Chicago, September 2005

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Great Britain
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Travelogue: Chicago
September 2005

By Roger W. Reini

By date:

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Friday September 2

This trip of mine is not solely a vacation.  Two days next week, I will be doing legitimate work.  On Tuesday, I will be attending an SAE committee meeting for circuit protection devices – fuses and circuit breakers.  On Wednesday, I’ll be visiting Littelfuse, a key fuse manufacturer, for a tour and other discussions. 

I had packed my car on Thursday, and when I left for work this morning, I put in the last couple of bags.  Nonetheless, I planned to come back after work to pick up the papers and get the mail.  When I went to work, I planned to get gas from the company fuel station.  Unfortunately, due to the hurricane-induced gas disruptions, the station was closed to retain purchases.  I had to go to a nearby gas station to fill up; the price was $3.19 a gallon.  The weather was fantastic, with not a cloud in the sky.  Unfortunately, with the disaster coverage, I was reminded that the weather on the day of the 9/11 attacks was the same.  Later, at lunch, I saw another image that reminded me of that terrible day.  Fox News had a shot showing what appeared to be a skyscraper burning.  It wasn’t; the fire was actually from a building in the foreground, but the image was still disturbing, just like the other images from New Orleans and Mississippi.

When I left work, I noticed that the station where I’d filled up in the morning had dropped its price a dime.  Farther down Outer Drive, the Speedway station had gone to $2.99 and had a line.  But elsewhere, I saw a station at Telegraph and Warren with $3.49 gas.  When I got home, I picked up the papers, got the mail, got a drink of water, and then set off for Kalamazoo.  I ended up taking I-94 all the way there after first contemplating taking old Michigan Avenue (meaning Old US 12).  For this part of the trip, I wanted speed.  Also, it would have been rush hour in the cities I would have passed through.  I did encounter some slow traffic in the Ann Arbor area.  While driving, I was listening to CNN and Fox News for continuing hurricane aftermath coverage.  I heard the President speak after touring the devastated area.

By 6:30, I was in Kalamazoo and had checked into my hotel for the night, the Hampton Inn on Kilgore Street.  After resting for a bit, I got back into the car and continued westward, for I had decided that I would have supper at either of two locations, Cracker Barrel or Culver’s.  I decided to eat at Culver’s, for I’d never been there before, and one would be opening near me in a month or so.  They serve burgers, salads, dairy desserts, etc.  Tonight, I did not eat particularly healthily, for I had a bacon cheeseburger (I promised to make up for it in future meals).  I had root beer to drink (their own flavor), and it was pretty good.  Then I went back to the hotel, where I watched NBC’s concert for hurricane victims.  Yes, I heard Kanye West’s controversial comments alleging racism in the poor response to the disaster (I prefer to blame bureaucratic bungling and incompetence).  Then I watched the Lions’ pre-season game for a while; they actually were winning!


Saturday September 3

I had a decent night’s sleep, waking up shortly after 7.  I took a shower, checked e-mail, then went downstairs to partake of Hampton Inn’s breakfast buffet.  I ate fairly lightly this morning – blueberry muffins, strawberry yogurt, and orange and apple juice.  Shortly after 8:30, I was packed and ready to leave the hotel.  Unlike yesterday, speed was not my goal.  I wanted to drive the old Lincoln Highway through Indiana and Illinois – it was the first transcontinental highway, originally designated in 1913.  Now earlier this year, I had driving a segment of the Lincoln from Beaverdam, Ohio, to Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I wasn’t going all the way down to Fort Wayne and pick it up where I left off; instead, I would pick up the highway in Elkhart.

