing it up. Her song about, "not needing no instant breakfast" was great.
The view looking west at the Chicago River from our hotel room on the 26th floor of Hotel 71 (it has 38 floors).
Gino's East is a true Chicago Style Pizza joint.
The entrance to Navy Pier.
The Ferris Wheel.
The view inside Buddy Guys before they take the stage. The jambalaya was good.
We woke up with plans to hit the Lincoln Park Zoo because the weather was so nice but in the morning, the forecast had changed to a possible rain front moving through. Storm front's in the Midwest are big. This one went from southern Wisconsin clear down into Louisiana. So we switched it up and decided to hit the Shedd Aquarium, even though we found out later that the rain never really did come. What a great job to have eh?
After about 4-5 hours at Shedd, we went on a 1 1/2 hour boat tour. Chicago is located on Lake Michigan and the Chicago used to feed into it. Until they polluted it so badly they actually reversed the flow of the entire river into the Mississippi. The tour was worth it. I learned alot about the buildings and history I never really knew even after living here for 35 years.
My only last request before we left was eating an Italian Beef. That evening, Al's didn't dissappoint. Even Heidi was really impressed at how good a Chicago Italian Beef can be.
We washed the beef down later with a few beers at Harry Caray's. One thing I noticed while there was all the pro sports games that were on. Hockey (Stanley Cup playoffs) on one screen, Baseball on another, the NBA playoffs on yet another. When in the Pacific Northwest, it's some pro and a lot of college games. Not sure if that is because there isn't many pro teams out there? Another thought I had was the time zone difference. Many games are just plain over by the time you head out at night on the West coast. It still is something I'm getting used to.
The steps to the Shedd Aquarium.
Komodo dragon's are big. The sign said this guy gets mean at feeding time so they stay out of the habitat.
A shark swims right past Heidi (they were very specific about not using flash).
Three Pacific dolphins get airborne. Behind the window, Lake Michigan stretches into the horizon.
The view of the tour boat we took the cruise tour on from the Michigan Avenue bridge.
The view of the Sears tower from the river boat. It's immense.
It wouldn't be a city if you didn't see some guys butt while he was dumpster diving. A few seconds later he finally pulled his pants up.
"Hey... you talking to me? Order Online at Alsbeef.com ...and just fuhgetaboutit!"
Getting ready to chow down on some Italian Beefs from Al's
Right before we head into Harry Caray's
Up early for the flight out. I'm sitting here in the airport as I finish this post. A nice thing about the time zone change is that it doesn't take up your whole day coming home. We should have some time this afternoon to relax before heading back to the grind tomorrow.