Saturday, May 15, 2010

Driving Across America 2010: Part 3

We left the KC Best Western first thing in the morning after enjoying our second 711 meal in a 12 hour stretch.

The drive to Chicago was....wait for it...mostly uneventful!

Once again...picture uploading is failing me big time. Maybe it's a problem with Blogger's software. I'm going to do the write up anyhow, and I apologize for robbing you all of the full experience.

The drive from Kansas City to Chicago is about 8 and a half hours, according to Google Maps. This turned out to be pretty spot on. Despite our frequent stops and some seriously poor traffic outside of Chicago, we left at 10:30am and arrived at 7pm, exactly 8 and a half hours later. Pretty impressive.

I did some cowboy snoozing.

Outside of Kansas City, there was some serious flooding. It didn't affect us, but there were buildings partially under water, and cars that I can only guess were on blocks sitting in 2 feet or so.I wasn't quick enough with the camera to catch the submerged buildings, but this gives you the basic gist.

One of our favorite stops of the trip, thus far, was Springfield, Illinois. We decided to take the Business Route 55 through the city, as opposed to I-55 outside of the city, so that we might find a good lunch spot on our way to Chicago. We found an amazing little cafe called Andiamo. They have their own web site that does not appear to be functional, so that link is the next best thing. I took a picture of the amazing Tuscan Chicken Focaccia sandwich that we both got, and it looks as good as it tasted...We ate on the go, not wanting to delay our arrival in Chicago any longer than necessary.

As we got closer to Chicago, we ran into some bad traffic. So bad, in fact, that the woman in the car in front of us couldn't handle it. She was so mad that she took three separate opportunities to violently projectile vomit out her driver's side window as traffic slowed. Traffic and vomiting couldn't slow her down, though. She didn't even tap the breaks.

Finally, we arrived in Chicago, took a questionable route in to the city, and found Jay's apartment without any problems...except for the nearly impossible left turn from Division St. to N. Ashland (you local Chicago-ans/Chicago-ites? know what I'm talking about). So, just like that, our stay in Wicker Park had begun.

We had dinner reservations at Club Lucky in Bucktown, so we got cleaned up and headed out to enjoy some true-blood Chicago Italian cuisine. Lucky is always busy, and Jay had never managed to get a table before, so this was a treat for him as much as it was for us. We sat promptly and ordered some fried calamari and a Caprese salad to start. For dinner, I got a penne arrabiata, Melissa got chicken parmesan over penne, and Jay got a chicken tortellini dish. All were delicious. After that, we headed out for a mini-bar crawl. First stop was The Southern on North Avenue to enjoy their outdoor patio seating. In a subtle tribute to Kalamazoo, Melissa and I both ordered the Two Hearted Ale from Bell's Brewery. While there, we got in touch with a friend from ASU law who had transferred to another law school in Chicago this year. She met up with us along with two friends she had made doing a study abroad program at some point in her past. The five of us began to do a walking tour of the Bucktown/Wicker Park bar scene.

Next up was a German beerhouse, the name of which I cannot remember or spell. There, Melissa and I struck up conversation with a girl sitting next to us who was not friendly at all. She immediately began talking down to me, telling me that I deserved some humbling once in awhile. I don't know where that came from, but she was convinced. When I told her I was from Annapolis, she seemed pleased. Then we talked about other parts of the country. Then she said she summered on the Bay. I asked which Bay she meant, and she snapped: "Anyone from Annapolis would realize I meant the Chesapeake Bay, obviously...I summered on the Choptank River." From then, there was a serious downward spiral of belittling conversation. She didn't believe I was from Annapolis because I was not familiar with the seasonal blooming patterns of azaleas. She proceeded to comment that anyone from Annapolis should be familiar enough with the local fauna to know when azaleas bloom. I tried to tell her that fauna referred to animals, and that flora was the word she was looking for. But she said her degree from Harvard indicated otherwise. The nearest iPhone proved me right, but she persisted. In any event, that friendship ended as quickly as it began.

Next up was Salud, a tequila bar. Our stay there was brief, and our next stop was Nick's Beer Garden in Bucktown. Reminded me a lot of the Tavern in Tempe on Mill Ave. Nothing special about it. All in all, the night was a blast. On the walk home, Jay bamboozled some pizza from a truck on the side of the road. Melissa fought him for it and they ended up sharing the slice. I got the crust.

At home, we watched the Betty White episode of Saturday Night Live - an instant classic for anyone who has not yet watched it. It was an extremely long day, and we were all exhausted by now. Saturday had a ton of plans waiting for us, so we called it a night. I will write all about Saturday's excursions tomorrow.

For now, it's bed time again. We have a lunch date around noon before a 1:20 Cubs game at Wrigley Field.


Julie and Tim said...

Please take and post pictures of any and all pizza consumed in Chicago. I will live vicariously..... thanks!

Nina said...

I have been laughing about the unfriendly girl incident for quite some time now. Hahaha