Blogs from Illinois, United States, North America


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

North America » United States » Illinois » Orland Park January 26th 2019

Today Michael is flying to Chicago from La Guardia in New York. This will be his third trip to snowmobile northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. We drive from Chicago to Land O' Lakes, WI tomorrow and start snowmobiling on Monday. It's going to be the coldest week so far this winter up there with overnight lows in the 20-30 below zero range and highs in the low single digits during the day. The trails are reported to be in very good shape so the only thing to hold us back might be the cold, but we're tough old guys. Here's a picture of a high flying Michael back in the 80's.... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Orland Park October 18th 2018

When I awoke around 7 AM, there was an inch of snow on Rita and the temperature was 27 degrees. Although it didn't look like anything was sticking to the pavement, I didn't want to take the chance that I might encounter some ice on the highways. So I hung around the Gateway about as long as I could and decided to get on the road at 11:00 AM. The weather forecast for home was a high of 51, but the temps were going to drop to the high 20's at night so I didn't want to wait so long that I would run into those temps at the end of the ride. So I knocked the snow off the bike, saddled up, checked out of the lodge and headed south on US 45. The road ... read more

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