Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Chicago, Wisconsin, Minnesota
Well our trip has gotten off to a great start! Yesterday we left Kentucky and drove to Chicago to spend the evening there.` We didn't really stop anywhere while driving through Indiana, but as we drove further north, we did stop briefly to look at all of the windmills at this HUGE wind farm. Seriously, it looked like the windmills never ended! Some people don't like windmills, but I think they're really cool. And they're a great way of harvesting energy!
We stayed in a hotel close to the O'Hare airport because it was much cheaper than staying downtown. Our hotel had a free shuttle to the "L" train, so we had no problem making our way there. While Melanie was getting her ticket, this woman came up to Harrison and me and offered us her 7-day rail passes that still had a couple of days left on them. We gladly accepted. By the way, Chicago is AWESOME. Everyone there was really friendly, and we had a great time exploring. We started off at the Millenium park to check out the "Bean," the fun mirror-sculpture that reflects the city. We tried to get a famous Chicago hot dog, but none of the hot dog places we found were open (I guess since it was Sunday night). So after we had a non-Chicagoan dinner, we walked the Magnificent Mile up to the John Hancock Observatory. The tickets were a little pricey, but definitely worth it! It had great views of the city, and an audio tour that was really informative and also helped us find some other places we wanted to go. We definitely wanted to check out Buckinham Fountain, which has a big water show on the hour, every hour, and then we went back to Millenium Park to see the fountains that project people's faces and looks like they're spitting out water.
Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals was going on while we were there, too, and the city had done a lot of cool things to show their support. I'm personally not a huge fan of the Blackhawks since they beat the Sharks, but it was still cool, none the less. Several of the office buildings had coordinated turning certain lights on and off. One building projected the Stanley Cup, one said "Let's go Hawks" and one projected the Blackhawks logo. It was pretty impressive.
This morning we got up bright and early to make our way to my friend Taylor's house outside Minneapolis. We drove up through Wisconsin, taking a smaller highway around Madison to check out some fun roadside attractions. We stopped at a place in hopes of seeing the world's tallest scrap metal sculpture, but sadly it was closed. We also visited a chocolate factory that makes "Cow pies" chocolates (round chocolate pieces with caramel and pecans). Before meeting up with Taylor, we visited the Mall of America, and it was quite interesting. It had a theme park, a wedding chapel, and about 400 stores! My favorite was the Lego area, where they had giant Lego displays and anyone could build stuff for fun. I almost got a Legoman keychain. They also had a Wisconsin cheese store complete with free samples that we tested. Melanie and Harrison got some stuff at the Columbia sportswear store forthe trip. It was quite an experience!
Taylor met us at the mall, and we went back to her house for dinner before she gave us a tour of Minneapolis. We walked around a sculpture park - the most famous sculpture there is a giant spoon with a cherry on it, and went to a theater downtown to see great views of the Mississippi River. It's a big city with a small town feel. I really enjoyed it! Next we'll head out in search of the World's largest ball of twine rolled by one person before heading to South Dakota and the Black Hills where we'll be camping for a few days.