Wow! Thanks for all the comments guys! It's awesome reading your feedback (even if I don't respond to everything since that would be a never-ending megapost for this one). I know I keep saying this but I'm still amazed that anyone gives a sh*t so thanks a ton!!!
I'm also glad the closeted Raging Bull fan club is coming out of the woodwork.
boldikus wrote:I find it hilarious for a guy that never used to write reports, and even starts this thread by saying that, that this has turned into this massive report fest, each one better than the last. Your words are forever entertaining to read, Bill.
Yeah I can't believe it either. Thanks dude!
Anyway, on to the next one (which I wrote a few days ago on a flight to Orlando).
Greetings again from Allegiant Airlines. This is where all my best trip report writing happens since there's no wifi and absolutely nothing better to do. I am double fisting Mich Ultras though and that's a necessary part of my trip report writing process.
Also, this has nothing to do with my trip report or anything but there's a kid behind us who keeps kicking the seat and screaming and I just want to say once again how happy I am that we're never having kids. If Brit ever catches a case of baby fever (not likely), I'm booking a $30 flight to Disney World immediately. Holy sh*t. Thank god for Beer.
Anyway, moving on from that, here's the next installment of our Chicago Road Trip trip report. It's nice to reminisce about simpler times where we were traveling by car and if someone was sitting behind me kicking the seat I could pull over and throw them out of the car in Hammond with a GoPro and we could watch the hunger games unfold in real time.
Okay sorry, sorry. I'll stop.
Anyway, after spending 2 days at theme parks we figured Sunday would be a great day to see what else Chicago had to offer. Initially our plan was to park somewhere downtown, visit the Shedd Aquarium in the morning, hit the Cubs game in the afternoon and then finally check out either the Willis (Sears) Tower or John Hancock Tower observation deck before getting a head start on our drive home. We did end up having to change that plan a little, but I think it worked out for the better. More on that in the next installment...
Since our internal clocks were still on Eastern Time we had no trouble getting into the city bright and early, parking the car, loading up some subway cards and getting to the aquarium in time for a 9:00 AM (central) opening. The drive in was really exciting as we got some awesome views of the skyline so by the time we parked the car we were definitely pretty hyped up for our day in Chicago.
One cool thing about the Shedd Aquarium (and there are a LOT of cool things about the Shedd Aquarium) is that it's located on a Peninsula in Lake Michigan so you're treated to some amazing views of the skyline. Honestly, it's probably one of the best spots to view the skyline in the whole city (though I'm no authority on that).
Brit wasn't impressed with the skyline. She grew up in the middle of nowhere, North Carolina but after spending less than a decade in New York she's now become the perfect little arrogant New Yorker. Lol
Personally I thought it was awesome.
Anyway, as you know we're big fans of zoos and aquariums and as aquariums go, this was quite possibly the best we've ever seen.
This place had all of the usual suspects... Sea Lions, a sh*t ton of fish that nobody cares about, touch pools (though this one did feature a cool Lake Erie deathfish that was ugly as sh*t, like god damn), and some really cool jellyfish but it also featured some really unique animals like Beluga whales, Pacific White Sided Dolphins and a f*cking Anaconda.
After walking around the aquarium for a few hours and checking out all of the exhibits, we decided to end our visit by checking out their aquatic presentation.
The aquatic presentation is really cool as it takes place all the way in the back of the aquarium with a giant glass window in the back that creates a sort of infinity pool effect with Lake Michigan. Right before the show, a canvas closes in front of it that they're able to project images onto. It's an awesome effect and a brilliant idea.
The dolphins were the stars of the show but there were a bunch of cool cameos from other animals too, including a penguin that walks right by the front row (so get there early and sit up front) and even a dog that was rescued by the aquarium. While it's a total ripoff of One Ocean at SeaWorld, it's a great presentation and it was a great way to end our time at the aquarium.
Going in I was kind of worried we would be rushed at the aquarium but I actually felt like we spent the perfect amount of time there. I highly recommend this place but it's absolutely worth getting there early. When we left there was an enormous line of people waiting to come in. We definitely got there at the perfect time and overall we absolutely loved it.
After a 15 minute walk back to the red line (which conveniently would be the only subway line we needed that day), we scanned our cards and (still reminiscing about how much we loved that aquarium) boarded an uptown train to Addison. The aquarium was cool, but we had some bucket list stuff to take care of.
