Chicago – Day 4

Today was our excursion out of state. We hopped in the car, pulled out of our insanely expensive parking spot, and wandered around Chicago until we got enough GPS signal to get out to the highway. From there, we drove up to Milwaukee to spend the day at the Harley-Davidson Museum and take a tour of the Pilgrim Road plant. Once we got out of Chicago, the drive was pretty easy, and getting to the museum was no big deal.

We had booked the earlier of the two Steel Toe Tours, so we had a little time to go through some of the museum, checking out the really old bikes in the middle and some of the side exhibits before grabbing some lunch. The cafe on site has some pretty good food, and apparently we picked a good day to be there because it was pretty empty. After filling our bellies, we went back to the museum to meet up with our group and start the tour.

We took a shuttle over to the Pilgrim Road plant, put on our steel toe caps, safety glasses, and hearing protection before starting the tour. This is an active plant, not a museum, so we were dodging workers and machinery as we walked around. I did the Capital Drive plant tour years ago and was amazed at how much things have changed since then. This facility is a significant improvement over that one. One of Reese’s favorite TV shows is How It’s Made, so this tour was like a live version of one of the shows for him. At the end of the tour we bought some souvenirs before getting back on the shuttle and heading back to the museum.

Once we got back to the museum, we took our time going through the rest of the museum, checking out the exhibits and taking in the really cool bikes. On the bottom floor they had some bikes that you could hop on to try out how they fit. I tried on an Ultra and hated it. The ergonomics are terrible, especially the heel-toe shifter. But the Dyna, on the other hand, was really nice. Both Reese and I liked how we felt on that one. Too bad it doesn’t have a full fairing…

Finally, we hit the gift shop to pick up some more loot then hit the road to get back to Chicago. We rolled in and actually got a spot in the same parking lot, still overpriced, but conveniently located.

Chicago – Day 3

We had a few different things planned today. First, we went out and snagged some breakfast and then walked down to the Willis Tower and went up to the Skydeck. It’s 99 stories up, has a 360 degree view of Chicago, and has these glass ledges that hang out off the side of the tower. Reese had absolutely no trouble walking out on them, but for me that first step was really difficult. After that I was good, but it was still challenging…

From there we walked over to lunch and then on to the Chicago Federal Reserve‘s Money Museum. While it was small, there was a lot of information packed in to the exhibits, as well as quite a few historic bank notes to drool over. We checked everything out and then picked up our freebies, including some shredded money, before heading back to the hotel for some chill time before dinner.

After a short nap, we walked down to Frontera Grill to get some dinner. This was the big splurge of the trip, but I just couldn’t pass up eating at one of Rick Bayless’s restaurants. And getting to take Reese was a real bonus. We ordered some tuna ceviche to start things off, and not only did Reese try it, but he actually liked it. From there we went on to entrees and dessert. Reese tried a sampler, liked some, didn’t like others, and i had a great plate of goat. Overall, the food was fantastic and the service was great, so if you’re in town you need to go eat there!

Chicago – Day 2

Our first full day in the city, and our plans were to head to the Museum of Science and Industry. I figured that it was going to take a full day to really go through it, so we didn’t plan to do anything else. The museum was amazing, and not nearly as crowded as I thought it would be considering that it was spring break for lots of the schools. The first thing we did was slowly browse our way over to the U-505 exhibit. We did the guided tour and really liked it. The sub’s in great condition, with only minor modifications to accommodate tours. After that we grabbed some lunch and browsed more of the exhibits before doing the coal mine tour. That was an interesting immersive tour through coal mining technology. From there we did a little more browsing, checked out the Tesla coil, and a few more things, then caught the bus back to the hotel. Dinner was a return to the Elephant and Castle, then we sacked out.