Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Day 4, Dunes and Chicago


Laurel woke up and went for a run that took her up Mt. Randall, an enormous and steep sand dune (Dan tried it later in the day). Dan slept in a little until the hellions at the next campsite woke him up.

We picked up camp and had breakfast on the beach. Dan went swimming in the ocean lake. Cold! We climbed the 240' sand dune next to the parking lot and did some hiking through the dunes behind it.

We changed our clothes and hit the road, stopping at another fruit stand for replenishments. Drove forever to get to Bear Cave in Buchanan. It wasn't really worth it, but we saw a bat and a cool waterfall.

Drove to Indiana (new timezone), had lunch at a picnic table at a rest stop. Indiana is apparently the "crossroads of America" and we can back up that claim as we saw many license plates (even Saskatchewan). We'll see more of Indiana on the drive back in 5 weeks.

Into Illinois. Drove through Chicago traffic and construction (ugh) and then through Skokie to Evanstan, the home of Northwestern Univ. Checked into a Best Western hotel and got ready for a night on the town.

We took the El to the Sears tower and had stuffed pizza at Giordano's. It was OK but I like pie better than cake. From the top of the tower we saw the swarms of people ready to watch the fireworks.

We also saw Soldier Field (Da Bears!) and the John Hancock tower (just another tall black skyscraper).

We walked through the theater district (and all over) trying to find our way to Navy Pier. Never quite made it but got into good position to watch the fireworks. Laurel was nervous about the crowd and getting back home so I jinxed us by saying it couldn't be any worse than New Year's in New Orleans in 2000.

We saw some impressive fireworks and then headed roughly 10 blocks towards the El stop. Saw bucket drummers (video) on the way. The Chicago Transit Authority seemed well organized and ready to move the masses (video), but as we were at the station waiting for the train, the trains on the tracks stopped moving. 20 minutes later all the lights went out in the cars and we found out they had lost power. Not just this station, the whole city's El system!

After waiting another 20 minutes for the power to come back (a worker said she hadn't seen this happen in 17 years) we decided to head out in the rain to find a bus ("Tank, I need an exit!").

Dan figured out the bus system and we headed North for a slow ride home. It was pouring rain when we needed to switch buses so we hailed a taxi instead and finally got home before 2 AM.


Laurie Patterson said...

Those are the size I thought all dunes were. Very Big. The first time I went to the ocean in Florida and saw their sand dunes and laughed. Those were just little bumps along the beach. If you get back to Michigan you need to visit Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes near Traverse City in the northern half of the lower peninsula.

Have fun. FYI my husband is originally from Chicago.

Brian said...

I'm glad you guys got to experience Chicago! I'll soak it up vicariously, as I just hit the suburbs (Clarendon Hills to meet my friend Mike, and Des Plains to look for the 1st McDonalds).

Thomas said...

Ah yes, the good ol' days.

Back in Chicago - oh wait, you wouldn't get that joke.

A long time ago, when I was more dork than geek, I used to go to Chicago with a friend to play at the BattleTech Center, in the North Pier Mall. I dunno if it's still there or not.

I remember Robinson's Chicken having the best entertainment at the "Taste of Chicago" though.