Entries in The Car (1)

Sunday
May302010

Day 02 - The city and the car.

When we first envisioned what this trip was going to be like we had the intention of avoiding all chain restaurants. Being creatures of habit we decided to go back to Irene's Artists Café again for breakfast. Unfortunately our bodies were on Illinois time but our stomachs were on California time. We sauntered into the Artists Café at about 11:40… too late for breakfast.

It's not as if we hadn't been up. As a matter of fact Beth left the room around 6:30 to go running by the lake and well, I was, uh… I was watching all the stuff in the room… thats right. The point is that by the time we went to 'breakfast' we had been up for hours.

When we couldn't get breakfast we headed out to find something and there weren't a lot of options available to the casual observer. So, in a fit of "lets just get this over with" we ended up eating at Subway, Jared would be proud.

After Subway we headed out into the midday heat for a bit of a photo walk thru the Grant Park area of the city. We came across a really cool fountain that kids of all ages were cooling off in and then, and then totally by chance, we came across the big mirrored egg. 

This thing is cool. Frankly, it looks like it was left behind by aliens and until I see some construction photos showing non-reptilian humans constructing it I'm gonna say it was left by an intelligent life form.

What you don't really notice when you walk by the thing is that under it, in the middle is a big upward reaching cavity that is also all mirrored. Needless to say, its weird under this thing, And, for the first time I can totally understand how time travel works.  All you have to do is bend time and space to this shape and I believe you'll be able to be in multiple realities all at the same "time"… sounds simple right?

The next order of 'business' was picking up our rental car. We took the L Blue Line out to O'Hare and spent a bit of time with the guy who rented us the car. Garfield at first was reading the computer display and said, "So you'll be returning the car in California… tomorrow?" We had to explain to him that we'd have the car till the end of June, not the end of May.

Just like I was afraid of they didn't have the Ford Taurus that we want and since we didn't want the Toyota replacement car we had him do a slight upgrade to a Dodge 300.  I've always like the styling of this car and I thought it would be fun to drive one for a month. After a quick 'test fit' by going and sitting in it in the parking lot we signed away on the dotted line and were off.

Almost immediately we missed the giant GPS screen that we have in our Prius back home. Navigating in real time off the iPhone screen is a chore. I'm assuming that we'll end up buying some sort of an alternative in the first couple days or so.

After driving away from the airport with the rental car we realized. They got TOLL ROADS here. Something we don't really have in California. We asked few people in the parking lot of a Target, where we stopped to buy supplies, how much the tolls were generally. The woman said, "Oh you're asking the wrong people, if you live here, you just have a Fast Track Pass" and at almost the same instant the man said, "Yea, they just take the money right out of your bank account."

All I could think of was, "Isn't that the roll of government anyway?"

To get back on track with our "no chains" theme we found Andrew's Open Pit and Spirits. A LOT of old people in this place. The food was better than the lighting but neither of us finished our meal, so that has to tell you something.

Andrew's also had the distinction of being in my 'hometown', or at least the town my parents lived in when I was born. Park Ridge Illinois. Its important to remember that I only lived in Illinois till I was 3 months old and have lived in California ever since.

After calling Mom and getting an address we drove by the house. What a cute little neighborhood with large open front yards and little kids running around playing with not a care in the world.

As we drove up to the house my mom called us back and said, "So have you been inside yet?

"Mom, I'm NOT going to go inside, besides, it looks like no one is here."

"Why don't you go around back, we had such a nice yard."

"Mom, I'm NOT going to just invite myself into this houses yard."

"Well you should at least knock. Your room was at the top of the stairs on the left. Wait till you see it, it was so cute."

"Mom stop, I'm not going in the house."

"Oh come on… just knock and hand the phone to who ever answers."

Knock knock knock….

A little old chinese woman finally answers the door.

"Hi, will you talk to my mom, we use to live in this house when I was a baby."

We then stood there and watched as my mom talked to the woman and eventually she hands me the phone back and says… "you're more than welcome to go in back but we've totally changed the back yard. its nothing like what your mom remembers."

Now the really funny thing was the email my mom sends me as we are driving away from the place. And I quote…

"Dad and I did not like the house but they were hard to find and we needed one - Dad wanted a new one because he did not have time to work on a house - I had had my wonderful one in Rockford - and older house, so I agreed.  The house has no personality - not an ounce - but we did entertain a lot and it was a very, very livable home and we were probably the most happy there - as newly weds.  All the homes were new and they were all about the same price range so all of us were about the same in our financial status.  Great neighbors and great school, the Church was a good Lutheran one.

The yard was wonderful - see how things grow - wonderful Banana Belt living - never too hot and not too cold - the back yard was huge and amazingly nice when we put in trees and a fence - we had a hedge in front - first to do it and every one was not happy with the fence and the hedge but soon they all did it.   They were great neighbors."

We did have a chance to meet the neighbors but of course no one from the early 60's. The people who lived across the street were about my age and they had approached us when we were standing out front taking pictures wondering if we were "casing the joint". 

When they found out we were from California one of them asked us, "So is California really in as bad a place financially as we hear about on the news?" We basically said yes, chatted a bit about taxes and schools and the cost of war to our society. Not that War has caused the economic woes in California, but those were the topics that came up.

The topics got extremely politically charged, not that I was preaching to them, although, I kind of was, but frankly they brought the subject up first and basically they agreed with everything I had to say.

You see, I have a long standing belief that if I guy in Oakland will stick a knife in me for the 20 bucks in my pocket, why is it that people find it so hard to believe that a major corporation wouldn't do despicable things to make 100's of Millions of Dollars? To think otherwise would be naive.

We said our good byes, hopped in the Dodge and made our way back the hotel to call it a day.

Tomorrow, we spend one more day in the city.

Tuesday AM we hit the road.