I left the hotel, got onto I-94 and then onto US 131.  It was a freeway for a few miles, then a divided highway, then finally a two-way highway.  In the town of White Pigeon, I stopped at a Speedway station for a bathroom break, then headed onward.  Before long, I was in Indiana.  I began to see a few Amish buggies on the roadway; at one point, I even saw a group of three or four Amish on bicycles.  I had to take US 20 for several miles to reach Elkhart.  When I got there, I hopped off the freeway, then took the Lincoln Highway into town.  I had studied maps and the LH guidebook before the trip, and I had my GPS device going, so I felt pretty confident I knew where I was going.  I followed the highway through Elkhart, Mishawaka and South Bend.  I may have gone astray somewhat in downtown South Bend, but if I did, it wasn’t for very far or very long.

Heading out of South Bend, I saw references to Prairie View.  I passed through the town of La Porte, and I passed by a Beechnut Street.  I was starting to wonder if I was in Houston, ha ha.  Then I arrived in Valparaiso.  I saw some of the landmarks mentioned in the Lincoln Highway book, such as the Frostop Root Beer sign and the Big Wheel restaurant.  But it was there that I got off course.  At one point, the street named Lincolnway diverges from the real highway, but I missed this turnoff.  It was only when I got to Hobart on Highway 130 that I realized my error.  Side note:  I learned later that parts of Highway 130 were part of another historic cross-country highway, the Yellowstone Trail.  That would be worthy of a trip someday, too, but back to the Lincoln Highway trip for now.  I took Highway 51 through town to 73rd Street, which was the old highway.  Speed limits were rather low on the old road – 30 mainly, but 20 for one stretch.  It eventually joined back up with US 30, and I took that for a while.  When I saw a new Culver’s restaurant just west of the intersection with US 41, I decided to stop there for lunch, even though I had eaten at one just last night.  This time, I decided to try one of their salads – today, it was a grilled chicken Caesar salad.  The salad was OK, but the chicken was quite good, quite flavorful.

Not too far west of the restaurant, there was a highway bridge with markings that commemorated the old Ideal Section of the roadway, a stretch that was to be well-paved and beautified.  It’s all gone now, destroyed when the highway was widened to 4 lanes.  But the bridge honors what was.  I pulled over in a parking lot and walked to the bridge, then took a few pictures.  Then it was onward to Illinois, where the historic highway was well marked.  Historic Route 66 is also well-marked, as I had found during previous visits to Illinois.  I didn’t have much difficulty following the Lincoln through the southern suburbs of Chicago.  For a mile or two in Chicago Heights, the Lincoln Highway followed the same road as the west branch of the Dixie Highway.  The Dixie was marked, which is not the case in Michigan and Ohio.

Westward I continued on Highway 30, which the Lincoln had rejoined.  I stopped at a Borders for a restroom break and a chance to get the local papers, in this case a Saturday Tribune and an early Sunday edition of the Tribune.  I passed by the Lincoln Mall, which I had visited many years ago on a couple of trips to Chicago.  After continuing westward and passing through Joliet, I went past the Louis Joliet Mall, which I had also visited on previous Chicago trips.  Didn’t stop there today, though.  I passed through Plainfield, and for a short distance, the Lincoln co-routed with Route 66 (not the official historic Route 66, though; that went through downtown Joliet).  Now north of Plainfield, I noticed that I diverged from the official route of the Lincoln, because either the turns weren’t marked or I didn’t notice them.  However, the roadway I stayed on was actually a later route for the Lincoln.  While I drove, I was listening to college football on XM – specifically, Michigan State versus Kent State.  MSU gave Kent State a solid thrashing.

I drove through downtown Aurora and Geneva, seeing parts of the Chicago area I’d never seen before.  But in Geneva, the Lincoln turned west, leaving Chicago.  As I would be staying in the Chicago area, I turned east on Highway 38, which was the west feeder route into Chicago during the heyday of the Lincoln.  I passed through many of the western suburbs while making my way to the Extended Stay Deluxe in Des Plaines.

Now the Extended Stay Deluxe used to be known as StudioPlus.  The room was a little bit fancier than the standard Extended Stay room, although this room did not have a dishwasher.  The StudioPlus in Houston did have a dishwasher when I stayed there two years ago.  My room, 207, faced east.  I could see the top of the Allstate Arena, formerly the Rosemont Horizon, from my window.  I could also see the occasional plane fly into O’Hare Airport.  Unfortunately, my satellite radio receivers couldn’t see the satellites or the receivers, so they were of no use to me.  That irked me.  However, both XM and Sirius had online services, so I could use those to listen in the room.

