“What You Talkin’ About Willis?”

** Note:  This adventure took place back in June.  If you are friends with me on Facebook or just friends with me period, you may be aware that my mother passed away in early August.  Finishing this particular blog post was put on hold.  I had quite a few adventures with that 91 year old woman; a few that I posted on here.  She loved getting out and going places and her being gone has left an empty feeling in me that I did not expect.  But life goes on.  As mom used to say, “What’s the alternative?  Curling up in a ball in a dark room with the shades drawn?”  Nope.  That’s not an option for me nor was it for her.  Cheers Mom and let the adventures continue!

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June 2017 – Willis Tower.  There, I said it.  All of you who grew up in the Chicagoland area know how painful that was.  Our beloved Sears Tower is gone in name alone.

My latest adventure was a long weekend trip to Chicago.  Amtrak, Willis (ugh) Tower, John Hancock building, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, walk along Lake Michigan, Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, hot dogs and pizza.  How’s that for a tourist cliche?  Son loves Chi Town, and I love son so off we went!

We caught the Wolverine 350 train out of Troy, MI.  The name of the train alone was enough to hook my X-Men loving son.  Took a little over 6 hours to get to Chicago – not bad considering I could sit back and relax and not have to sit in traffic on a Friday afternoon.

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Interesting scenery along the way – Detroit area.  I found it strangely beautiful…

We arrived in Union Station around 5:00 pm and checked into LaQuinta on Franklin Street .  Highly recommend this hotel – can’t beat the view from our window.

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Willis Tower

Thus began almost 20,000 steps for the day.  Mind you, it’s already 6:00 pm.  How about some dinner, son?  No thanks Mom –  let’s go!  Headed out to Willis Tower first and the Sky Deck.  Heights do not bother me so I was able to enjoy the views.  So were at least 500 other people.  Helpful tip – buy a City Pass if you are going to visit major attractions in downtown Chicago.  Save some $.

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Willis Tower.   Quite a sight to behold.  Son is fascinated with this 110 story structure.  And I’d like to brag that he’s quite the photog as evidenced by the above pic.  After breaking ground in 1970, it took three years to complete and used enough concrete to make an eight-lane, five-mile-long highway. The last beam put in place was commemorated by the signatures of 12,000 construction workers, Sears employees, and Chicagoans.

WELCOME TO THE LEDGE

The reason for our being at this moment.  To step outside the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. 1,353 feet in the air, into the Ledge’s glass box which extends out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck.  Crazy?  I don’t think so.  And on this clear evening – I believe we were able to see four states…

Short intermission – enjoy some Aerosmith – Living on the Edge – sorry – have to go to YouTube to watch and listen – follow link – silly copyright laws.

 

Next stop, John Hancock.  Never mind the fact that we have to walk 1.9 miles up a packed Michigan Avenue on a humid night in Chicago.  Doesn’t matter.  Lots of interesting things to see.

 

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So photogenic – Hello?  Modeling agencies?  Not that I’m biased…

 

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The beautiful Wrigley building.  Mom used to work here back in the day.

 

We finally make it to the mighty John Hancock and proceed to the 360 Observation Deck .  Because who doesn’t want to step into a clear glass container on the 94th floor and have it tilt out from the building?  I was so exhausted and hungry that son could have talked me into bungee jumping from the roof if I knew I could grab a  hot dog on the way down.

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Finished up our tilt time and headed back on Michigan Avenue.  Chicago was hoppin’ that night with about three different major events happening that weekend.  We grabbed a cab back to the hotel and collapsed.  Big day tomorrow.

Next morning.  Cab time again.  A little more harrowing than last night.  First stop was the Field Museum ; a favorite of mine since childhood.  Hard to forget the many field trips taken there in those seatbelt-less school buses.  And don’t forget those wax figure machines that we would blow our allowance on.

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We were able to use our City Pass again and were looking forward to the animatronic dinosaur exhibit.  Unfortunately, we had to evacuate the tour a few minutes into it; no explanation given.  Maybe the T-Rex ate the baby.   Disappointed and no refund due to unforeseen circumstances.

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Beautiful day in Chicago!

 

No trip to the museum is complete without visiting Sue the T-Rex.  Looking good girl (Dave too)!

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Finished up the museum and headed next door to the Shedd Aquarium.  I can’t tell you how nice it is to have these two wonderful attractions next to each other.  And, right on  Lake Michigan.

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We finished up our day with a walk along the lakeshore and picture taking.  What a wonderful day enjoying Chicago.  Not done yet.  Had to catch a train out to Aurora to help my brother and his wife celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.  Great times!

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Now this was a full 2 days – beautiful weather, fun attractions, great food and a lot of steps!  Train travel is something I would do again.  Takes a little longer but very relaxing.

Until next time!

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