Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Days 17 and 18: Chi-town and the Cleve

Atticus is a lover of art. And lions.

Why is it that the hotel in Mitchell, SD with the strange smell and the peeling wallpaper trim had free wifi but the Chicago Hilton wanted to charge me $7.95 an hour? Harumph! And outrage! I recognize that this is how places like the Chicago Hilton make a pile of money, but I was still miffed, which is why I took their complimentary shower-cap that I would have otherwise left untouched. SO THERE, CHICAGO HILTON.

I'm writing this from our far more luxurious and pleasant accommodations in Shaker Heights with our friends Jessi and Marc, who have, as so many of our other wonderful friends on this journey, given us the password to use their wifi. After saying goodbye to Eric and little Ari on Sunday we drove into Chicago for a day of book eventless pure tourism fun. We started off the day in the neighborhood of Oak Park where Frank Lloyd Wright had designed a bunch of private homes. Mark told me that he had kept a key to each of the homes, so that he could sneak in and rearrange the furniture in the event that the homeowners had changed it from his original design.

He may have been an egomaniac, but the man had style.

Frank Lloyd Wright's first independent commission after leaving the architectural firm he was working for in the late 1800s.

Atticus and the famous architect.

After Oak Park we headed into the city to walk around Millenium Park and meet up with Mark's friend Mary, whose daughter Zelda had read and was a fan of the book.

Approaching Chicago. Also known as Chi-town, Chicagoland, The Windy City, Second City, and Hog Butcher for the World.

Sculpture in Millenium Park. There were two of them facing each other, and the faces on the sculptures would change and occasionally spit a fountain of water. It was pretty great.

You go, Chicago with your public art. Mark called this one "the big silver kidney bean". It was terrific.

Atticus underneath the big silver kidney bean.

Family portrait outside the big silver kidney bean.

Zelda and Atticus. Zelda, by the way, was awesome.

Of course it couldn't be a completely book eventless day--I popped into a Borders to sign some copies of the book and forced a hapless employee to pose for a picture with Atticus.

Benson the Borders Bookseller, Atticus, and a pile of copies of The Popularity Papers.

Mark had read that the Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower, but I like to refer to it as That Great Big Black Eyesore in the Middle of A Really Pretty City) charges a pretty penny to go to the top, but you can go to the bar at the top of the Hancock Tower and get just as nice a view. And a drink, so, Atticus in hand, up we went.

The Hancock Tower. Much taller than Atticus.

View from the ladies room at the Hancock Tower. Chicago is so much bigger than most of the cities we've been to on this trip, which was a bit of a culture shock after days of driving through South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

After a full day we headed back to the hotel, did not use wifi, and in the morning packed our bags and headed out of town.

But not before taking photos in front of the Art Institute.

And we were back on the road for the long drive to Cleveland. It was strange to be taking pictures of states where we'd already been, but we still felt the urge to take them.

Hello Indiana!

Goodbye, Indiana.

At Jessi and Marc's we met their son, Ben, for the first time, and he met Atticus for the first time. They seemed to get along.

Or maybe Ben punched Atticus in the eye. Either way, it was cute.

Today we head further east to our last tour stop, the Penguin Book Shop in Sewickley at 4pm. It's strange to be back in our own time zone, and stranger still to be headed home, but we're almost ready.

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