Now that I had arrived, I needed to fill the refrigerator, so I went to the closest grocery store I could find, which was a Jewel on Lee at Oakton.  I got quite a few things there, mainly drinks, although I got a couple of frozen pizzas.  For supper, I went to a nearby IHOP and got one of their skillet breakfasts.  Then it was back to the hotel, where I watched CNN’s continuing coverage of the hurricane disaster.  Later, I’d put on the local news from WBBM-TV, and I was watching them when they announced that Chief Justice Rehnquist had died.  That was a surprise, though not much of one, for he was seriously ill with thyroid cancer.  I was not aware that he was near death, though; neither were the media.


Sunday September 4

I woke up after 6 this morning.  The TV news was following two stories, the hurricane aftermath and the Rehnquist passing.  I took it easy this morning.

After yesterday’s drive, I didn’t really feel like continuing my Lincoln Highway adventure, so I decided to stay around town.  My first visit was to a Barnes and Noble in Arlington Heights on Rand Road, where I got a Sunday Sun-Times.  I visited the Trader Joe’s next door, but I didn’t get anything there.  I considered visiting a Chinese buffet and Mongolian barbecue restaurant across the street, but I passed on that opportunity.  Then it was up Rand Road to a Whole Foods Market, where I got some Ezekiel 4:9 cereal.  I should have brought some from home, but I didn’t think to do so.  Also, I thought that the hotel had a morning breakfast bar, but when I looked this morning, it was not operational.

Now that I had my cereal, I was getting hungry for lunch.  Where would I go?  My first instinct was to go to Chevy’s Mexican restaurant in Schaumburg, while my second instinct was to visit Sweet Tomatoes, also in Schaumburg.  First instincts won today, so I went to Chevy’s and had a very good platter.  Afterwards, I visited the Great Indoors across the street (didn’t get anything there), then paid a visit to Woodfield Mall (didn’t get anything there either, but I got a few ideas).  Then it was back to the hotel, where I ended up taking it easy for a while.

Now later in the afternoon, I got the idea to visit the Bahá’í House of Worship.  It had been at least a year since I’d visited; I was overdue.  I wasn’t that far away.  My only concern was, would it still be open when I got there.  If it was still operating on summer hours, it would be.  I decided to take a chance, so I drove east on Touhy through Park Ridge, the northern part of Chicago and Niles.  I took Gross Point Road, but I was stopped at a railroad crossing that no longer existed.  I had to go back down to Touhy, then find another road that went up to Gross Point.  I found that road, and then the drive to the House was easy.  Road construction on the way that was there last year was all gone.  Construction at the House of Worship was still underway, but I could see the progress that had been made.  Many of the gardens and fountains had been completed, and I could see that much of the walkway around the House had been repaved with bricks.  The atmosphere was one of tranquility.  I offered several prayers that some of this tranquility could be conveyed to the stricken area and the victims.  I bought a few books at the bookstore, spent some time in the auditorium in meditation and prayer, and walked what I could of the gardens.  It seemed to rejuvenate me.  With that rejuvenation, I drove back to the hotel, first by taking Lake Street to the Edens (moderately busy at 8 PM) to Touhy.


Monday September 5

Yesterday I did not feel like going on another extended drive.  But today, I did.  There wasn’t anything else I really wanted to do today other than resume the Lincoln Highway drive.  There were no reports of gas shortages in the area, the weather was good, and I had really been looking forward to making this drive.

