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Shasta & V Do America - Day Five

We enjoyed our complementary breakfast on Thursday morning before checking out of the Holiday Inn and heading for Chicago.  A generous blogger pal of mine had offered to tour us around for the day, and we were looking forward to a break from driving and having a chance to see the sights.

On our way to Chicago we crossed over the Mississippi River, which was quite a sight.  It will forever remind me of this song, which I picked up somewhere as a kid.

Muddy Water

Mississippi River


Neat Water Tower

Chicago traffic was horrific, and we had to stop twice to pay tolls in the city.  TOLLS!  Just for the displeasure of driving on the freeway.

Mags actually did a good job and led us right to the hotel.  We got checked in and smuggled the ferret inside.  Once we were settled I called up my friend, who fetched us from the hotel and drove us around for the evening.

First stop of the day was pizza!  I’d had the Canadianized version of Chicago deep dish pizza, but let me tell you, it is NOTHING like what we had.

Since neither of us were driving, V and I had margaritas.  We ordered the spinach pizza, which was basically crust, spinach, two kinds of cheese, and sauce.

The stuffed pizza is made with a crust that is flaky, like a pie crust, yet still holds together like traditional pizza dough.  They make the pie extra deep, and then layer the spinach on the bottom.  On top of that they add a very generous inch of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Then they cover it with a paper-thin layer of pizza dough, and spread marinara sauce on top. This preparation keeps the layers and flavours separated, so that you can enjoy them in a more individual way. It was the most incredible pizza I have ever eaten.

Authentic Chicago Pizza

422. Eat Chicago deep dish pizza in Chicago

I may go back to Chicago just for the pizza, it was that damned good.

Next our tour guide drove us along the lakeside so that we could see the marina (OMG so many boats) and check out Lake Michigan. We got to see a condominium building where Oprah apparently owns a suite.

We also stopped by Wrigley Field so that I could get a couple of photos for Jack. I think it would be so cool to go to a game there someday (I think it’s on Jack’s bucket list, so maybe I will get to eventually :D)


Wrigley Field

After parking downtown we walked to Millennium Park. There is a really neat splash park there, featuring two very large, rectangular fountains built out of glass bricks. The fountains not only change colors during the evening, thanks to lights inside, but on the front sides faces are projected onto the glass. The faces change regularly, and generally just stare and blink at each other (the ‘towers’ are situated across from each other, with a pool of water between them).

Glass Brick Water Feature

Projected Face

The kids seemed to be mulling around in front of the towers, apparently waiting for something. We paused to watch, and then the faces pursed their lips, as if to whistle, and water came pumping out of an opening situated where their mouths were. It was so neat, and kind of weird, LOL.


Splash Park Face

Beyond the splash park, was the enormous silver bean (better known as the Cloud Gate) which is an impressive art instillation, inspired by liquid mercury. We walked all around it and underneath, and our guide snapped a couple of photos of V and I standing against it.

428. Get a photo by the Cloud Gate/Giant Bean

Giant Bean

Cloud Gate

Stainless Steel

There also happened to be a concert going on at the neighbouring stage, which is an impressive structure in itself.

Concert In The Park

I almost stepped on an enormous insect, which looked something like a wasp. I still have no idea what it was, but I snapped a picture anyway.

Giant Bug

We strolled away from the park and towards the Sears Tower, which was the last Chicago item on my list.



I stopped at a Starbucks to use the bathroom and grab a coffee. Outside, above us, were the raised tracks of the train system in Chicago. They were featured a few times in the Batman Begins. It was really cool to see the sparks arcing off the rails as some of the trains passed overhead.

Raised Train Tracks

I was really excited to see Chicago at night, from the top of Sears Tower. We stood at the base and looked all the way up to the top. The Skydeck is near the top of the tower, 1,353 feet up (103rd floor if I remember correctly).

After we purcheased passes, we watched a brief documentary on the building of the tower. It was fascinating to get a glimpse of how the tower was constructed and the length of time it took to be completed.

Once that was over, we got into the elevator and up we went. The elevator ride lasted for almost a minute, and then we stepped out onto the Skydeck.

The view was breathtaking. Pictures really don’t do it justice at all.

293. Take a photo of Chicago from the Skydeck of the Sears Tower


Lake Front


Baseball Diamond

Chicago At Night

We wandered and looked for at least half an hour. The reflection on the windows from the interior lights made it difficult to get a really good shot, but I did the best I could. I hate shooting through glass anyway.

Once we’d seen our fill, our wonderful guide drove us out of downtown and back towards our hotel. He was kind enough to stop at a liquor store so that we could pick up some coolers, and then dropped us off for the evening. We would never have enjoyed Chicago the way we did without him (and it would have cost us a fortune in cabs) so I hope that he knows how sincerely grateful both V and I are for his generosity, and for sharing some of his interesting knowledge of the city. If you ever come to Toronto my friend, I hope you’ll allow me to show you around :)

V and I enjoyed the warm evening and had a couple of drinks on the lawn of the hotel. Eventually we retired to our air conditioned room, looking forward to sleeping in the following morning.

One Response to “Shasta & V Do America - Day Five”

  1. JackNo Gravatar Says:

    Hey! Welcome to Chicago! If you’re really going to commit on the pizza, you have to do the whole tour. Check out Geno’s East on Ontario. It’s good pizza, but the atmosphere is what really makes it great. Somewhere on one of those walls is my signature from my high-school days, many years ago. Be sure to check out Pizzaria Uno, too, and then Lou Malnati’s in River North. They’ll have to roll you home, but it’s so worth it, trust me.

    [Reply To The Above Comment]


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