Monday and Tuesday were an all out sprint. We had a lot of ground to cover to make it to Rigby’s drop-off location on time. Even though this was not what we had planned, originally, we tried to make the best of it and still make some fun stops with the boys on our way home.
After leaving Clyde’s house on Monday morning, we drove over 5 hours to Chicago. Joe was determined to have a deep dish pizza!! I texted my Aunt Kar (and name sake ❤ ) for some suggestions, because they lived there for awhile when I was younger. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay very long to see all the sights we wanted to, but we were able to make a few on the list.
She suggested Navy Pier and with lots to do there, we thought it would be a good place to start. As we were approaching the city, we realized we better find out where it’s possible to park an RV in downtown Chicago. (A lesson we learned the hard way in other cities.) Only two options came up: Soldier Field and McCormick Place (unrelated to the spice co., just a convention center. 😉 )
McCormick Place came up first, as we were driving. There wasn’t much around, so when we made our way to the entrance of the parking lot, we were relieved to find other RVs parked there. We started on foot to find the metro we had seen signs for on the way. We kept passing several shaded, open parking spots. It was early evening and very sunny, so we thought it would be wise to move Rigby to the shade. Joe went back to get her and discovered the lights were still on…AGAIN! The second day in a row we discovered this before it was too late! Thank you, Jesus!
After re-parking, we made our way into what were the bowels of the convention center. Yikes! We didn’t know!! In fact, one of the security guards said, “What are you doing down here?” She was SO sweet and gave us directions into the building and a place where we could look for the metro. We tried to follow her directions, but got lost SEVERAL times. That place is HUGE!!! (Joe’s Fact Check: It’s actually the largest convention center in North America!)
We asked several more people along the way. Some had never heard of the metro and each had a different way to get to the street. 😉 One kind man said that even though he didn’t know where the metro was, he could at least show us where to see Lake Michigan from the building. So sweet…
The lake view was beautiful. We wanted to walk around a little, but the doors we went out would lock behind us if we left the building. Joe took the boys down and I stayed behind to hold the door. In the meantime, a sweet employee was coming around with a cart and asked if she could come in the door I was holding. She didn’t know why they were all locked so early. She seemed a little closer to my age, so I asked her for some suggestions about the best way to get around the city. She said, “Oh, this is isn’t a very nice part of town. I wouldn’t take the metro. Just Uber to Navy Pier.” Perfect!
I called Joe and the boys back in and we walked ALL THE WAY back through the building to the front entrance. I think we all made our step goal in that place, alone! Joe lined up the Uber and we headed out front.
As we were waiting, Joe got a notification that our driver was almost there and that he was “deaf or hard of hearing.” This was the first time we had seen this. Many of you may not know that Joe’s actual degree from college is in Deaf Studies… (seriously!)
By now, we have our Uber system down pat with the boys. We know who sits where and we ask the driver questions and enjoy getting to know them a little bit…if they are up for talking. This was a very different experience…and I just followed Joe’s lead. There was a bit of a traffic jam in front of McCormick Place (with other hotels there), so we all stayed quiet for the first few minutes. The driver had to switch lanes several times and pass other cars to get out of the loop.
When we actually started driving, the boys were looking out the window and I noticed Joe (who was upfront) motion to the driver that he knows sign language. The driver’s face immediately lit up!! I’m tearing up, just thinking about it! Imagine what he deals with – day to day – with so many customers. Although, he told Joe, at one point, that it’s actually a great job for a deaf person! I love that!
Now, the boys know this about their dad, but they have never witnessed him signing to someone. Seeing their little faces…just locked on Joe…so proud, and then turning to me with huge smiles… It is something I will never forget. I cried the WHOLE drive! 😉 (Not the meltdown tears…just sweet, thankful tears. <3)
I love when the boys get to see people using their skills, gifts, or talents to make the world a better place. This is something we talk about all the time at home. Joe and the driver signed, back and forth, the entire ride. And it was a bit of the long one because there was so much traffic. But you could just see the delight and relief in the driver’s eyes. They even cracked each other up a few times! I’m guessing it’s rare for something like this to happen! Lord, thank you for this special experience for us all…and for a chance for us to show love to someone, after so many – on our trip – have shown love to us.
He dropped us off at Navy Pier and we had one mission: pizza. Thankfully, there was a pizza place RIGHT there, in front of the Children’s Museum! Aunt Kar had suggested Lou Malnati’s. (But the locals pronounce it “Luminati”(s) and it cracked us up!) This place was called Giordano’s. Most locals (and friends at home) mentioned one of the two. Joe was determined to sample both to see which one was the best!
We got an carb-alicious sampler, to start, and a small pizza…since we thought there was more in our future! Oh, and Aiden tried bruschetta for the first time! Woo hoo! He wasn’t crazy about it…but Joe and I loved it! And we were proud of him for trying, at least!
The pizza, was of course, DELICIOUS! Joe was a happy man! And Brady was excited about more stretchy cheese!
After dinner, we walked around the museum and out to the pier. They have a HUGE arboretum you walk through, on the way outside. Just beautiful!
It was a breezy night and we enjoyed the peaceful views of the water.
But, by then, it was starting to get late. We had to find a “Luminati’s,” then get back to McCormick Place, then get back to the RV somehow! We were so turned around, from when we first parked!
Joe opened Google maps and found a Lou Malnati’s closer to the parking lot. There was quite a bit of traffic, but we finally made it!
We were so disappointed to learn there was an HOUR wait for a table! Everything looked and smelled amazing, but we just didn’t have the time. 😦 However, we had to leave with a chocolate chip cookie pizza (that we ordered from carryout) to have back in the RV! There’s ALWAYS room for dessert, right?
So yummy, Aunt Kar…thanks for the tip! ❤
It was after dark now, and we had another BW host waiting for us in Indiana. By the time we made it to their house (very late), they were already in bed and had texted Joe to just go ahead and hook up. So sweet!! (Even though we felt bad.)
There must have been a train track nearby, because the steady sounds of it lulled us to sleep…
| Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it. |
– Ferris Bueller
2 thoughts on ““Here, There, and Everywhere””
Hey!! So many places, so little time!!! But you guys are managing to get it all in!!!! What a trip!!! Awesome!!! 👏🏻 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Hi Raab Four! I am Chuck Bollinger’s daughter… we met only once, back in February. I have enjoyed reading about your adventures and the way God has provided more than I can say and I thought it was time I tell you so! Karen, you have a gift for writing that tugs at the heart strings and brings tears to the eyes. Reading your entries has been sort of like a devotional time for me. Every time I read I am encouraged, not only by your family’s faith, but also by the kindness of people–even strangers! Know that you have blessed me with your honest, hope-filled account of this trip of a lifetime!