On Monday (30 June), we left De Kalb and meandered to our hotel in Lisle. First stop was Sycamore so I could show the kids the first place Kurt and I lived as a married couple. We drove along Lincoln Highway/Roosevelt Road/State Highway 38 until we got to the Fox River in Geneva. Ian wanted to eat in the Geneva Diner, so I’ve apparently sold him on the idea that non-chain places are best;-) We stopped briefly at Wheaton College, hoping for ice cream–but settling on a tour of the science building where Kurt & I studied. We finished our journey when the rental car agent dropped us off at the Lisle Hyatt.
The kids loved the Hyatt. Our room was on an end and included a 180 degree view of the Morton Arboretum, the I-88/IL 53 interchange, and suburban woods. It also had a pool. And pizza. And an in-room movie with popcorn. Oh, and a breakfast buffet with croissants and french toast. Megan said it was better than Disneyland (or at least better than what she’s heard from her friends). It was certainly cheaper and more relaxing!
On Tuesday (1 July), the hotel shuttle took us to the Metra station. We rode in to Chicago’s Union Station with everyone going to the Taste of Chicago. Instead of going to the Taste, we shoved our luggage in a locker and walked to the Hancock Building. Along the way, the kids learned about canal drawbridges, construction tunnels, homeless people, scam artists, busking musicians, the Great Fire, and the Chicago P.D.’s jaywalking-prevention methods (i.e. embarrasing people into compliance by calling over the loudspeaker their description followed by an order to get in the crosswalk–both kids were glad WE weren’t jaywalking). I splurged and paid for us all to go the the top of the Hancock Building. I showed the kids where Kurt proposed, though the bench is no longer there. In fact the whole place has been renovated and kitted out with all kinds of activities and an audio tour. Ah, progress.
By Wednesday (2 July), we were on the train to Albany, NY. I’m sure at some point I will write a longer post specifically on train travel. But for now let’s just say it is a crazy adventure, not for the faint of heart. After a fitfull sleep and a Lake Erie sunrise, we treated ourselves to breakfast in the Dining Car. We also celebrated Ian’s birthday with lunch in the Dining Car, thanks to the terrific wait-staff that must have enjoyed the large tip I left at breakfast. (They gave the kids free Haagen Dazs ice cream in honor of Ian’s 10th, then Megan drew them a thank you card.) We arrived in Albany 2 hours late (apparently not that bad) and caught the connecting train to Boston (held for our arrival). The Boston-bound engineer must have had a hot date, because we bounced and jostled like churning butter and arrived in South Station a mere 30 minutes behind schedule!
Yesterday (3 July), we slept and slept and slept. We washed our clothes. We went shopping for necessities we hadn’t brought. And we had a real party for Ian’s birthday: Star Wars cake & decorations + Indiana Jones presents. Lucas Films Ltd. would be proud.
And today (4 July), we scouted out a tree house location in Grampa’s woods. It helped that Grampa was off of work for Indepence Day. The kids have preliminary sketches and Grampa has already begun clearing the site. Apparently Ian is about to drive the tractor for the first time to haul logs away, so I’m going to go. Gotta film this!
Quote of the Day
Megan: (Looking at water towers poking above the suburban woods) What is that row of bubbles out there?
Ian: (Waking briefly at 3 a.m. on the train) I’m not having fun.