Thursday, October 20, 2011

Welcome to Chicago

Any guesses on how long it takes to drive from Uniontown, PA to Chicago? Yeah, WAY TOO LONG. We decided to break up our drive with an overnight stop in Bryan, Ohio. They have the finest Holiday Inn Select and are so damned nice, but there is nothing to do in Bryan Ohio.

Before we drove approximately 6 million miles we thought we'd go on a hike in the Ohiopyle State Park. Mainly I wanted to do this because it took me about a week to figure out how to say Ohiopyle. I found it fun to say Ohiopyle. And there is a trail that takes you to a place called Cucumber Falls. What's not to love?

I forgot to mention that we had perfect weather for our FLW tour and managed to zoom around the Pennsylvania countryside with Ginger's top down (settle down, she's a convertible, remember.) On this out, Ginger kept her top on but did manage to go offroading when I mistook a sign for a picnic area for the trail sign. Ginger had no business being on that road. She was a trooper. Despite - or maybe because of a series of wrong turns, we ended up driving to Cucumber Falls. Well thank God because a three hour hike to those falls would have been really disappointing.

Turns out that driving from Pennsylvania, through Ohio and Indiana is a lot like driving the 401 from Windsor to Montreal without the traffic. You don't do it for the scenic drive. But we made it to Chicago despite one small incident with a toll booth that decided to konk out just as we arrived. I ended up having to scream out my credit card number to an operator. I assume it was legit because the arm did eventually go up. Half of Ohio knows my credit card number. What could go wrong?

Finally in Chicago we explored. We are the most inefficient route planners on earth. If I drew a picture of our route, it would look like a bad etch a sketch drawing. We did make the most of the rainy afternoon by eating at a diner featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (the waitress led us astray with what was featured on the show) finding Sears Tower, Cloud Gate, and most importantly American Girl. Oh and the John Hancock Center for drinks with a view.

About American Girl. We love our 10 year old niece. And she loves American Girl. Every trip to NY and Chicago has involved a visit to this frightening store to bring her back a gift. Once I even returnned home with a small horse. This trip did not involve any barnyard animals, but it I did enjoy giving Dave a chance to experience the store. He was great - helped pick out the gifts and even carried the bag the res of the night without fear of being beaten up.

The last (and only other time) I was in Chicago my girlfriend Jaime took me to the 96th floor of the John Hancock tower. It was a real treat to experience it with Dave. The weather was moody but the transition from day to night made for perfect timing.

If only I had brought my camera. Ah well BlackBerry to the rescue!

A view while we enjoyed a drink after shopping at American Girl

Chicago as seen in The Bean

Today we concluded the Frannk Lloyd Wright part of our tour with a trip to Oak Park. It gave us a better understanding of the engineering and construction flaws of Wright's designs. He basically had no itention of having his builds last forever. It was good to get a different perspective on his work. The walking tour in the drizzle satisfied our FLW geekiness.

Lunch at another Diners Drive-in and Dives - at The Depot - satisfied our tummy. Pot roast sandwich with gravy was ridiculous. We have to stop eating like this. But it's added a great subplot to our trip.

The best part of the day was dinner with friends Swaroop and Anya. I love seeing my SIGGRAPH friends more than just oncea year - especially when we didn't talk about SIGGRAPH.

Hoping the rain lets up tomorrow - but even if it doesn't, we'll still have a great day at the Art Institute with Swaroop.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you guys made it up to the 96th floor. That's the best view of the city (especially from the women's restroom). Can't wait to see you!!! XOXO