So, Breaky and I had talked about taking a vacation, just the two of us, not related to work for a while now. Something to do before we got serious about settling down and growing roots. We had initially talked about a Europe trip, but after this past year's election and global political climate, we figured we should probably stay local (meaning within the U.S.). Somehow, the fact that Breaky had never been to Chicago came up, and we figured it was a great opportunity to take a vacation that was unique, but close to home.
So, we budgeted for about a half a year to save up for this trip. Asked our friends and family what we should see, where we should go, and now we are here!
We woke up this morning, packed up the car, said goodbye to DogCPK, made sure the house and the dog were looked after, and "hit the road" so to speak.
We live in Kalamazoo, which is almost exactly the halfway point between Detroit and Chicago, so naturally there is an Amtrack that runs through Kzoo to Chicago. I have taken my sister to the train station in Kalamazoo numerous times, and even have taken the train from Detroit to Chicago, but the over 10 years I have lived in Kalamazoo, I have not taken this train from Kzoo to Chicago.
We headed to the train station, get settled, and of course, out comes the technology. Hey, it is a two hour train ride. I played a few games of Hearthstone, then booted up offline, Minecraft, in which I started to replicate our family's cabin. I haven't even gotten the entire area cleared out yet. It did help pass the time very well. I think Breaky was watching the coverage of Epicenter, the Dota tournament.
Once we get to Chicago, we grabbed an Uber and headed to our hotel, The Essex Inn. What to say about our hotel... Our room is super small, but it doesn't have anything we don't need. Which really isn't saying much. We have a TV, and a bathroom, and a bed. We honestly got what we paid for, and it could have been worse. The view is spectacular, and it is in a great locations for things we knew we wanted to see, like the museums and Navy Pier, so again, it could be worse, but honestly, it could have been better.
So we unpack our belongings and headed out to explore a little bit and grab some lunch. We asked the hotel concierge where a good place for lunch would be that is within walking distance and ended up at a place called the Burger Bar, where we had... you guessed it, burgers!
Yeah, burgers and beer. Awesome way to start your vacay. :)
Food was alright, in my opinion. I had a blue cheese burger, which had some crunchy black pepper that was just a little too much for me. But the truffle fries were alright, and the beer was cold.
After lunch, we walked down to the museums with the intention of heading to Shedd Aquarium first, but the Jurassic World Exhibition caught Breaky's eye, so we headed to the Field Museum first.
By the way, we made the decision to get a City Pass, which includes entry to many popular attractions and museums. Worth every penny. Definitely a huge savings.
Anyway, back to the Field Museum. We obviously get the tickets to the Jurassic World, but as a part of the package deal, we also get tickets to a 25 minute 3D movie, which for us was Above the Earth, which is about a "birds' eye view" of the world. Because of how the timing ended up, we walked around the second floor of the museum for about 20 minutes or so, then headed to the movie.
After the movie we headed to the Jurassic World exhibition. We were taken on a journey similar, or so I have been told, to the movie Jurassic World. We start on a boat with an introduction and then step into the "Gentle Giants" part, with realistic animatronic dinosaurs.
Then we headed to the raptor area. It was...well, kinda cheesy.
You can't tell from the pictures, but "Blue" the raptor was basically someone with a raptor suit on. Kind of disappointing. But not the worst.
Then the T. Rex area. This was pretty cool.
And here is Breaky with his favorite dinosaur, the Stegosaurus.
We exited the exhibit, then headed back to the museum where we ran through the evolution exhibit, then through the Tattoo exhibit, and obviously saw Sue:
Sue the T. Rex!
Headed back to the hotel, where we kinda chilled, Breaky played some Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Wii U we took with us, and I played some more Hearthstone. Eventually we both gave up and ended up falling asleep while watching the Oklahoma vs Florida Softball National Championship. Keep in mind, this is around 5:00 or so in the afternoon. This is important to remember for later.
We woke up from our much needed nap, headed downstairs and down the street to a bar that would have the Stanley Cup Playoff Game on T.V. We went to a bar called Louis' Bar. We had some appetizers, drinks and watched the Predators vs the Penguins. There were both Pittsburgh and Nashville fans at the bar, so that made it interesting when either would score.
We headed outside after dinner after the first period where this very nice black and white pitt bull mix was with his very, very very talkative owner was. Capitan Jack Sparrow was his name. Totally worth standing in the chilly night listening to his owner just to meet this lovely pitty.
7-11 has cheaper bottled water than the hotel, so we swung by there to pick that up and maybe some additional adult libations.
We watched the rest of the game, in which the Predators owned the Penguins (sorry Diva) and shared some Half-Baked Ben & Jerry's ice cream (totally the adult libation I was talking about...hahaha)
Remember that National Championship game I was talking about? Yeah it is 10:41 pm here, and it is the top of the 16th inning and it is still tied and still going on. Those poor girls.
So here is to a great first day of our vacation, and to many more!