I've gotta admit, the drive from Maryland to Chicago wasn't particularly exciting. It's a 12 hour drive, on a long, flat interstate highway. The scenery wasn't anything spectacular, but it's those long drives that enable you to think and process where you are and what you are doing. I like to gaze at the passing cars, full of people and their stuff. Are they going to work? Are they moving? Why are they headed in this direction. It's easy to just think of the people on the road as the worst people in the world, when they pass you, almost run into you, or drive very slowly. As much as that annoys me, I try to imagine their life's story and what's going on in that car. It's just a fun little game I play. I guess it's the filmmaker in me - creating stories in my head.
It took us about 12 hours to get to Chicago, and as we arrived in the sunset over Lake Michigan and the city, I quickly remembered why this is one of my favorite cities. It's just gorgeous. I'm not a huge city person, but Chicago just speaks to me. It has great food, it's easy to travel around, and the comedy scene is just so wonderful.
Like, this street above, for example. SO CUTE! I think I annoyed Brooke because I just keep gawking at the architecture in the neighborhood we were staying in. We stayed in LakeView at the Day Inn Chicago which was a wonderful hotel for the price and location! I will definitely be staying there again. It's the perfect location for a variety of dining and shopping options. Plus, Lincoln Park is very close, as is the beach (Lake Michigan)!
Back when I visited Chicago in March, I had gotten a Ventra card for the CTA, which I could reload. This was super helpful and quick as we started to explore around the city. I loaded $10 on it and it lasted me all day. The CTA is the best source of transportation around there to see all of the city - and this is coming from a girl who likes to drive everywhere! Brooke and I headed first to Millennium Park, to see the Bean and other landmarks. Because of the rain and post-tourist season, there was no one around. We walked all they way to the Navy Pier to dry off and enjoy the shops there.
I had a chance to meet up with my friends that I had stayed with back in March at a free show at iO Chicago. I love nothing more than a free show. Tone was playing and I was super impressed. I saw a few shows back in March, but this was my favorite! The bar there is perfect and you feel like you stumbled upon a secret place, even though it's a super famous club.
Thank you, Chicago, for once again being awesome and accommodating. I'll be back.
Minnesota - The Land of 10,000 Lakes
I have yet to see all 10,000 lakes, but I'm sure they are here.
Minnesota was BEAUTIFUL when we crossed over the border from Wisconsin (where we stopped at a Cheese Shop and got some AMAZING cheese). There were mountains hugging a lake, as the road twisted in and out of them. I was a little more disappointed when they quickly faded in the rearview mirror, but the rolling hills of Minnesota were nice for the rest of the ride.
The best thing right now about Minnesota is the weather. It's nice and cool and a great break from the humidity of home. The one thing that we wanted to do in Minnesota was go to Mall of America. Now, this place was crazy. Every shop possible was there and the people watching was amazing. It was a little overwhelming but was the perfect way to spend the day. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant and I only paid $5 for my meal because they put sausage on it, when it usually came with chicken. The funny thing was that I ate it anyway, and the waitress noticed halfway through my meal and then brought me the correct plate. I was stuffed by the end of that meal to say the least.
Our last night in Minnesota couldn't have been better. We ate at the Grand Rounds Brew Pub and had the best round of drinks and food. I even had a Peanut Butter stout that I would drink every night if I could! Our waiter was hilarious and we just had a great time talking and laughing and hanging out. I recommend stopping in there and just chilling for a while.
And then I was off. I'm now in beautiful San Diego, CA and about to go out and tackle the day! Stay tuned for that blog post :)