I took Mannheim Road down to North Avenue, where I turned west and headed back to Geneva.  North Avenue was an excellent roadway; I could keep good time on it as I headed westward.  Again, I drove through parts of town that I’d never visited before, such as West Chicago and St. Charles.  Eventually, I found myself back in Geneva at the place where the Lincoln Highway turned westward.  This time, I followed the command of Horace Greeley and a certain ‘80s band:  Go West.  I picked up the Lincoln Highway where I had left off on Saturday.  The road was well marked, for the most part, although there were some places where there weren’t any markings, and I lost the highway for a short distance.  I passed through De Kalb and went through Rochelle, where I made a bathroom break at a truck stop.  There was one small town where the highway made its way on very narrow streets.  There was a stretch that was still a gravel road.  It made me wonder what it would have been like in 1913 in a Model T, when nearly all of the road would have been gravel or worse.  I had it a lot more comfortable than those early road pioneers.  I passed through Dixon, boyhood home of Ronald Reagan, although I did not pass by his boyhood home.  I did get to see the arch across the highway, which was originally erected as a World War I memorial.

The highway wasn’t very busy except in towns, and not really even then.  The fact that it was Labor Day had something to do with that, but a bigger reason had to be the freeways carrying the heavy traffic.  If I-80 or I-88 didn’t exist, then the Lincoln Highway would have been extremely busy.

When I arrived in Fulton, I paid a visit to Der Immigrant, a real Dutch windmill built along the Mississippi.  Illinois’s portion of the Lincoln Highway ended there, for the original bridge to Iowa was long gone.  I took some pictures of the windmill, then crossed over to Iowa on a more modern bridge and ended up following or paralleling the Lincoln for a while.  Gas prices weren’t much different in Iowa, but for some reason the midgrade was less expensive than regular.  My mission to take the Lincoln across Illinois was over, and now it was time to head back.  I followed US 67, the Great River Road, down to I-80 near the Quad Cities.  I stopped at the Welcome Center for a bit and picked up some literature for future visits.  Then after a visit to the gas station, I headed back to Illinois.

I would head back to Chicago on I-88, for I wanted to return fairly quickly.  The time for dilly-dallying was over.  I-88 started out as a freeway, then turned into a tollway.  That caused me some problems.  When I re-entered the freeway after stopping at a Wal-Mart for some necessary business, the unmanned tollgate didn’t acknowledge when I’d paid sufficient toll.  I even overpaid a bit, but it still didn’t acknowledge it.  I had no choice but to head on, but not before taking an envelope for unpaid tolls due to insufficient change (I had paid enough, but this was just in case).  Construction along the way irked me, for it was a 45-mph speed limit.  There were some cars behind me who wanted me to go faster.  Did I?  No comment.  Traffic picked up as we got closer to town.  Then I got onto the Tri-State Tollway and took that to the Des Plaines River Road exit.  There I ran into another problem:  another unattended booth; 80 cents toll; but only 50 cents change.  I deposited the 50 cents and headed onward; that envelope for unpaid tolls would be useful after all.

Now that I was back at the hotel, I had to decide what to do for supper.  My first thought was Portillo’s Hotdogs, but the nearest one was closed.  I ended up going to the nearby Steak & Shake and had a Steak & Shake dinner.  It wasn’t bad.


Tuesday September 6

Today was not a vacation day for me; it was a workday.  Today, I would participate in an SAE committee meeting on circuit protection devices.  I started my day with breakfast in the breakfast bar downstairs.  It was nowhere near as fancy as breakfast bars at other hotels, but it sufficed for today.  I got ready for work thinking that the meeting began at 8:30, so when I checked the agenda and found that it began at 9, I had some extra time on my hands, which I spent by reading the paper.

The committee meeting was held at Cooper Bussman’s offices, which were fairly close to the hotel.  We had a productive meeting, the details of which I won’t mention here – not that it would be of interest to most readers.  After we adjourned, I did not head back to the hotel immediately but instead went to the Best Buy in Schaumburg for new DVD’s.  I was interested in one new DVD in particular, Tracey Ullman: Live and Exposed.  Sure, I had recorded it when it aired on HBO earlier this year, but I figured that buying it legitimately was the right and proper thing to do.  Back at the hotel, I wrote a note to the Illinois Turnpike authority explaining my turnpike difficulties of yesterday and enclosed a dollar, which more than covered the missed toll.

