Saturday, August 17, 2002:
Chicago! It was not so windy when we arrived last night (thank goodness), but
it's living up to it's name today. What a show! We've arrived just in time for
Chicago's annual Air & Water Show. Chicago Yacht Club is hosting the Verve
Cup Regatta. There are some really serious looking racing machines here,
hundreds of them hoisting sails and sprinting out into the lake. AND the Navy's
Blue Angels are tearing up the sky... parachuters and little sport planes are doing
loop-the-loops and tailspins... a big, big show to equal this big, big town...
the one "Billy Sunday could not shut down."
We are a couple of days early (because the lake calmed down early) so we are
ahead of our reservation at Chicago Yacht Club. In the meantime we're docked in
the Burnham Harbor Marina alongside Soldier Field where the Bears play (whenever
they finish rebuilding it) and McCormick Place, Chicago's huge convention
center. This is a major marina, about a thousand boats, one of five City Marinas
that line the lakefront.
One side of the city is water, with its great lake and all kinds of boat games,
the other side is The Loop where Chicago does its business and North Michigan
Avenue where Chicago shops. For those who know Fifth Avenue, or Worth Avenue, or
even Rodeo Drive, North Michigan Avenue is an eye-opener. From Tiffany's
to Van Cleef & Arpel's, to Marshall Fields and Neiman Marcus, from the river
to the Water Tower is every swanky shop one can find this side of the moon.
Chicago has trolley busses, vehicles that look like old time trolleys, that run
all over the center city. And they are free! (Probably paid for by the 25% tax
on boat docking in city marinas). Today we took a trolley to the Loop, had
lunch, another trolley onward to Michigan Avenue's "Magnificent Mile"
where we bought a new computer. Yes we finally gave up trying to hold the old
laptop together with wishful thinking. CompUSA says they will transfer
everything intact to the new unit so, hopefully, we can carry on with these
pages. Currently, words are being generated the old fashioned way... by pencil.
The Air Show climaxed the day with a jet plane making like a Roman Candle all
over the night sky and setting off aerial chrysanthemums in its wake. What a
Sunday, August 18, 2002:
The marina has many sailboats that we watched heading out
again today to the Regatta. The races are held far
outside the breakwater. We could see the sails but were unable to
determine which classes were sailing. The charter boats and many of the
family boats headed out during the morning. Perhaps they went out to watch
the races, perhaps they just went out to enjoy the day. The weather today
is sunny and warm, and the wind has been great for sailing and cooling off the
Since we had spent a lot of time on the water and wanted a different
perspective, we decided to go to touristy places. We rode the free trolley
up to the Planetarium. After looking at the regular and special shows and
the extra prices they tacked onto everything, we decided that we had already
seen all of the shows at the Hayden (now Rose) Planetarium in New York.
Chicago has a special City Pass to many of their museums, a bargain if you
intend to go to at least 4 museums and are not a senior citizen. We hopped
the trolley to the next Museum, the Shedd Aquarium where we enjoyed the Beluga
whales -- one is pregnant but did not produce her baby while we were
there. We looked at the many displays including one of the Amazon through
the dry and wet seasons, and we watched the dolphins do their special things at
a show. We enjoyed the sea otters, harbor seals, and penguins. There
was a special exhibit of seahorses. Kay said she had never seen so many
varieties in all shapes and colors (see one in the photo.) After we left the aquarium, we decided
to go food shopping and headed back to the boat to get our bicycles.
Pearce attached the cart to the back of his bicycle, and we headed up one of the
many bike/skate/running paths and then braved the streets to the market.
Monday, August 19, 2002:
We headed over to Chicago Yacht Club where we had reservations for today.
The Club is closed on Mondays, but we had been told to tie up and make ourselves
comfortable. Only 3 boats were left at the docks, and they left during
that day and the next. Pearce had an appointment at the VA Hospital, so he
unloaded the bicycle again and rode up the lakeside bicycle path. When he
returned, we learned that the computer was ready. Down came Kay's bicycle,
and we both took off up the lakeside path. This path covers 18 miles along
Lake Michigan and is not only a path for recreation, it is one of the commuter
accesses to the city. We crossed the Chicago River and could see the lock
at the entrance from Lake Michigan. We passed the Navy Pier (more later),
and rode up to Chicago Avenue. Pearce picked up his computer and we headed
down Michigan Avenue to the Verizon store where they loaded the information to
allow it to work as the modem for the internet connection. It seems they
put in some new programs several weeks ago, just about the same time that we were
Marilyn David Brous was due to land at Midway Airport at the same time we were
in Verizon. She called from her airport bus as we were
negotiating our way through the streets. We all arrived at Chicago Yacht
Club at the same time. Marilyn brought news from Long Island, and we spent
the evening catching up.
Tuesday, August 20, 2002:
Because Tuesday is a free day at the Art Institute of Chicago, we decided that
today was the day to visit. We spent hours visiting the Impressionists and
other exhibits -- the Thorne Miniature Rooms, the Chagall Windows, American Arts
and Architecture, Renaissance painters. After we left the museum, we took
a free trolley to the Navy Pier. It was built in the 1890s as an amusement
center. During World War II it was a Navy training site. After
serving as a temporary site for veterans returning to college after the war, it
again became an amusement center. The Children's Museum is here with
hands-on displays. There is a ferris wheel that can be seen from the whole
waterfront, but we have not yet seen it in operation. There is a maze and
various other attractions. Boats line one side of the pier ready to take
tourists out to see the water sights of Chicago. Entertainers can be heard
every several hundred feet, and of course there is food of every variety.
By the time we returned to the Yacht Club and began to think about dinner, we
realized that the south-easterly winds were bringing in a surge that had us bouncing
in all directions. It had been slightly uncomfortable Monday night, but we
felt like we were on a water roller coaster all Tuesday night. We may be
wrong, but we decided that most of the members kept their yachts in calmer
waters. (We saw many tied up in slips in quieter Burnham
Wednesday, August 21, 2002:
After spending a very uncomfortable night, we bid Chicago Yacht Club a good-bye
and returned to Burnham Park Marina. It has a protective seawall along the
east side and has only a small dog-leg opening on the south side.
Marilyn's AAA Tour Book noted that Wednesday is a free admission day at the
Field Museum. Unfortunately, the Museum changed their policy, so we had to
pay for Senior admission (still a great bargain). We visited Sue (their T-Rex dinosaur) and many other exhibits. They were very impressive, and a
few are recent installations. I think that since we've had the opportunity
to visit New York's Museum of Natural History with its many updated exhibits it
is very difficult to appreciate museums whose
exhibits were created during the 1930s.
We watched the regular Wednesday night fireworks which were in competition with
the advancing thunderstorms. The fireworks won out with chrysanthemums and
Saturn-like explosions. The storms came in during the night and created a
light and sound show of their own. The news reported over 4 inches of
Thursday, August 22, 2002:
Morning was still misty and the heavens produced occasional rain showers, but by
noon the skies began to lighten. Marilyn and Kay took the trolley to the
Magnificant Mile along northern Michigan Avenue. Luckily they only window
shopped. Pearce spent the day with his computer, doing a final check on
the transferred programs. Tomorrow it's goodbye to Chicago as we start down the
rivers on the way to the Gulf of Mexico.
Back to Log Index page
-- we head down the rivers...