Day 13 - More Trouble With Motorcycle Parking, But The Art Museums Were Worth The Effort

United States' flag
North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago
June 6th 2017
Published: June 7th 2017
Edit Blog Post

We expected today to be busy and it was. We left the hotel at about 7:30 heading for our last visit to downtown Chicago. After a quick stop at McDonald's for breakfast and BP to top off the tank, we were on our way. Traffic was about the same as yesterday, except when we got to town we turned north instead. Since the art museums don't open until after 10:00, our first stop was 360 Chicago which is an observation room on the 94th floor of the Hancock Building. We were planning to park at the Hancock building and walk around to everywhere we were going. As soon as we arrived at the Hancock parking, we got the familiar story - No Motorcycles Allowed. What's with Chicago and motorcycles? Only this guy didn't have any suggestions, so we started driving around the block looking for another parking garage. Just as we came around the corner, there was a likely garage, and as we pulled in, the attendant came up and I thought she was going to give us a hard time, but she just wanted to know how long we expected to be, and when I told her all day, she pointed to a nice flat spot right near the attendants booth and told us to park it right there and she would keep an eye on it. She was very nice.

So we parked the bike, put away our stuff, got out the camera and started heading toward 360 Chicago when we realized that the parking garage we had picked was actually the garage for the Museum of Contemporary Art, our planned second stop today! What great luck! So we walked the couple of blocks to 360 Chicago and took the elevator to the 94th floor. The view from the top was spectacular! Lake Michigan is so large, it gives the appearance of Chicago being an oceanfront city rather than a lakefront city. We took lots of pictures, and watched the obligatory 20 minute movie on the construction of the Hancock Building that was very interesting. This is also the building that offers Tilt! for an additional charge on the observation floor. This is where grab some handles on the sides of a special section of windows and they tilt forward so you are hanging out over the edge looking down. For dramatic effect, they even have sound effects and jitter the windows a little as they tilt them forward. We watched a few people do it and most did not seem to be enjoying it much, but for Jody and especially me, it was just too terrifying to contemplate.

When we left 360 Chicago, we stopped back at the bike to drop off the camera and grab our jackets for the walk downtown. By then it was after 10 and the art museums were open. We decided that since we were there, we may as well start with the Museum of Contemporary Art. Contemporary Art is usually hit or miss, sometimes it is just awesome, and sometimes it is just a little too obscure for my engineering mind. Jody does better with understanding the obscure art than me. It turns out most of it was pretty interesting, and we were enjoying it, there was even as really strange film clip that was pretty cool. But when we reached the 4th floor, we realized that it was the opening day of Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg exhibition and it was really spectacular! He does a lot of creature artwork, with smaller creatures embedded in the larger creatures if you look close. The creatures are strange and the colors are vivid and everything is massive! It turns out most of the work is done by a team of workers under the supervision of Murakami as most of the artwork is silk-screened with some touchup with a brush after the silk-screen is complete. There was also a short film explaining the technique. Both Jody thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit and are really glad we chose to go the Museum of Contemporary Art today instead of yesterday and the Murakami exhibit opened today and was not available yesterday. When we left, Jody was able to find an interesting t-shirt for her, but nothing interesting for me.

When we left the Museum of Contemporary Art, I checked my MapQuest walking app and it showed our next destination, the Art Institute of Chicago was 1.3 miles straight down Michigan Ave. For seasoned hikers like Jody and I, 1.3 miles is nothing so we turned down Michigan Ave and headed out looking at the sights along the way. Chicago really is a pretty city with lots to do downtown. We passed by Riverwalk where you could get boat rides through the downtown river. There were double-decker tour buses everywhere. There were lots of stores along the way so we did a little window shopping also. It was a pleasant walk, and in no time we were at the park just outside the Art Institute. The building size is deceiving, as the Art institute doesn't really appear to be that large, but once inside, the passages just seem to wander along forever from room to room, exhibit to exhibit.

Most of the exhibits were extraordinary! There were a couple of contemporary exhibits with rows of television sets that I just didn't get, and we generally don't care for the really religious renaissance stuff, but everything else was awesome! There were lots of early Japanese and Chinese art, but also there was lots of early Indian art that we don't often see. There was Islamic art, but also some wonderful Javanese Batik. They even had a special exhibit of armor and swords and crossbows and guns with extraordinary carving and decoration. But the most impressive section was the impressionist art. There were room after room of Matisse, Monet, Pissaro, Manet, and many others that I didn't know, but of course Jody knew. That's some of why I like going to art museums with Jody. She knows all of this stuff, and I learn a lot each time. There was even a Modern Art section that had Picasso and Dali and many more

We thoroughly enjoyed the Art Institute of Chicago, and thought it one of the best art museums we had seen. It was getting close to 4:00 when we left, and decided to follow the Lake Michigan shoreline path north back to the bike. The scenery at the shoreline was beautiful, with lots of boats docked along the way. There is also a place called the Navy Pier that has a huge ferris wheel. The reality is there is a lot to see in downtown Chicago, many other parks and museums and attractions. We tried to see a few, and get a taste of Chicago, but we could easily have spent a few more days playing tourist. So we headed back to the hotel at close to 5:00. The traffic was about the same as yesterday, where the Garmin said it was a 30 minute ride, when we knew the traffic would make it over an hour. On the way back, when we got close to the hotel, we had spotted a Miller's Ale House nearby, so we stopped and had our favorite jambalaya for dinner just like back in Orlando.

Tomorrow we are off to Milwaukee, only about 100 miles up the road, where there is a Harley-Davidson Museum and our last art museum for a while, the Milwaukee Museum of Art. The original plan had us spending only 1 night in Milwaukee, but it's been 2 weeks and it's been non-stop along the way - we both got over 20,000 steps on our FitBits today. So we'll take a down day in Milwaukee and stay an extra day before tackling the rigors of the Michigan upper peninsula.

64.4 Miles Today

1896.9 Miles Total

3.818 Gallons Today

45.983 Gallons Total

Additional photos below
Photos: 87, Displayed: 27


Tot: 0.047s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 7; qc: 44; dbt: 0.0109s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb