Blogs from Illinois, United States, North America


North America » United States » Illinois » Belvidere March 11th 2020

OOPS, NO PICTURES!!! A couple of years ago, my childhood friend, Gary, provided me with the motivation to make the decision to actually begin planning a 2021 trip to Europe instead of just considering it; and the death of my nephew, Jim, in Summer 2019 provided me with the motivation to accelerate the process and to make the trip while I was still physically able. So, 2020 will find me moving into an entirely new chapter of my life a year sooner than I had originally intended. Since I began “considering” a European adventure, I have maintained that if I were to spend several hours and dollars on an airplane ride to Europe (or the Orient, for that matter) as well as a couple of days getting my body adjusted to the time zone change, I ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago October 27th 2019

Chicago was a city that I had always wanted to revisit. I went when I was 16 years old in a travel camp, but I didn't remember much from the trip. I was happy to discuss the trip with my friend Kenny and also visit Milwaukee. As the trip got closer, I had a lot going on with moving to North Carolina and starting a new job. I was able to push back the start date to the following Monday which gave me an extra day when I got home to finish packing and then drive down with my dad. I arrived at LaGuardia airport and noted how fascinating it was to see how the construction has evolved over time since my days of working at Terminal B. The TSA precheck line was decently long and ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago July 19th 2019

We’re waiting to go to the airport hoping the flight can leave on time. A number of flights have been cancelled this week because temperatures have been too hot for planes to take off. But it’s only 35 so far today, not as hot as expected so fingers crossed. We have met up with Alison and Lance from the American Queen so did a river and lake architectural cruise this morning. A real relief out on the breezy water. The skyline is spectacular from the water with lots of parks and amenities, including a science museum and aquarium on the water front. No condos or hotels are allowed in order to give people access to the shore, although there is a 6 lane highway between them and the shore, accessed via underpasses every so often. It’s ... read more
One of many iron bridges
About as much room as on the Ohio
A dramatic design

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago July 18th 2019

A couple of coincidences happened today. At breakfast over the road at the Hilton who should walk in but our dinner buddies on the American Queen, Allison and Lance, fellow NZers. They are staying at the same hotel and catching the same flight home on Friday night. We are hoping we will get away as a number of flights have been cancelled because of the heat and it’s meant to get hotter. This morning we woke up to an impressive thunder storm and torrential rain. fortunately we had our trusty Kathmandu raincoats with us. Not like the first day we were here when a couple of nice security guards gave us their ponchos when we were caught short at the outdoor concert arena. Free concerts or outdoor movies alternate at Millennium park but unfortunately at about ... read more
Outdoor concert arena designed by Frank Gehry.
‘Jeanne’ by Manet
‘Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’ by Seurat

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago July 17th 2019

I have always loved the work of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright for his clean, modern lines so no trip to Chicago would be complete without doing a tour of his work there. We met at the Rookery building downtown so named because of the previous City Hall built on that site - an allusion not only to the crows and pigeons that inhabited it but also to the politicians. The name stuck. The new building in 1888, was one of the earliest buildings built with a steel skeleton frame. Frank Lloyd Wright was asked to update the interior in 1905. Two very knowledgeable guides, Joan and Bill, shared so much information with us - they have to be certified to talk about specific buildings. After a tour of the Rookery we headed out to Oak ... read more
Looking up the spiral staircase
A lancet window in the Unity Temple to let in light

North America » United States » Illinois » Galena June 30th 2019

Ride home .... via Galena IL. I decided to extend my stay in St. Louis by a day; this extension would allow me to visit one of my favorite Irish Pubs in the U.S. - McGurk's Irish Pub in the Soulard district of St. Louis. A little known fact: St. Louis actually has the 2nd largest Mardi gras celebration in the US after New Orleans. This celebration takes place in the Soulard district. I found McGurk's on my Cajun-Parrot ride in 2013. One of the few places in the US where the Guinness is consistently good (at least good - by U.S. standards). McGurk's has live Irish music 6 nights a week and a great outdoor patio area in the summer time. The same bartender that took care of me in 2013 was there to serve ... read more
3 McGurks St Louis one of my favorite Irish pubs in the states
12 Savannah IL home of Joanne Gage (Karen's Aunt)
7 View of Lake Galena from the Eagles Ridge resort in Galena

North America » United States » Illinois » Orland Park June 30th 2019

My brother, Jim and I are doing a long adventure trip together. He lives in Fayetteville, AR and, of course I live in Orland Park, IL, a Chicago suburb. We plan on meeting in Paola, KS (near Kansas City) on July 2nd. Jim rides a Honda Goldwing Trike and I ride a Can Am Spyder, another three wheeler. We will ride to Colorado and ride for a couple days through the mountains there. After that part of the trip, we will part ways and Jim will make his way home and I will continue on to California. We are going to ride as much as possible on US 50 westbound. US 50 is one of our country's earliest coast to coast highways and in Nevada it is the "Loneliest Road in America." Once I get to ... read more
My 2015 Can Am Spyder, Rita

North America » United States » Illinois » Bolingbrook June 17th 2019

Day 1: Friday June 7: We’re on our way! EL and HM arrive at O’Hare via Uber. Helens first Uber was smooth! Although nervous about their luggage weight ( I know insert weight jokes here) they were pleasantly surprised that they squeaked by the 40 lb limit set by Spirit Air. They actually encountered the ONE nice Sprit employee. A lunch followed and the wait begins for the Schmitty gals and ND! Once reunited the cattle call to steerage begins. Strapped into their cardboard seats they are about to embark on one of the bumpiest air flights ever! As the kids say it was Bumpy AF!!! Finally off the death bucket it’s car rental time! Our consumer savvy girls get their “Costco” cars and off they go! Time to hit everyone’s favorite Florida hotspot.... Sam Club! ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago April 2nd 2019

I woke up feeling pretty well rested from my amazing stay at Comfort Inn. I took advantage of the free breakfast and then took the free shuttle to the Syracuse Hancock Airport. My first flight went smoothly. The flight was packed, but it was only two hours to Chicago, if that. No biggie. Then I got to O'Hare. This is were things got stressful. I did some research and learned that the international flight terminal is separate from the other terminals, and the usual express rail that transports you there was down for renovations until the fall of 2019. Not to worry, I read. There would be plenty of shuttles and buses for us travelers. I got off my flight and decided to immediately get to my gate. At first, O'Hare seemed so beautiful and cool. ... read more
Chicaco O'Hare
Chicaco O'Hare
Chicaco O'Hare

North America » United States » Illinois » Orland Park February 10th 2019

Tomorrow early morning we depart O'Hare airport for Maui with Dan & Marilyn Flaherty, our traveling buddies. Thankfully, United reinstated their non-stop flight from Chicago to Kahului airport on Maui. That eliminates a layover in Honolulu for an extra hour or two. It's a long flight (about 8 hours from Chicago), but well worth it once you get there. It will be a welcome break from winter. ... read more

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