Dinner tonight was courtesy of Littelfuse, one of the fuse manufacturers that participated in today’s meeting, and which I would be visiting tomorrow.  One of their engineers stopped by and suggested Harry Caray’s, which was in a nearby hotel.  His suggestion was a good one.  The steak that I had was excellent.  If I lived in the area, I would go there on occasion – but not too frequently, for the prices were fairly high.  Later, I would go to the store (Dominick’s this time) for a few more items.


Wednesday September 7

I got up around 6 and washed some dishes – I had to do that because housekeeping wouldn’t.  Today’s meeting with Littelfuse started at 8:30 and went for most of the day.  It wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on the meetings, for work content doesn’t belong in a travelogue.

I didn’t go anywhere for supper tonight; I just had a frozen pizza.  I wasn’t really in the mood for going out, anyway.  I had discovered that XM reception was possible in my room, but only if the antenna was held up high, either by my hand or by the window frame.  With my room being near an airport and only on the second floor, there was no way I was going to keep the window open overnight.  I would have listened to streaming audio, but the wireless connection was really flaky, and I couldn’t listen to any.  So I watched the Red Sox take on the Angels and read some more of the Lincoln Highway book.


Thursday September 8

Today, I was really on vacation.  All my work commitments for this trip were over, and the rest of the time was mine.  But part of the time was spent wiping the bottom of the refrigerator dry.  There was a lot of water there, and I had no idea where it was coming from.  I moved the pop can cartons off of the bottom to one of the shelves to keep them dry.  That irked me; I’d have to report that to the front desk.  Now what would I do today?  I would visit some stores that I had wanted to visit for a while, such as Fry’s Electronics, which does not have a store in Detroit.

When I arrived at Fry’s, my first stop was the restroom, for it had been a decent drive from the hotel.  After taking care of that business, I glanced at their DVD’s.  I wandered through the software section, taking a look at what was available for Windows, for Macs and for Linux.  Over near the cameras, I noticed a couple of guitars, one acoustic and one electric.  I plinked on the acoustic for a bit, then picked up the electric one for a few minutes.  As I was about to put it down, one of the salesman asked me to continue.  He thought I was pretty good.  So I continued jamming for a few minutes, doing some country-blues-rock improvisation.

I wound my way through the other departments and found myself in the input device aisle of the computer section.  I noticed Wacom’s Graphire tablets, but I spotted something peculiar:  the same product had prices differing by $20.  Upon closer inspection, though, I saw that they weren’t the same product at all.  The one that was $20 more expensive was a newer version of the tablet, with additional functionality added to the tablet and the pen.  Now I had the old version of the tablet in the smaller size (4 inches by 5 inches), but this new tablet intrigued me, not only because of the new functions but also because it was a larger size, 6 by 8.  I thought the larger area could be useful for doing drawings and markups, so into the shopping basket it went.

I’d spent well over an hour at the store, and it was time for lunch when I left.  Coming in, I had noticed a Fuddrucker’s and a Cheeseburger in Paradise (yes, it was owned by or affiliated with Jimmy Buffet).  I ended up eating at the familiar Fuddrucker’s (I’d later learn that the Cheeseburger in Paradise was open for lunch only on the weekends), where I got a turkey burger, which was pretty good.  Then it was on to the Oakbrook shopping area.  First stop: Borders, where I found the latest Rand McNally road atlas.  Next, the Container Store, where I saw a rolling cart that I thought would be useful for hauling and moving things.  Then it was over to the main shopping center, where I looked in vain for the new iPod nano.  I didn’t see any on the shelves, but I thought I saw a few boxes in shoppers’ hands.  I stopped at McDonald’s for a root beer.  I picked up a Chillow, a water-filled pillow/pad, at the Discovery Channel Store.  Then it was back to the hotel.

