Chicago! by James Deming
|I went on a business trip this last week to Chi town and thought I'd share my experience.
My flight was to leave Tulsa at 12:30 on monday. I arrived at the airport at 11:30 and sailed through security. Stopped at Starbucks on the other side of security and went to sit and wait for my plane. Just before leaving, I grabbed a bite of lunch to take on the plane, and good thing I did. We sat on the plane for an hour before the closed the door, and then another hour on the tarmac before we finally took off. I was supposed to arrive in Chicago a little after 3:00, and instead landed a little after 5. That meant rushhour traffic in Chicago. It took me about an hour do drive 20 min into downtown and to my hotel, the Knickerbocker on Michigan Avenue. That evening I at Pizano's, deep dish pizza at a restaurant recommended by the hotel concierge.
After eating the pizza (It was pretty good really), I walked over to the John Hancock tower and went up to the observation deck, and of course took a few pictures.
Afterwards I walked down Michigan avenue a little ways and then headed back to my hotel room for the night.
The next morning I drove to Aurora, IL to attend some meetings (My map said 39 miles, 50 min, but it really took more like an hour 1/2 to get there. After the meetings I attended a reception in Aurora and did not head back to Chicago until about 8pm. Traffic was light and I made it back to the city at 9. I noticed that parking on the street did not seem that much of an issue at night, so I drove to the Sears tower and went up to the observation deck.
I do have to say I was dissapointed in the Sears tower at night. The interior lights of the observation deck were pointed towards the glass, so there was a lot of reflection and it was difficult to see out. I was able to see a distant view of US Cellular Field, where the Whitesox were playing the Yankess. I used one of those telescopes you have to pay 50 cents for.
The I drove around town for a little while trying to find some good photo opportunities. I was using the compact camera which doesn't do night as well as my Nikon, but here are some shots.
The tops of the Wrigley Building (left) and Chicago Tribune (Right).
Wednesday I walked out of the hotel to get my car and was advised by the Valet that it had a screw in the tire and was flat when he picked it up. He put air in the tire but said I needed to get it fixed soon. I had an an hour and 1/2 to drive 30 miles to a meeting, and with my newfound experience I knew it would take all of the time to get to my desitination. I crossed my fingers, hopped in the car and drove the hour and 1/2 while on the phone with roadside assitance telling them where I was going to park the car. The timing was perfect, and roadside assistance arrived in the parking lot at the same time that I did, so they changed my tire while I was in my meetings. My meetings were supposed to end at 1, and I had planned on returning to Chicago and having time to visit the Shedd Aquarium. I was held up at the sales office I was visiting by some agents that wanted some attention and was not able to leave until 3. I thought I might have time to still make it to the Aquarium as it closed at 6, but due to some very frustrating traffic, I did not arrive until 5:00, and with the parking costing $15, and the ticket $25 I did not think it was worth it. I returned the car to the hotel, changed clothes and walked the long walk to Navy Pier which I knew was a tourist trap, but was very dissappointed that there was not much there to warrant the long walk. I then caught a cab to Old Town to eat Ribs at Twin Anchors. This was a neat old pub in Chicago (The oldest infact) that made really good baby back ribs. There were several pictures of Fran Sinatra and the rat pack as it was his favorite hangout in the city.
I then took the long walk back to my hotel. Wednesday was a bust for sightseeing, but the food was great.
On Thursday, I visited 2 more sales offices and spent a total of 4 hours in the car to drive a total of about 100 miles. I made it back to my hotel at 6 and headed off down Michigan avenue towards Millineum park and the Art Institute of Chicago. It was a very long walk but worth it.
Old Water Tower with John Hancock in BG.
Cloud Sculpture at Millenium Park.
New Ampetheater designed by Frank Gehry
Art Institue of Chicago
American Gothic - Grant Wood
And then this guy:
After the museum I walked around downtown and to Daley Plaza where there is a huge Picasso sculpture. I would have taken a picture, but it was surrounded by tents for some kind of show. Then I headed back towards my hotel in search of something to eat, and only found chains. I had dinner at McCormick and Schmick's Seafood, not unique to Chicago, but still could have been worse!
On Friday I started out from the hotel and noticed I was low on gas so I began the search for a gas station not remembering having seen any around. It was a tense few moments as my gas light came on and I was unable to find a filling station, but Exxon came to my rescue. I had one more meeting and then headed to the airport where my flight left on time and arrived 5 min early to Tulsa.
Chicago was neat, but I'm glad to be home for a week before I head out to Naples, Ft Lauderdale, and Miami Florida on the 18th.
Have a good weekend!