Chicago: Detour to Springfield
I took a 5 day, 4 night vacation in Illinois in August 2016. Read on to hear about my day in Springfield and my first full day in the Windy City.
The trip started out as a plan for a belated birthday present – a week’s vacation in a city and state I never visited – Chicago, Illinois – with the possible bonus of reconnecting with my sister, whom I hadn’t seen since her wedding in 2013. The circumstances changed when my mother died suddenly and my sister stayed in Florida an extra week than I did to help our brother with arrangements. So I went instead with two coworkers who were going to Chicago for a conference – so while they worked, I could play tourist or write, or both.
Monday AM: We took an early morning flight to O’Hare. Our SuperShuttle had to make a stop where two people were trying to load six pieces of luggage and two cargo boxes – which is insane even if their shuttle was empty. They looked like two students headed to college or overseas or both. We left them at the curb, because the shuttle couldn’t accommodate even two of their large pieces of luggage.
I also had no idea so many people took the red eye (or whatever the early morning version of that is). The crowd at baggage claim was massive, busier than I had seen in years. And of course, I expected TSA to take awhile, which it did. But the flight itself was fairly uneventful. O’Hare, though, was large and because it was flat it felt bigger than London’s Heathrow.
We finally got on the road to Springfield, and our first stop was at Hinsdale Oasis, a rest stop overlooking the highway. I saw an Orange Julius, but it was closed. Instead, I loaded up on a McD breakfast and a Big Gulp like soda. By the time we arrived at our destination, downtown Springfield, the area was under heavy rain that would not let up.
Monday PM: We bobbed and weaved through the rain to get to the Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. I probably would have enjoyed the Library more than the Museum, but it was still a good visit. They had a presentation involving holograms and how historical artifacts “speak” to us, and several exhibits of his life before and while in the White House. After dropping some coin at the gift shop, we braved the rain to get back to our car – only to see the rain stop literally during the time it took to get the car down one level.
After the Museum, we went to see Lincoln’s Home, took some pictures of other historical sites in the downtown area, and ended the afternoon with a visit to Lincoln’s Tomb.
We didn’t get back to Chicago until nearly 8pm, by which time the megacity’s notorious traffic had ensnared us and dragged out our travel. An hour later, we made it to the hotel where we would spend the rest of the week.
But more on that later.