It’s my birthday and I’ll drive if I want to!

Summing up our first 10 minutes in Chicago- except this pic doesn't show how soaked we are!

Summing up our first 10 minutes in Chicago- except this pic doesn’t show how soaked we are!

The view from our hotel room on the outskirts of Chicago. The willows! :D

The view from our hotel room on the outskirts of Chicago. The willows! 😀

The other picture I got before leaving Iowa. Blech.

The other picture I got before leaving Iowa. Blech.

So it was my birthday yesterday. We spent it driving the length of Illinois. That’s the second year in a row I spent my birthday in a vehicle all day. Thankfully, as Peter pointed out, I can count on not doing the same next year. Meh.

I figured out how to get more than one picture on a mobile post! I even figured out placement and captions!

Moving on… The last 48 hours have been too epic to sum up in bullet points, but for the sake of brevity I’ll try my best and elaborated where necessary.

DRIVING:
Leaving Iowa
•Very wet suddenly
Illinois
•Still wet •Proximity to Chicago can be gauged by gas prices •Arrive at hotel on outskirts of Chicago
HOTEL: •Rain finally seems to be lightening up •Everything ridiculously expensive (charge for dial-up internet? I didn’t know dial-up even still existed!) •Delicious food •Beautiful golf course behind hotel •Hour train ride into downtown: double decker train; wobbly; intermittent rain; goes underground before we arrive at Union Station downtown •Arrive above ground, it’s POURING rain •Soaked and clueless about our surroundings (and mostly unable to use my dying phone to familiarize ourselves with our surroundings), we decide to embrace the circumstances and walk around mostly aimlessly in the rain. If it rains that hard in Portland, it usually lasts 5 minutes–this rain came in bucketfuls and lasted hours. We spend the next 2 hours singing and dancing around the streets of Chicago. We found the monumental and amazing fountain at the park by Lake Michigan, where it becomes apparent that the whole city of Chicago is currently one gigantic fountain of warm water shooting in every direction~ this park fountain seems to just be making a point of it. We walk back around the fountain and, just as we’re standing directly in front of it, the lights change, the center of the fountain shoots maybe 100 feet in the air, and suddenly we hear America the Beautiful playing from what must be speakers hidden in the plants all around us. Every inch of us soaked and continuing to be soaked by every inch of wet around us (are we in the fountain, or standing near it? It was impossible to tell with the torrential rain), we began to sing along at the top of our lungs. Then, after taking a deep bow, we walked back in the direction of Union Station, waving at people, puddle stomping, singing and dancing along our way. •Hungry and an hour before our train leaves, we find a pub/grill where they follow us around with mops until we sit at a table, our seats and under the table becoming instant puddles •Hot soup and “spanish coffees” which are actually extremely strong mexican coffees •Starting to get cold, we shiver through the continuing onslaught of wet to the Metra, where we spend the next hour and a half shivering on the way back to the hotel •Hot shower •Fantastic Mr. Fox •Get sick •Sleep like the dead •Morning: breakfast, sauna, pack up and hit the road rather late
DRIVING: •Blue skies and hot •A lot of cornan again….mostly dead •Another farmer’s publicly broadcast opinion: “Guns Save Lives!” Hm. •Illinois gets greener the further south we drive •Ok, southern Illinois is just gorgeous •Arrive at Horseshoe Lake campsite just as the sun completely disappears and the mosquitoes begin to swarm every light-source
HORSESHOE LAKE: •Rush to set up tent, soak everything in Off! bug spray (which the mosquitoes didn’t seem to notice) •Prepare food •Hide in tent to eat •Read Gogol •Bed •Occasionally woken up by loud and strange animal/bug noises •Morning: breakfast and pack up early •Pics of amazing bog/lake/forest on the way out
DRIVING: •Drive over the Mississipi River and into Missouri •More oceans of dead corn •Type this post 3 times on phone, managing only the third time to actually post without losing all the data first….hopefully…. •On to Memphis…..

To be continued…

Horseshoe Lake in southern Illinois

Horseshoe Lake in southern Illinois

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3 thoughts on “It’s my birthday and I’ll drive if I want to!”

  1. Great photos! Sounds like you were in Portland and not Illinois though! But a sauna is a great way to warm up. Nice weather in Oregon now and I hope it stays around for the AIDS Walk in three weeks. Nothing like being in Pioneer Square on a Sunday morning in the rain and cold with no coffee because Starbucks is not open yet.

    1. I hope the walk is fantastic! I’m sorry we’ll miss it. From the sounds of it, the weather will be fantastic. We’re currently near St. George, UT. It is HOT here! That Chicago rain is sounding spectacular…..

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