For supper, I was not sure what I wanted to do.  I was considering three restaurants: Pappadeaux, Portillo’s Hotdogs, and Sweet Tomatoes.  I’d never been to Portillo’s before but had been to the others.  I left the hotel not entirely sure where I would eat.  Now all three restaurants were to the northwest and were fairly close to each other.  I first passed by Pappadeaux, and after seeing the parking lot wasn’t full, I pulled in and went inside.  But when I was seated, the noise in the room was rather loud.  Then I saw the menu and saw that the prices had gone up since my last visit.  I suddenly lost my appetite for Cajun seafood.  Next stop: Portillo’s Hotdogs.  But when I went inside and reviewed the menu, it was too similar to what I’d had for lunch, so that was out.  My last stop: Sweet Tomatoes.  Being a salad bar restaurant, it was probably the healthiest place of the three.  And it was pretty good; I wish they had something like this in Detroit.

Afterwards, I went to Tower Records; they used to be in Michigan, but they left several years ago.  However, this store had been in the same location for more than 15 years.  I spent a lot of time here looking through the CD’s, magazines and DVD’s.  I was most interested in a new hybrid CD/SACD of the mono version of the Byrds’ Mr. Tambourine Man.  It wasn’t easy finding where they kept their SACD’s; I eventually found them in the jazz/blues/classical room.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find what I wanted.  I was under the impression it came out on Tuesday; I would later learn that the release date was delayed to October, so my quest was in vain.  But I did find some interesting DVD’s from Germany featuring musical performance from a 1950’s California TV show called Town Hall Party.  It was mostly country music with some rockabilly.  I’d seen these in catalogs before and had thought about getting one or more of them.  This was the first time I’d seen any actual discs, so I decided to get two of them.  On the way back to the hotel, I stopped at a 7-11 for a Slurpee.


Friday September 9

I got a slow start today, for I couldn’t immediately think of anything I wanted to do.  I took a shower and visited the breakfast bar in the lobby.  I had a muffin, an English muffin, and some apple juice.  Then I stayed in for the morning and did some reading and what-not.

One of the restaurants I wanted to visit while I was in town was Sal & Carvao, a Brazilian churrascaria.  They had three locations, one of which was near Fry’s in Downers Grove, one which was downtown, and the third (and closest to my hotel) in Schaumburg near Motorola’s facility.  I had visited the Schaumburg one before, and I would do so again today.  Not having had a large breakfast, I was somewhat hungry, definitely an advantage when visiting here, and I was ready for the rodizio.  First came the salad bar, which also featured cheese, some cold cuts, and unusual vegetables.  One could make a meal of the salad bar, but I was going for the full rodizio, which meant the meats were coming quickly.  At times, they came too quickly, so I turned over my indicator directing the waiters to pass me by.  As I finished the first meats and made more room on my plate, I turned the indicator back over to signify I wanted more.  Eventually, though, my stomach filled up, and I couldn’t eat any more.  Dessert?  No way!  I’d had some fried banana, which served the purpose of dessert, and I wasn’t having any more.  It was excellent, as usual.  Detroit finally has a Brazilian restaurant (Pampas Churrascaria in downtown Birmingham), but I think I like Sal & Carvao better.

Now how would I settle my meal down?  By going over to Woodfield Mall and walking it off, that’s how.  I think I walked around most of it.  I did get to see the new iPod nano; it IS small!  I didn’t get one, though; I have an old iPod and don’t use it all that frequently, although I will probably have to replace it if I ever want to get any new accessories for it.  But I wasn’t going to do any of that today.  Later, I drove across the street to visit the Land’s End Outlet store (nothing there I wanted) and the Borders (found the third season of Rocky and Bullwinkle, which I would have wanted but didn’t know was out until I saw it there).  Then it was back to the hotel.

Eventually, I became hungry again, although that didn’t happen until later than usual.  I ended up going through the drive-thru at the McDonald’s at Mannheim and Higgins.  Something was taking place at the Allstate Area tonight, for there was activity in the parking lot.  I have no idea what was taking place, though.


