Exploring Chicago into Wisconsin! (June 23rd - June 28th, 2022)
We left off in Indianapolis, IN on Thursday, June 23rd. We woke up on a moving day - also my mom's birthday...HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! FELIZ ANNIVERSARIO MAE!!! Ted walked Flat Fork Creek Park with Apollo while I did a virtual Build & Define class with ZT's on the concrete pad. Shortly after we were finished, we packed up and Ted took first shift at the wheel in route to Chicago. Remember that problem with the stairs that got fixed? Well, maybe within about 30 minutes of being on the road, Ted looks in the right side mirror and asks me: "Why the F$%& are the stairs out?!?!?!". GRRRRRRRR! We pull over on the side of the road with traffic zooming by, get out of the motorhome and try to push the stairs back in...but they are stuck! We call the guy who fixed them the day before and he gives us the number to the stair manufacturer. We get back on the road and find a safer spot to pull over to sort this problem out. Driving down the road with the stairs out is super dangerous. We call the stair manufacturer and trouble shoot the stairs. Ted fixes the problem with a quick jiggle of some wires that were loose. #poundwinning! For the rest of the drive we did the same as last time with me driving the middle shift, no gas stop this time though. We arrive at Camp Bullfrog Lake in Willow Springs, IL to find that there was no water connection. We were expecting to have 30AMP power and water, but no sewer, instead we got 50AMP power but no water or sewer. So we get set up and I am fuming. I didn't know what we were going to be doing over the next couple of days so I asked Ted if he was willing to spend an entire day doing laundry at our friend's house because the laundry was a priority. We needed to get that done before we went out and explored anything. I wasn't even going to entertain the idea of putting it off another 5 days - it was falling out of the baskets already. In retrospect, I'm not exactly sure why I was so angry and moody since we were about to go stay at our friend's house during the rest of our stay in Chicago and laundry could have been done in increments (maybe). Perhaps it could have been the accumulation of all the issues we have had since starting the trip. As I spoke to Ted, I kept getting louder and more agitated - Ted couldn't get away fast enough! He and Azlan were out the door with what must have been 100 pounds of laundry in a jiffy. I don't like getting angry and I don't like how I act when I get angry. I know that sometimes I need some time alone and this time I used it to clean the Glamper, take a quick shower in water conservation mode, give myself a mani-pedi and decompress. By the time Ted and Azlan get back, I was in a much better mood and we decide to go to our friend's house with enough clothes for a few days and see what was in store. They took us in like family, we helped with a puzzle, met the neighbors, and we had some Portillo's for dinner, a must-try in Chicago - to include a taste of Fluffy's Chocolate Cake Shake. YUM! Ted stayed up to finish the puzzle while I passed out with Azlan earlier in the night.
June 24th, talk about a FABULOUSLY FUN FRIDAY!!! We leave before 8am and head into the city, it took about 40 minutes, which our friends thought was great due to light traffic! We park the car and walk 10 minutes over to Sears Tower, technically Willis Tower, the 3rd tallest building in the U.S. We have a doughnut then head through a fantastic historical and cultural exhibit leading us to the standard touristic photo followed by the elevator line. It's a short wait until we get into the super-speed human conveyor, our friends have timed it well. In less than a few minutes we arrive on floor 103 where we can see for miles and miles around the city. It's a spectacular site! We even see several places from the famous movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Then I see it - a thrill seeker's marker - The Ledge! An opportunity to 'step outside the third tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. At 1,353 feet in the air, the Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck.' These glass boxes are retractable and the only thing between me and my falling 103 stories to my death is 1.5" thick glass - SWEET, I step out without looking down. I was nervous - of course....it's a LONG way down. I even jumped on the thing and you can see it in my IG Reel. Our next stop was to see the giant metal untitled Picasso structure, the Jean Dubuffet's Monument with Standing Beast, and a quick peek of the cool architectural lobby in the James R. Thompson Center. We stopped at Garrett's Popcorn to try their Garrett Mix - a cheddar popcorn and caramel popcorn mix - WOW! You take a cheddar kernel and a caramel kernel and eat them at the same time...it was amazing! (YUM YUM YUM)! We took a few quick pictures in front of the famous Chicago Theater before jumping in an Uber to the Museum of Science & Industry. The museum boasted interactive weather manipulation, experimentation devices, historical information and loads of new up-and-coming technology. After a few hours, we headed to Grant Park for some pictures along the shore line, a quick picnic snack and then a lovely walk around the Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain (filmed in the intro of the TV show Married with Children) and into Millennium Park. There we saw the Cloud Gate aka The Bean, a 110-ton elliptical sculpture forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates which give a mirroring effect at every angle. My first thought when I walked in was that I was in a movie where the world was folding in on itself - a very cool optical illusion. At this point Azlan has been a pretty good sport all around, but he's had enough and all he wants to do is play in the water at the place he saw in the Sears Tower exhibit earlier that morning. We had been working our way to it all day and finally he got to