Monday, September 16, 2019


One day in July we were driving down the highway, possibly in Nebraska, listening to one of our favorite podcasts, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.  It occurred to us that we were going to be visiting Illinois in August, and isn't Wait Wait normally taped in Chicago when they aren't on the road?  Maybe I should check ticket options, just on the off chance, wait! wait! they are on sale RIGHT NOW!

I quickly verified that the date would work and grabbed two seats before they sold out.  Woo hoo!

Eventually we ended up in Springfield for a couple weeks, set up train tickets to Chicago (I do like Amtrak a lot), and here we were.  In the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago on a Thursday evening.

We were pretty stoked.  Bill was there!  An all-women panel was there!  Including Paula Poundstone!

Peter Sagal was on vacation, but Tom Papa did a great job as substitute host.  The panelists were so much fun, also everyone who called in.  We would go back to see a taping of this show anytime.

And afterward!  We didn't know there would be a autograph session, now that was even more worth going to Chicago for.

Thank you Bill for your autograph and the little chat about living in an RV:

Paula stayed late to give every one of her fans personal attention and a chance at a photo - we love you Paula!

Also thank you Bim and Amy!

The next morning we took an architecture river cruise - not something we would have thought to do, but it was highly recommended by one of our friends.  And Amy Dickinson at Wait Wait the night before  :)

Cruising on the river, checking out all the interesting buildings - what made it so good was the continuous commentary by an architect from the Chicago Architecture Center.  She was wonderful!  Lots of great stories, explanations, making the buildings "talk", pointing out things we'd never have noticed.  If I had her commentary on tape I'd be able to better explain some of these photos!

Kayaking in the river - that looks like fun too:

A giant skyscraper supported by a crazy-narrow base, not quite sure how this works but it does (and this photo doesn't do it justice):

The "armchair" opera building:

The top of the Willis Tower is almost in the clouds:

A map of the city rivers designed into the side of the building, complete with a red "you are here" marker!

Cool parking garage:

Back on dry land, checking out some fun public art:

We took a walk up the new REI, which has a dock for river access in the back:

Something new - a pizza museum!  Too bad it will be closing soon; we were happy to make it here while it's still open:

Quite the array of pizza-related items:

Star Trek is everywhere!  Best pizza cutter ever.

My kind of artwork:

On Saturday we took the L up to Montrose Harbor for a fun little 5K race.  There's a pretty view of downtown from the harbor:

Something new!  An inflatable colon - well, the race is called "Get Your Rear in Gear," after all (fundraising for colon cancer awareness):

Racing is good for me.  I rarely run this fast in training, but a little competition really does "get my rear in gear" and I just had to try to pass the woman who looked like she might be in my age group (she was, and I did).  Phew.  Nothing like a 5K to work that lung capacity.

Way to run, John!

Having a good time on a Saturday morning:

So that's State #41 in our "race in every state" quest:

Nice beach on the shore of Lake Michigan:

We wandered out to the pier - seems odd that it's not salt water when it kind of looks like an ocean:

I normally try to refrain from posting food porn, but our post-race snacks at the Dollop coffee shop were so good that I can't help it - highly recommend!

Wrigley Field, a landmark that we were excited to see (even being a Red Sox fan):

Neat statue of Harry Carey:

Seats on top of the buildings next door, that's pretty cool:

I don't know what John's trying to say, but I'm like "yeah, Boston's no stranger to these":

John hopped on the L while I jogged over to the path along the lakeshore.  I'd heard that many area runners train here and it sounded like a good place to explore.  First sight along the way, called Kwa-Ma-Rolas - I believe this is a replica:

A beach for dogs, what a great idea!

I enjoyed an occasional detour to the tiered walkway along the lake:

Signal of Peace Monument:

The track is separated for running and cycling, plenty of room for everyone:

Great day for some beach volleyball:

City skyline getting closer:

No trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to The Bean:

A less-visited piece of public art:

We popped in here a couple times - thank you TJ's!

In our AirBnB, someone had left a program from a previous Second City show.  Reading through it, then checking the website to see all the amazing acts they have, we figured we should look for tickets.  So that's how we ended up here on Saturday night, perusing all the old photos and looking for familiar faces on the walls:

More Second City alums - Harold Ramis, John Belushi, John Candy, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd... so much to look at before the show started:

The set, i.e. the iconic sketch comedy chairs:

The show was great fun and hilarious - so much talent and creativity.

Our favorite photo and quote from the program - "Saying 'yes' begins things.  Saying 'yes' is how things grow"

One more bit of wanderings on our last day in the city.  We went back to the architecture center to see the inside, and it was small but packed with great stuff (our favorite type of museum).  Their highly detailed model of the city:

We need to return to Chicago with Kip to see Fulton Market:

They have models of very tall buildings around the world, including this one in Seoul that is covered in solar panels (another place to visit!):

One last look at The Bean, on a gray day that makes it blend in with the sky:

A fitting end - the start of Route 66 as we walked back to the Amtrak station to follow Route 66 back to Springfield:

Thank you Chicago, that was a jam-packed weekend of fun!

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