Illinois Trip, Part 2

We arrived in Chicago and got settled into our next Airbnb. This time we had a room with two beds and shared the bathroom, kitchen, and living and dining rooms with the other guests. Not as nice as our first rental, but it worked out well in the end.

Wednesday we took the L (metro) and a bus to the Shedd Aquarium. We especially liked the show that had Beluga whales, dolphins, and a sea lion. The displays on the Amazon rainforest were pretty cool as well.

After that, we walked down to the Adler Planetarium. Our admission included two shows, so we saw one that covered the stars in the Chicago night sky and another one about the search for a new ninth planet. Joe liked the first show better, and Michael looked the second. I thought they were equally good in different ways.

Next we walked down to the Field Museum. We only had about 90 minutes left before they closed, but we wanted to see it while we were there. My favorite section is the hall of gemstones so we made sure to go there. We also saw a special exhibit on wildlife photography that was really good.

One bus and a train later, we made it back to our room. Just in time for a thunderstorm to roll in actually!

Thursday morning we headed back into the city to the Museum of Science and Industry. The special exhibit Wired to Wear was pretty neat – it was all about different wearable technology. Lots of cool stuff! Joe also took a special tour inside a WWII submarine.

I attempted to splurge on an overpriced sweatshirt but their network was down and I couldn’t use my credit card. Instead we splurged on a taxi ride to our next location instead of taking two different buses to get there. It was so worth it and only half the cost!

Our second stop was Skydeck, which is the top floor of the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower. Although I am not fond of heights, I didn’t mind being up there. I did not, however, take a turn out on the ledge.

Having used up our CityPass, we took the train back to our room and just chilled the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Friday we drove from Chicago home to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was a long day as we stopped for meals and other breaks, but we wanted to get home and have the weekend still to enjoy.

We are thinking next time we go to the Quad-Cities that we will make our side trip be St. Louis. Neither Joe nor Michael has ever been there, and it seems like there are lots of neat things to see and do. But that’s probably going to be another four years, so we’ve got lots of time to think about it!

What fun places are you visiting this year?

Illinois Trip, Part 1

It’s been four years since we made the trip out to Illinois, where both of my parents live. The last time we came Joe and I were engaged and Michael was only 13 and certainly didn’t have facial hair! So it was high time to make the trip.

We decided to leave on a Friday and take two days for the drive. We also decided to take the stick shift, which meant I had to brush up on my driving skills. I’m pretty sure it had been 15 years since I had driven a manual transmission. (It did come back to me for the most part, although I’m still not great at pulling out in first gear.)

The drive itself wasn’t too bad except for a few construction slowdowns and a fair amount of congestion around the Chicago area. It was long enough to make us start thinking of adding a budget category to save up for plane tickets for next time though!

We arrived in the Quad-Cities on Saturday and checked into our Airbnb. It was a cute upstairs apartment in an old house near the Mississippi River. The only problem was it had very few electrical outlets and we kept tripping the circuit in the living room. But it was nice to have a bedroom for me & Joe as well as a kitchen.

Saturday night we met my mom for dinner at the Iowa Machine Shed. Then Sunday we met my dad and his wife for lunch at the Village Inn. It was good to see everyone. I hadn’t seen my mom since that last trip in 2015. My dad and his wife had visited us in Pennsylvania in 2016 for our wedding reception, but that was still a while ago.

My Mom Kathy
My Dad Dean and his wife Carolyn

Sunday we also went to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters and then got ice cream at Whitey’s. The movie was better than I thought it would be, and the chocolate marshmallow malt was just as good as I remember it.

Monday we took a trip to the Amana Colonies and enjoyed walking around to the various shops they have there. We got treats at the chocolate shop as well as gifts for both our parents. I also got a new candle to burn while I’m working.

Monday night we saw my mom again and then we stopped by my dad’s Tuesday morning before leaving for the Chicago area. All in all, a good first leg.

Stay tuned for Part 2, the Chicago leg of the trip!