Michigan and Chicago

Trip Start Mar 04, 2007
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20
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Trip End Jun 16, 2007


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Where I stayed
Chicago International Hostel

Flag of United States  , Illinois
Thursday, May 3, 2007

It's not really May 3rd and I'm not really in Chicago. But, I was going to finish this entry in Wisconsin on the 3rd and upload it once I reached the hostel in Newburg, WI. As we know, that didn't happen. So, this is what I wrote the morning of crash day with some additions today.

Grand Rapids through Chicago:

It's May 3rd and I'm in the Chicago Hostel getting ready to leave for Milwaukee. I've finally got a bit of time to catch up and the inclination to do so.

I spent almost a week in Michigan, who'd a thunk it. I drove across the state from Ontario to Grand Rapids to visit my Aunt Mary and see my first cousins Bill and Roy. Though the visit was brief, it was good to see everyone. It had been about 20 and 30 years respectively since I'd last seen my cousins! Aunt Mary's apartment is very nice and I met a lot of nice people. For those familiar with Michigan (Michael), Fred and Lena Meijer (founder of Meijer's Grocery Stores) had an apartment right next to the guest suite where I was staying.

From Grand Rapids, I travelled back across the state to Midland, MI - a booming metropolis - not. I went to visit my 1st cousin once removed that I didn't even know I had until a few weeks ago. I had a GREAT time with Pam and her family. I went at little nuts at the E-Free Rummage Sale (Evangelical Free Church) and bought way more than I could possibly put in my car. I sold some of it on ebay, left a hanging lamp at Pam's and shipped to rest to mom's. Rick and John - you'd be proud!

From there down to Chicago . . .

Chicago sights I've been too:
Millenium Park
Navy Pier
Smith Stained Glass Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art
Intercontinental Pool
Chicago Cultural Center
Clark House
Glessner House
Tribune Building

Observations on Chicago:
Great town - way too much to do and see in two days.

I want to come back to Chicago, but I'd like to do so with a friend. There is so much to do and see that I get up at the crack of dawn and hit it. Unfortunately, I'm so tired by 7 pm that I can't force myself to go out on the town and check out the great music, comedy and theatre scene. With a friend, we can encourage each other to slow down when we feel tired and get out for the evening.

The hostel here is great. It's on the south side of the loop so is centrally located. It's clean, with lots of activities planned. Since it's a "family" hostel, there are not just people from all over but people of all ages. However, parking has been a real pain, costing almost as much as the hostel per night. Next time, no car. Also, I wouldn't necessarily stay in the loop - it's more of a business district. I'd stay in one of the neighborhoods with easy "L" access.

That's another great thing about Chicago - super public transportation. They have passes you can buy for 1, 2, 5 days. The one day pass is for 24 hours, which allows you to take as many "rides" as you need. At $2 per ride, it's a good deal. HOWEVER, don't be stupid and stick it in the money slot on the bus, like I did. You'll lose it. Yes, I was not a happy camper and started to cry - big baby. PMS for sure. The bus driver gave me a pass for a free trip, but it still didn't make up for losing my $5 pass. I got over it and bought another one.

The weather is like San Francisco in that it quickly changes. It was about 75 degrees and I was sweating prior to entering the Museum of Contemporary Art. I left an hour later, around 1:30 pm, and the temperature had dropped 15 degrees as the wind changed and came in off the lake. Brrrr! Too cold to live here!

Smokers, come here before Jan. '08. You can still smoke in bars here - a treat for me. I was surprised how many smokers there are in Chicago, not just in bars but on the streets. More than in any other city I've been too in a while.

I spent almost a week in Michigan, who'd a thunk it. I drove across the state from Ontario to Grand Rapids to visit my Aunt Mary and see my first cousins Bill and Roy. Though the visit was brief, it was good to see everyone. It had been about 20 and 30 years respectively since I'd last seen my cousins! Aunt Mary's apartment is very nice and I met a lot of nice people. For those familiar with Michigan (Michael), Fred and Lena Meijer (founder of Meijer's Grocery Stores) had an apartment right next to the guest suite where I was staying.

A couple other misc. tips:
Oprah - if you know you're going to be here and have time - make reservations to be in the audience! I wish I'd thought of it earlier! She gives away good stuff!

Hottix.org - discount theatre tickets

Well - that's was about it. I'll do an another entry to bring you up to date on the car.
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