I woke up at 4 in the morning, ready to go. After driving to the airport in the dark, I deposited my car in long-term parking and was off to Chicago.
The flight was bumpy, but short (1 1/2 hours), so not too much time to worry about it. Getting my rental was no problem. Alamo didn't have any compacts, resulting in a free upgrade to a midsize Toyota. Very nice.
Once I arrived Oak Park, I drove by the Frank Lloyd Wright houses I suspected wouldnt be on the walking tour I had planned for later. Oak Park is a very nice neighborhood with large homes. Thankfully, I had a map which facilitated locating the houses. I was even able to point a lost soul in the right direction, thanks to my trusty map.
I could go on and on about FLW designs, but won't. There are plenty of websites available, plus, they have more knowledge than myself. I really enjoy his style and would love to have an FLW-designed house- after I win the lottery!
The FLW bookshop opened at 10 am. I got tickets for the 10:40 studio tour and the 12 o'clock guided walking tour. There were FLW bar glasses on sale for 50% off, so I purchased a set, as well as a little FLW book and then waited in my car for the studio tour. Because I arrived early, I was able to park right in front. Photagraphy is not allowed inside the house, so the ones I took of the outside will have to suffice.
As I'm waiting, I see a lot of Japanese tourists. Tons of pictures to be taken. Of course, they are in the front of the wrong house. But hey, who cares, as long as they are having fun.
The tour of the FLW studio and the walking tour were great. The walking tour could probably be done sans guide, but it was nice to have a knowledgeable person along to answer questions. The studio tour was definitely worth the eight bucks.
I drove to the Comfort Inn and drove to the Comfort Inn and drove some more. Finally, I had to call and get directions. I had passed it 3 times, but didn't see the little sign in front of the building.
The Comfort Inn had great location, nice rooms, and friendly people. The $21 a day fee for parking is a bit hefty, but you can go in and out as many times as you like. The little PikePass things to get you in and out are availible. I would definitely stay at the Comfort Inn again.
I went to the ESPN SportZone to watch the OU/ISU game where I literally had to wait an hour to get a barstool. I drank a few Guinness, ate some sliders and then Martha and her friend showed up. It was a cool place, but game day was a little difficult to deal with.
I got up and got ready. The breakfast at the Comfort Inn was nice. Among other items, there were bagels, croissants, cereals, fruit, milk and juice. Not too bad.
Finding the Robie House was easy. It is said to be one of FLW masterpieces; however, it is currently under renovation, so the pictures aren't great.
OK, I must have some funky karma going on. After leaving the Robie House, an elderly gentleman comes running up to me, and of course, he needs some money. He's out of gas, needs money for deposit of the can, yada, yada, yada. I give him some and my address so he can mail me the money, hoping for the best in human nature. Well, I've done my good deed for the day.
After that, I head toward the Field Museum on Lake Shore Drive. Long story short, I get a $75 ticket for speeding. Was I? Yes, 54 in a 40. But I was just moving the way I thought the traffic was moving. Oh well, lesson learned.
I'm at the Museum complex a little early, so I'm contemplating if 'no good deed goes unpunished', or if 'that's just life'. I'm having fun regardless, and I'm laughing that I got my first ticket in 11 years while in Chicago. They should have given me a slower car.
I started the day at the Field Museum. Two traveling exhibits cost a little extra money, $6 a piece, but I decided to go to both.
The first was the Pearl Exhibit. It showed how pearls where used throughout history, how natural pearls exist, and how cultured pearls are made. It was a very interesting display, worth the money. No free pearls though!
The other exhibit was about chocolate. The display followed the changing uses of chocolate throughout history and how it is manufactured today. It was OK, but I would pass on it.
The Field Museum houses Sue, the largest T-Rex ever found. Lots of people taking pictures of her. The remainder of the museum was interesting with exhibits on ancient Egyptian culture, Asian culture, meteorites and plants.
After leaving the Field Museum, I headed next door to the Shedd Aquarium. For $18, I got entrance to the aquarium, the oceanarium, and the audio tour. When I arrived, the attendants were doing the feedings in the big aquarium. The kids loved it, and I liked it, too. The audio tour was nice, but a little hard to figure out the buttons at times.
I saw all types of fishes, penguins, and a couple of beluga whales. The seahorse exhibit was still set up, which was nice. I would suggest going first thing in the morning as after lunch it was very full.
Next on my list was the Adler Planetarium. This was one of the places I had not been to yet. It was interesting, but oriented toward the kids. The show I saw was very well done, but kind of short.
Around five, I met up with Martha and Tim. We drove back to their hotel then headed towards Bloomingdale, IL. Easier said than done! We got a little lost and got to see a part of Chicago that many don't, nor would want to see. Wasn't too long of a delay.
The resort where we stayed, Indian Lake, was very nice. It was sort of done in an FLW inspired style. There was a cool little bar named The Cave. It was set under some waterfalls. FYI - beer is cheaper from the courteous bar, which surprised me.
We ate dinner at a Chinese buffet and crashed for the night. The next two days were meetings, then back to OKC.
A good trip, but I spent more than I expected. Chicago was better this time. I can't believe how low the speed zones are, and that's everywhere. I'm already looking forward to my next trip, which is Portland, OR.