On The Floor At Midway

Before the entry, two quick notes:

1) The marble floor at Midway, though functional, is incredibly uncomfortable for sitting. As with most airports, the only power outlets are away from the sitting area and not really meant for passengers.

2) The 8:00 PM non-stop to Bradley International will be at least 1:25 late… at least. Helaine and Stef confirm, after a walk down the concourse, some flights are delayed with not time listed. Others have been canceled outright. Gotta love Chicago. O’Hare is no better.

OK – where were we? We spent the night in the motel in Mequon. We were leaving this morning while my parents were moving in with my sister and family for a few days.

Since we had a car, we volunteered to drop them off. Of course we never thought there wasn’t enough room in the La Cross to do that!

With a little rejiggering and bags on each lap, we were able to make it the few miles to Trudi and Jeff’s house. My guess is, we were at least 200 pounds over the La Cross’ design limits. Luckily, no potholes.

We left Mequon and turned south toward Milwaukee. Helaine had stayed at the Pfister and Steffie wanted to see it.

The Pfister is a very old, nicely maintained hotel. The lobby strikes me as what you’d find in San Francisco during the Victorian era. We had a nice lunch in the coffee shop.

Downtown Milwaukee seemed past its prime. There was little traffic and lots of older, ‘short’ buildings. In a vigorous downtown, height would have swept these old buildings away.

The attendant at the parking lot told us all the entrances to the southbound Interstate were closed! There was a roundabout way to get there, which he proceeded to describe.

Amazingly enough, it worked. Before long we were on our way south of I-94 East. If I-94 really went east, we’d be in Lake Michigan, a few hundred yards away. We’ve got the same problem in Connecticut with I-95 North, which runs east.

There was too much time to head directly to Midway, so we stopped in Pleasant Prairie at the Jelly Belly factory. It is located across the way from the Dyslexic Institutes of America (there is more than one I guess).

You would probably be surprised at the crowd, waiting for the free tour. We were! The wait was around 45 minutes before we piled into our faux train for a trip around the factory’s outer wall.

It was nice, but it would have been nicer if we had actually seen them making candy. Everything we saw (other than boxes and older outmoded equipment) was on video.

We took our free samples, spent a few bucks in the company store and headed south, again.

Have you ever driven in Chicago traffic? Holy crap – this was awful. Maybe worse than awful. And, I’ve been told it’s always like this. Yikes!

We went by Downtown. There’s a lot of distinctive architecture there, including the Sears Tower, but my best ‘sighting’ were the apartment buildings pictured on the opening of the old Bob Newhart Show!

They’re still posting 9:20 PM for our flight. It’s going to be a l-o-n-g day… and they still might change our gate as I’ve heard them do to a handful of others.

Blogger’s note: The past few entries have been posted without photos, because it’s a hassle to do when you’re on the road. I’ll add them later.

Off To Chicago

I’m on my way to Chicago tomorrow morning for a few days. It’s work related, and though it’s not nefarious, I don’t think I can talk about why I’m going.

Hopefully, on my way home I’ll say it was valuable. Right now, I’d rather not be going. But, I’m going with an open mind.

As I packed, I thought about how much of home I was taking with me. I’m taking a laptop. The hotel, right in the center of the city, has high speed Internet access in all rooms and Wifi access from the lobby. Still, I double checked to make sure my modem would work should it be necessary.

I have grown addicted to email, to writing in this blog, and the web in general.

I’m also taking my cell phone. This is such a recent change in our societal norms. It used to be, if you were in Chicago, you were in Chicago… and difficult to find. With cell phones, I’m a local call, no matter where I am.

Earlier this year, while I was visiting my family in Florida, someone called from work asking me if I could be in early to be in a tease. I explained I was on the golf course in West Palm Beach.

I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. But, it’s my choice to take the phone, so I must be leaning toward good.

I’ll also be taking the digital camera, plenty of memory, and a cable to move images to the laptop. Since I’ve never really spent any time in downtown Chicago, I’m looking forward to getting as many shots as I can. Right after I get home, the camera is going to the hospital for a pixel that’s always on.

Chicago’s most recognized landmark is the Sears Tower. But, to me, nothing says Chicago more than the succession of bridges over the Chicago River. I remember seeing that image every week on The Bob Newhart Show.

Considering I won’t be home until midnight tonight, I’m leaving awfully early tomorrow. I’ll be leaving the house around 7:00 AM for the shlep to Bradley. At the moment fog and rain seem probable. In Chicago thunderstorms might show. By the end of the weekend, there’s the chance of snow.

I’ve gotta remember to pack my open mind.