Saturday September 10

Today, there was one thing I wanted to do.  I wanted to visit the Illinois Railway Museum in the town of Union, between Chicago and Rockford.  I’d seen it on a DVD of great train rides and experiences of the East, and I’d picked up a flyer for it from the rack in the lobby of the hotel.  So I made my way out there today.  First, I went to the nearby Target to pick up some magazines to send to my sister in Turkey.  By using my debit card, I would be able to get some needed cash without ATM fees.  Then it was onto the Northwest Tollway (attended booths; no need for exact change today) and westward to Union.  I stopped at a truck stop at the exit to pick up a drink; I noticed quite a few bikers in the parking lot.

The Illinois Railway Museum is not just a static collection of historic railroad and trolley cars; it also operates those cars on its demonstration railroad loop.  I got to ride two cars today, one being an electric trolley car that used to run between Chicago, Aurora and Elgin along what is now the Eisenhower Expressway, and the other being a 1920’s vintage passenger car being pulled by a diesel locomotive.  The trolley car had 1950’s vintage advertising in it; I don’t know if that was originally part of the car or was added later.  The passenger car had seat backs that moved such that the seat faced forward or backward.  Each seat also had double windows, but I wasn’t going to open mine, for two wasps were trapped between my windows.  Later, I visited the buildings containing all sorts of cars.  Many were trolley cars, including old ones from the CTA.  There was even a trolley car from Detroit.  In the bookstore, there was even a book on the Houston North Shore line, an old interurban railway between Houston and Baytown.  I didn’t get it, although I would have if it had been on the Galveston-Houston Interurban.  I did get a DVD about the museum and its collection.  I had lunch out there (hot dogs); the restaurant was near a diner that was undergoing restoration.

I spent three or four hours at the museum.  When I came back, I went via a different route, one that had me returning via the Northwest Highway (US 14).  This took me through towns I’d never visited before, such as Crystal Lake.  I’d also pass by the Arlington Park horse racing track, and I’d pass by Littelfuse’s office again.  During the drive, I was listening to Michigan State beat Hawaii handily (thank you, XM).  Then it was back to the hotel for a while.  Now what did I want to do for supper?  I considered visiting BD’s Mongolian Barbeque, but the two locations in town were quite far away from the hotel.  I ended up going to the Steak & Shake down the road, less than a mile away.


Sunday September 11

By the time I’d loaded up the car and checked out of the hotel, it was 7:45 AM.  That was about the time, four years earlier, that the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  The news channels were carrying the ceremony from New York, where relatives of the dead were reading the names of those who were killed.  A bell tolled at four key times – when each tower was hit, and when each tower collapsed.  My path home took me through downtown Chicago, and I passed by and saw the Sears Tower, I couldn’t help but imagine it being struck by a plane.   Then I was out of downtown, and it was out of sight.  I didn’t encounter any traffic jams on the freeways, which was rather rare for Chicago.

The rest of the drive through the city was uneventful, and I proceeded through Northwest Indiana.  I stopped at a travel center (a.k.a. truck stop) in Burns Harbor, where I filled two receptacles and emptied another.  What I filled was my gas tank (with gasoline) and my stomach (with a McDonald’s breakfast bagel); what I emptied was my bladder.  Then it was back on the road.  Speed limits on the freeway had increased; they were now 70 for cars (it had been 65).  I crossed the Michigan border and headed onward.  I tuned into Fox Sports Radio on XM so that I could hear Fox NFL Sunday.  Then I switched to Sirius and listened to the Saints game for a while, but then I flipped over to the Texans game.  Things weren’t going well for the Texans, for they were losing to the Bills.  The Lions were playing later, which is why I wasn’t listening to them.

Onward I drove through Michigan, stopping mainly at rest areas to take care of necessities.  I didn’t stop anywhere for lunch, and that helped me to arrive home after 5 hours and 45 minutes on the road.

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©2005 R. W. Reini.    All rights reserved.

Written by Roger Reini
RevisedApril 20, 2008