See, I wasn't hallucinating
Me outside of Six Flags
Jon and me outside the "Mothership."
Jon and the oft backordered Sombrita
The Tribune building had pieces of famous, still standing, heavily guarded buildings like the Parthenon in it.
Jon got a Spongebob ice cream bar on Michigan Ave.
A shot of the Sears Tower on our way out of Chicago.
Summer is a time of baseball games, trips to the beach, mosquitoes, and the time honored tradition of vacations.Due to time constraints, Jeremy, Jon, and I* went to the Chicago area.Our plan was this: Six Flags on Thursday, and then Chi Town Friday before driving back home that night.To get the most bang for our buck, we decided to leave Wednesday the 26th of June at like 9:15 pm after work. Jon was late as usual, so we finally started off on our quest at about 9:45. We weren't just going to Chicago, we were going to the mother ship. All being former employees of Pleasant Company, we needed to go to the American Girl Place to see what it was all about. We
were filled with much anticipation, as anyone would be in our situation.
Since I would fall asleep at the wheel, Jeremy drove the whole way
to our hotel. Mix Master Jon or whatever he called himself kept the good music rolling. After about two hours I had to make a bathroom run, so we exited
the interstate and went to a gas station. It ended up being closed but we got to get our picture taken by a giant purple elephant with glasses on. Very comical. I
surprisingly stayed awake the whole trip which is no small feat. We found our hotel around 2:30 and checked in. We went back to the car to grab our stuff and I became very very
tired and decided that no, I did not want to eat pretzels that night. We lugged all of our stuff up to the 2nd floor
only to find out that our card to unlock the door wouldn't work. We tried over and over again but the light never went green. Jeremy went back to the front desk and we found out that they had
given us a room that already had people in it.Well, that just wouldn't work for us, so we got a new room. Excitement built because we were going to go to Six Flags in only a
few hours.Nobody got any
sleep, I had "Elevation" by U2 in my head which didn't help matters. Ah but I digress. We were meeting my cousin Amy in only a few hours. Not having slept since the previous night, we felt a bit groggy but
were still excited for the days ahead. We made it to Gurnee and had to look around a bit for Six Flags. Jeremy wanted to buy some Zip Loc bags in case we went on any water
rides, and then his camera and wallet would remain dry. Jon has an old pair of sandals that he refuses to throw away even
though they no longer qualify as footwear. He had to repair them once again so he went into the gas station
looking for some type of adhesive. He
ended up with some Crazy Glue. While
he struggled with that in the back seat, we tried to find the correct
entrance to Six Flags. All of
a sudden we heard two distinct expletives come from the backseat. This doesn't happen everyday, if ever. Jeremy and I cracked up even though Jon was swearing because he had
stuck himself with the needle that comes with the glue. He was worried he glued the pin into his hand. Hi Lar E ous. It was perhaps the best moment of the trip. We managed to locate my cousin, the time: 10:30 a.m.
Overall I was quite disappointed with Six Flags, I'd take
Valleyfair over it any day. We
were there for 10 hours and only were able to go on 7 rides, once each. Yuck. At Valleyfair,
we would have gone on Wild Thing 30-40 times in the same amount of time. (Actually NOT exaggerating.) Plus
every ride at Six Flags gave us concussions, they were supposed to be
thrilling but throughout all the rides I was just hoping my head would
survive. Not worth the 6-hour
drive I would have to say.
The rest of the night was fairly uneventful, so I shall forge
ahead. Whilst checking out the next morning we asked the guy at the desk how to get to downtown Chicago. He laughed as if that was the funniest thing he'd ever heard. Turns out, The Taste of Chicago was starting that day, guaranteeing that there would be 3.6 million people milling around. He suggested we take the L train or something but we scoffed at the
idea. We were smart and took a two hour detour AROUND Chicago ( I really don't know how smart it was.) and were soon driving along Lake Michigan and in sight of the Sears
Tower. Wow. Before I go on any further, I have to rant about the state of Illinois.
To put it simply, I don't understand this state. The tolls are ridiculous. Making
drivers stop every few miles to give the state a measly 40 cents but in
doing so put their lives at risk is beyond stupid. Why not just charge more taxes on property or cigarettes? I also saw on television that they are going to implement a $38
million video surveillance system in the tollbooths because too many
people just don't pay the tolls. The
toll jumpers cost the state $7 million a year. I'm surprised there aren't more accidents after the tollbooths, twelve lanes become 3 in about 2 feet. Why risk that many lives a second for some money they could just charge their own residents a few extra dollars a year??? I wouldn't be so concerned about the accidents, but Illinois
drivers are horrible.(I apologize to our Illinois readers, but it's true.) Blinkers are not optional, they serve a purpose, and they allow
other drivers to see what you are doing. Blinkers aren't a luxery package like CD players and power lock, they come standard on all cars. They're
like seatbelts, use them for your own safety! In Illinois people change
lanes by driving into you. We had a few close calls with some cars because
we had no idea they were just going to jut out in front of us. Phew.
So back to the Magnificent Mile. We parked in a garage, where it cost $14 to park there for the
first 20 minutes.Ouch.But we had a mission so we agreed to these outrageous prices. Michigan Avenue is really neat. There are gigantic stores everywhere you look. Gap, Nike, and Sony had put up residence along this street. Everyone was carrying shopping bags from very expensive stores. I saw an American Girl bag and wondered what direction they had
come from.The anticipation
grew as we walked along, spotting a higher density of AG Place bags. We knew it was just off Michigan Avenue, so we kept peeking around
corners.Finally we spotted
it and I felt like running towards it. This was the big moment.I
was giddy with excitement.I
wish I would've brought my Samantha with me as I saw little girls
carrying their Kirstens, Mollys, and the like. We took pictures outside the building and then ventured in. It was four floors of amazement. We joked around and looked at all the things we used to sell over
the phone. It was all there.I
think the salespeople thought we were weird as we exclaimed over
Coconut's garden supplies and Sombrita, Josefina's pet goat. It was a truly awesome experience. The place was crowded with kids young and old, male and female. I heard a dad say that his son had a doll because he didn't want
to feel left out.Only in
America, I love this country.I
bought souvenirs for my doll and a keychain for myself. Now that was worth the six hour trip.
We had to go back to reality (and Eau Claire) so we hopped in the
car and started to make our way back. We made it about a mile before we came to a stop, we were in rush
hour traffic, and oh well.The only other highlight of the trip was when we stopped at a gas station/Wendy's in Wisconsin and I found a brand new 2002 Rand McNally atlas for
$5.99, best deal ever.
Overall the trip was pretty good, except for the hatred that grew
for Illinois and the fact that Six Flags wasn't that great either.American Girl Place made up for it totally.
Sarah Brovan likes to chicken dance
was originally going to come but was not informed of the trip in a timely
manner and was stuck working. (Jon assumed Jeremy told him and Jeremy,
more rightly, assumed Jon, who lives with Matt, told him.)