splash around and get some extra energy out at the Crown Fountain before we headed home. We got back to our friend's house in the afternoon and I had enough time to unwind a bit and get dressed before going to a Zumba class at another VASA gym (this is a very nice big gym chain). Let's just say that I had a blast and was going to be back for more because this awesome instructor was teaching everyday I was in town - I'm feeling pretty lucky here considering it's so hard to get workouts in while we are on the road. I can't do much more than stretching or stationary lifting in the Glamper or I could rock our house right off the leveling jacks lol - seriously though! Many times we only have gravel or uneven grass surfaces outside our RV site which are not safe for fast moving activities - especially with my flimsy ankle which has been rolled, twisted and torn more times than I can count. Some of the RV places have a pavilion or a game room I can use, which I do when I find them. And lets not forget the fact that I have to workout by myself if I stay close to the RV - which I hate doing and I don't push myself enough when I'm alone. This summer I even had a little flag made with my picture, workout type information and my cell number in hopes that someone would call to workout with me - but so far no luck. Despite the difficulty, I've been pretty consistent with getting at least one physical activity in every day (with the exception of 5 days when I was laid up in bed thinking I had a hernia and was super worried). I've been writing them all down to keep track but in reality, the thing I should be focusing on is my food and alcohol intake. Nutrition on the road is by far my biggest struggle. We eat out more than at home, I make too many poor food choices, I overeat because those poor choices taste really really good and then I eat some more. I have not been consistently tracking my food and I have been drinking too much alcohol - food and booze consumption certainly exceed the amount of calories I expend in a day. Add this up over time and I no longer fit into my pants comfortably which makes me feel disappointed in myself and the negative self-talk gremlins come out to play. This affects my mood, my confidence, my self-image...which in turn makes me cranky. I also haven't been meditating. For too many years my attitude was 'oh, I'm not going to worry about it today...pour me another glass of wine and cut me up some more cheese - I will deal with it tomorrow'. I'm starting to see this attitude come back and I'm not liking it. I can wish for something different all day long, I can blame the Glamping trip, I can blame the booze, I can blame the food - but in the end I am the one responsible for making my choices. I take personal responsibility for my current situation as it is a result of all the previous choices I made. Only I can change it if I am not happy - no sense in complaining about it. So onward and upward - I will not beat myself up, I will enjoy my time on the road and I will make better choices. Sorry for going off on my health tangent - now moving on to Saturday!
June 25th was rainy but I took the dog on a walk so Ted could sleep in and then I went back to Zumba. Oh how that intense dancing fills my cup up! I got to lead 4 songs and the students were super receptive! We had a blast dancing! We followed that up with some Gene and Jude's world renowned hot dogs (another YUM!) and a trip to the Glamper so we could get more dog food, clothes and so I could get my Zumba gear!
The next day we opted for a kayak session (after I got in another Zumba fix early Sunday morning) at The Forge at Lemont Quarries. Our friends had never kayaked before, so we got a block of instruction, some strict rules and off we went to explore this deep quarry pond with our 2 friends in one kayak, Ted and Azlan in another and me in my own. After a while Ted challenges me to a race, I accept, as does our friend while his fiance says no...and then it happened! Our friends tipped their kayak and splashed into the water. "MY PHONE, MY F^&*($G PHONE!!!" Once we heard that, we knew the fun was over...but we still giggled because of my own experience dropping my phone in the water. One phone down, we head back to their house for a fantastic grill out Mexican style. My tooth has randomly started hurting and my tummy starts yelling at me for those previous poor choices I made - so I call it an early night knowing there is a big hike in the morning. The boys stay up and party for a while and end up on the couch watching TV.
Monday, June 27th, we drive an hour and a half out to Starved Rock State Park - a place our friends want to explore and where Ted has sorted out a 4.5ish mile hiking route for us. We traversed paved walkways, wooden boardwalks and stairs (lots of stairs), some dirt trails, gravel trails and even muddy trails going in an out of canyons along the coast of the Illinois River. We had a great time and the dogs got worn out! It was a great day that ended with some Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (YUM! again...), some wine, some puzzle making and saying our 'see you laters' to our friends. That night we slept in the Glamper so Ted could try and find the first Nuclear Reactor site and I could take the Jeep to my last Zumba class in Chicago the next morning.
We get up early on Tuesday, the 28th, and I take off to shake my booty while Ted explores the path to the reactor with Azlan and Apollo (They never found it though). We meet back up at the Glamper a few hours later, pack up and Ted takes the wheel. Ted and I can both agree that we loved Chicago and it's surrounding areas, we will miss our friends, and I will miss dancing with the amazing local Zumba crew! Stay tuned as we move onto Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!
Daisa, Ted, Azlan and Apollo
P.S. - I finished another book - Ken Follett's The Evening and the Morning. A good historical fiction read, but pretty long at just over 900 pages!