Blogs from Illinois, United States, North America


North America » United States » Illinois » Dixon July 4th 2017

We stayed outside of Chicago in Oak Brook last night, and we left early this morning to head to Maquoketa Caves State Park in Maquoketa, Iowa. It was around the time we needed to stop for a restroom that I saw a sign for Dixon, Illinois: 11 miles. If you didn't know, Dixon is the hometown of Ronald Reagan. Now, I'm not a fan of the Jelly Bean Man (one of his nicknames, apparently), but I am a fan of roadside stops. Besides, he was a President, and it's good to be exposed to different ideas and parts of American History (and it is the Fourth of July). So, we pulled off in Dixon at the childhood home of Ronald Reagan to use the bathroom. The home itself is much larger than I'd expect for a ... read more
Reagan Home
Reagan Visitor's Center
Model T at Reagan House

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago July 3rd 2017

We spent the last couple days up in Lincolnshire for my cousin's wedding. Their entire celebration was beautiful, and my kids stayed up late last night dancing & celebrating. After breakfast, everyone checked out of the hotel and headed their own separate ways. We decided to spend one more day in the city, and so we headed back to Chicago to check out the Museum of Science & Industry. When I was a kid, the Museum of Science & Industry was my favorite museum. While I do remember things like airplanes hanging from the ceiling, what I mostly remember was some section about perspective. They had a checkered floor that went up on an incline, but they painted it so that it didn't look like an incline. It was fun to run up and down. They ... read more
Circus Exhibit
Farm Tech Exhibit
Idea Factory

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago July 1st 2017

We had tickets for the 10am Lakes & Rivers boat ride from Wendella. As a kid, I'd been on a few Wendella boat rides, but it's been years. These days, there are many competing companies that give tours of Chicago from the river, but we decided to stick with the classic this trip. We walked from our hotel (Sheraton Grand), and it was a quick walk with plenty of photo-ops (especially when we crossed over Michigan Avenue). We arrived at 9:45am with tickets in hand, and the boat left promptly at 10am (don't be late!). Our tour was a 90 minute tour. Wendella offers an architecture tour from the river that lasts 75 minutes. The lakes & rivers tour is longer and it includes a lot of the architecture tour, but not all of it. We ... read more
DuSable Bridge in Chicago
Departing on our Wendella Boat Ride
Well, I'm excited for the tour!

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago June 30th 2017

We started the day early and left Des Moines by 6:30. We made a couple stops on the way and hit some traffic, but we arrived at our hotel in Chicago by 1pm. We're staying at the Sheraton Grand (free stay with SPG points, woo!), which is on the Riverwalk with easy access to Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and the Wendella boats. In fact, we could see Navy Pier from our room, which the kids were ecstatic to discover. Once we got all of our things to our room, the kids got changed, and we set out by foot to Navy Pier to get some lunch. We walked along Illinois St for most of the way, which was busy and full of pedestrians. The walk was short and easy, and because we arrived at ... read more
Walking to Navy Pier
Lunch at Giordano's
Trying Deep Dish Pizza

North America » United States » Illinois » Effingham June 24th 2017

We drove into Greenville well after midnight not knowing where we were going to stay the night. We drove around and saw a sign to the hospital and figured their carpark would be as safe as anywhere so off we went. Four very tired Amigos, one a little battered all turned in for the night. The start of a new day, later than normal at 7:45am, but lets face we had had a big day. We got out of the hospital carpark quickly and made our way into town. We have settled for one section today instead of two to easy ourselves back into full swing. Dave and Tom rode first and I drove with my wing man, Crash Test Jeff ( he isn't taking too kindly to this nickname for some reason). Our total journey ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Greenville June 23rd 2017

You get by with a little help from your friends A bit of a late start this morning after a great night in Washington Missouri. Our stay in the carpark was uneventful, although we did get a visit from the police in the morning asking if we heard anything as a boat had been stolen over night. We drove out of the city and back on to the course route and started our first 25km leg. This included a very steep 15% hill of about a kilometre which certainly got the blood pumping. On the first driver change I got in the van while Dave, Tom and Jeff rode on. And that's when the "fun" started. I had driven ahead and parked to ensure the boys went in the right direction when I got a call ... read more
In the ER
St Louis
The 4 Amigos

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago June 11th 2017

I woke up early and knocked out the last couple of days worth of travelogues before the sun came up. About 7:30 Abcde awoke and the 2 of us headed to breakfast. Caroline continued her imitation of sleeping beauty but would have been more convincing if she had not had one eye open and her phone lit up in her hand. We had pancakes, grabbed some milk (which she carried) and headed back to the room. Caroline got up soon after we returned (no choice, "get up mommy") and went for breakfast while Abs watched Elena of Avalor. I showered and then wife was back and she ran through the other shower. We Ubered to Navy Pier and mission number one was getting Abcde's bunny stitched back up. Its seams had split. That done, we wandered ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago June 10th 2017

Second morning in Chicago and I am hoping that Abcde is over her withdrawal. Breakfast is pancakes and Abcde makes a reasonable effort and Caroline even joins us. Ready for the day we hail an Uber and hit the road. Today we are delaying our arrival at the festival and first going to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Its a short ride and soon we enter the Zoo. We saw a rhino, zebra, giraffes, golden lion monkey, a snake with legs, caimens, penguins, a lion, sea lions and the sea lions show, rode the little train 3 times and had a generally great time. Just before we left we got Abs some milk, Caroline a Chicago dog, and me some chili cheese fries and a beer. This hit the spot well enough that we ended up not ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago June 9th 2017

I was up earlyish and took Abcde for breakfast shortly after they opened at 6am on the Executive Level. (Side note, if you like to travel and stay at Hilton properties, pay for the Hilton Credit Card to get automatic gold status,it is totally worth it for the free light breakfast, evening snacks and Wifi) Scrambled eggs and oatmeal and lots of fresh fruit. The woman working the lounge was quite taken with Abcde and would remember her name all weekend. Back to the room we got Maitu moving. Our room has 2 double beds and 2 full bathrooms. One for me to fart in and one for Caroline to make smell like roses. Ha. Like the undying, Caroline rose and made her way upstairs for breakfast while I showered and Abcde enjoyed the truest perk ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago June 8th 2017

Short night at work, went in, knocked out the rooms audit and cut out just after 3am. Filled the van with gas on the way home and in bed by 4. Slept till 7:30ish and then showered and got moving, just after 10 we were on the road to Cincinnati. We were picking up the Megabus from the UC Campus so we drove there first and then with some time to kill and empty bellies we went looking for food. Wife was indecisive and we drove far away before turning around and going back to where we began. Caroline was worried about how much time we had so I went for food while she stayed in the car with Abcde. I got a trio combo from Alabama BBQ and while they were fixing it, went 3 ... read more

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