Brit and I have always been big baseball fans, and we always love checking out new ballparks (both minor league and major league) but as any baseball fan knows there are two ballparks that really stand alone as can't miss destinations.
One of those is Fenway, a century old classic in Boston which we had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago) and the other is Wrigley, the oldest ballpark in America. It's an undeniable classic and it absolutely lived up to the hype.
For someone who spends way too much time at the abomination of a ballpark in the Bronx that replaced Yankee Stadium, visiting a true classic like this is really a treat. While old ballparks do suffer from things like obstructed view seats, small concourses and lack of modern amenities, they more than make up for it by offering a personality and charm that can't be duplicated. The Cubs were playing the Braves, and since we didn't have a dog in the fight we opted to cheer for the Cubs but the game was really secondary. Wrigley was the star.
Around the 5th inning, I saw someone walking around with a box of pizza from Giordano's which (according to most review sites) was one of the best, if not THE best places for deep dish pizza in the city.
We knew we wanted to get some deep dish while we were in Chicago so this is something we were seriously hyped up for.
Initially I assumed that getting pizza in the stadium might not be the same as getting it elsewhere (which we planned to do) but after doing a little Googling I saw that everyone raved about the amazing pizza at Wrigley and how it was just as great as it was at their full locations so we happily got in line and ponied up the cash for two genuine personal deep dish pies.
WTF is this sh*t? Now I know I'm about to get some responses from people saying that it's moderately better at their full service location which I don't doubt or that I should have gone to some other place instead but honestly... nah.
I promise you if I went to the second, third, fourth or even 50th best pizza places in New York it would still be one of the greatest things I've ever tasted. We went to some pizza place in Montreal that was ranked 18th or something and it was f*cking orgasmic. This sh*t is a joke and a complete embarrassment to pizza. It was freshly made and the cheese was clearly fresh, high quality and awesome but overall it was a greasy sh*t pizza soup in a bread bowl. I've got to say, deep dish is a mess. Living an hour from New York City there were a lot of things I was admiring about Chicago (like a much better subway system and awesome lakefront park area) but what even is that pizza? Score one for the Empire State. Lol
Anyway, while the pizza was a letdown, Wrigley absolutely wasn't. We had an absolute blast and actually being there was almost a surreal experience. I'll admit that I did commit a bit of a sports fan sin and when it became clear that the Cubs were six degrees of f*cked we did bail with a half inning left to beat the crowds to the subway but we didn't REALLY have a dog in the fight and we had things to do and places to see. I'm really glad we got to go to Wrigley though and I'm happy we can cross that one off the bucket list. It absolutely lives up to the hype.
As you may remember from earlier, our final stop in Chicago was supposed to be either the Willis Tower or the similar John Hancock Tower which by all accounts generally has a shorter line.
We had actually parked near the tower with the intentions of doing that on the way out, so we took the subway back to the tower, planning to check it out real quick and then head right out from there.
On the way from the subway to the tower though, something caught my eye. Right next to the tower is another tower... though admittedly much less impressive. I have no idea why I even knew this, but I pointed to it and said something along the lines of "hey Brit, I think this thing's famous... I don't know why but I think it has to do with the Great Chicago fire".
As it turned out, my instincts were right and I was surprised to learn that I actually retained some random, useless factoid from American History class. Go me!
We spent about 10 minutes walking around the water tower, admiring the impressive architecture and basking in the glory of actually remembering something from history class before we finally decided to head over to our final destination of the day, the John Hancock Tower.
Unfortunately for us, we quickly realized we might be in trouble. We entered the lobby and couldn't help but notice the absolute sea of humanity. As we walked a little further were greeted by a sign that said there was a 3 hour wait to get up in the building and then a 45 minute wait to get back down. Part of me wanted to wait since I'm sure it would have been great, but that's really just a little bit too insane.
We were torn, but the thing that really caused us to bail was that while the original plan was to leave Chicago that night, drive a few hours and then finish driving the next day and (hopefully) stop at Cedar Point for one or two rides if we had time since it's on the way home, we realized that if we didn't do the tower we could stay in Sandusky that night, make it for early entry and spend the majority of the day at America's Roller Coast. We agreed that Cedar Point was a heck of a consolation prize so we bailed on the tower, walked to the car, began our trek home and made it to Sandusky right around midnight, all set for an awesome day at the park.
As for Chicago, we loved it and we barely scratched the surface when it comes to checking out the great stuff the city has to offer. We WILL be back, and I highly recommend it to anyone.
Up next: Cedar Point!