Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Chicago

I was excited about visiting Chicago.  You see, it had been about 50 years since I had been there and I knew it would be much different.  When I was about 10 years old, I traveled to Chicago with my parents on the Santa Fe Railroad.  My father worked for Santa Fe and families got to ride free in the passenger cars.  We boarded the train on Friday evening, rode throughout the night changing trains once in Kansas, then arriving in Chicago Saturday morning.  We would get off at Union Station, then wander around downtown Chicago, shopping and exploring.  I remember the bargain basements and the soda/lunch counters in those basements.  I even believe my father and I went to the top of Sears Tower.  So this not just a trip to Chicago, but a nostalgic trip as well.  So here we go.
Once again I arrived in Chicago on the train, only this time it was a commuter train from our campground.

And I again went to the top of the Sears Tower.  Oh wait.  It's now the Willis Tower.

But the Skydeck is still 103 floors high.

It gives you a 360 degree view of Chicago and Lake Michigan.

But they have added the Skydeck Ledge.  It is a small box, about 6 feet wide by 3 feet deep, sticking out of the side of the the Skydeck, 103 stories above the ground.

As you can see, I am standing on the Skydeck Ledge.

When you look down, everything seems really small.  Nothing between you and the ground except a sheet of some kind of plastic.  You just hope it doesn't break or fall off.

Chicago is where Route 66 started.  

Our commuter train didn't arrive at Union Station, but I still had to go visit it.  It is still the primary station for all Amtrak trains and many of the local commuter trains as well.

Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.  The two 50 ft towers are comprised of LEDs which display digital videos of faces.  Opening in 2004, it is considered an interactive work of public art and video sculpture.  I can truly say I had never seen anything like it before.

Cloud Gate, or nicknamed, the Bean because of its shape, is actually 168 highly polished steel plates welded together.  But they are so polished, the seams are not visible and it is designed to reflect and distort its surroundings.

Max and I are standing back from the sculpture taking a picture and we are reflected on the surface, as is the background behind us.

Just a picture of an interesting mode of transportation in downtown.

Did you know why we have the different time zones?  It is because of the railroads.  It was in Chicago in 1883 when the current time standard was adopted at the General Time Convention.  Although implemented immediately by the railroads and many government offices, it wasn't until 1918 that Congress officially passed a law acknowledging the standard.

I didn't remember Chicago having canals.  Maybe they didn't when I was here 50 years ago.

Just an interesting contrast of old architecture with new.

There always seems to be something going on in Millennium Park.  The day we were there we go to see a Jazz Festival.

We didn't see this on our train trip to Chicago, but on one of our road trips in the area. This is a reconstruction of McDonald's No. 1, opened by Ray Kroc in April 1955 in Des Plaines, IL.

Well, it was much different than I remember.  The bargain basements, which had opening from the sidewalk above, are all gone, as are the soda/lunch counters.  But the elevated train is still there and so is the Sears Tower, even if by another name.  And yes, we had traditional Chicago pizza severals times.  I mean, we were in Chicago, right!

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