Well, this was the transition point we always knew was coming, but turned out to still be painful. Richard flew home on Tuesday as planned. Both of us felt, and are still feeling, it’s just plain wrong not to have him with Dory. But, such is the nature of having to hold down jobs, so there you go.
I spent the afternoon with another dear, long time friend who lives in Chicago. This aspect of the trip has been one of my favorite parts: connecting with people I love but rarely get to see. She and I planned a nice itinerary for the next few days and she came out to see Dory. She loved it. 🙂
The next day I started by taking a walking tour of Chicago architecture and that was super fun. We got to take an elevated train to get from one area to another and the volunteer tour guide pointed out “must see” buildings and gave history on how they came to be. I learned a lot about key history points and important people. As luck would have it, as we were standing by the river listening to the tour guide, Rahm Emanuel and an entourage of body guards just walked up the stairs right next to us and made his way down the street, shaking hands with people as he passed. One of the many things, well everything, I didn’t know was that the “Willis Tower” (Sears) used 9 “bundled tubes” as its central structure in order to withstand winds coming off Lake Michigan. We passed through Millennium Park before the tour, with its impressive amphitheater, gardens, and overall billiant use of public space.
Then it was off to the airport again for me, but this time on a happier note: to pick up our “kids” (though 17 and nearly 21 hardy justifies the use of the term). We drove the long haul back to Dory and they got introduced. I think the jury is still out for them, but we shall see. My daughter is nicely set up in the front dinette area and the curtain I sewed is working well to give her a somewhat protected space of her own. My son has opted for the tent rather than an awkward bed sharing with his mother, and I don’t blame him a bit. However, it is raining right now and we’ll see how he feels about accommodations in the morning.
Thursday was a full day of indoor sight seeing. We went to the the Art Institute first and I frankly could have stayed there all day. They have a very impressive collection of impressionist paintings and there is just nothing like seeing those in person. Some of the most famous and recognizable works are there, including a current exhibit on Degas showcasing his bronze ballerina. Dozens of Monet masterpieces. Nice.
The Museum of Science and Industry was last but not least on the tour list. My friend got tickets to see an exhibit on robots and a tour of an actual U-Boat (U 505) captured during WWII that also had an Enigma coding machine on board. This was simply mind blowing, just in the scope of what it took to get this thing into an indoor exhibit. There were kiosks and videos galore explaining the history of all of this, but the memorable part was actually getting to walk throuh this thing and get a sense of what tight quarters really are. Trailering is nothing! Try a U Boat for 100 days.
If you are planning a trip to Chicago, I highly recommend you use my friend as your own personal tour guide. You’ll have to perhaps meet her and befriend her and such, but it will be well worth it because she is also very fun just in general.
My hope is that having dinner with my friend and her husband is the end of this story and that we will happily roll out of here tomorrow. Right now however, there is a severe weather alert and flash flood warning for precisely the area where I am now camped. I can totally understand why because the river here looks like it is about ready to jump its banks. Another solid night of rain, so I’m a little worried I’m going to have to make a quick evacuation in the middle of the night. I decided against hitching up. Hope I don’t regret that!
All in all, this was a good transition point, though I still really wish we were just retired so Richard could be here with me.
Tomorrow we continue West! (Hopefully, not via a newly created waterway)