Vacation - Part III / Sub-part D - Days 3 & 4 - FINAL ENTRY!


After a thunderstorm during the night, we woke to a cloudy wet morning.

Our plans were a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry, and possibly the Sears Tower if time permits - with a two hour road trip to see my brother-in-law, his fiancee, and their baby.

On our way to the MSI - the first thing we noticed is that you could not even see the top of the Sears Tower. It was clouded in. This realistically prevented us from visiting the SkyDeck for "observation" purposes.

We arrived at the MSI just as it was opening. We bought general admission tickets, and tickets to an early viewing of the U-505 exhibit. The U-505 was a Nazi submarine recovered during World War 2. The U-505 is a one-of-a-kind. There are only 5 U-Boats still in existence around the world, and the U-505 is the only one in the United States.

The U-505 tour was without a doubt the highlight of our visit to the MSI. In addition to the U-505, we saw the following other exhibits...

The Apollo 8 Command Module, Body Slices, The Chick Hatchery, Enterprise, The Farm, Flight 727, The Great Train Story, The Henry Crown Space Center, The Idea Factory, The Lunar Module, Mercury Space Capsule, NetWorld, Out of the Vault, Petroleum Planet, Prenatal Development , Robots Like Us, Ships Through the Ages, Toymaker 3000: An Adventure in Automation, The Transportation Zone, Walk-Through Heart, Whispering Gallery, and Yesterday's Main Street.

While watching the Flight 727 - we were standing next to a railing overlooking The Great Train Story" with a glass panel as the wall of the railing. Now, I knew that Zachary was afraid of heights, but not to the extent that I saw at the museum... Zachary would not even get close to the wall... He would have rather missed the exhibit than stand next to the glass wall. It took me sitting on the floor (no closer than 4 feet) and Zachary sitting on my lap (clinging tightly, and leaning away from the edge) to even get a glimpse of the display...

While the Prenatal Development exhibit is kind of creepy, it was really pretty amazing - They had actual human embryos at all different stages of development in jars. There was a note on the display saying that they understood that this display could be disturbing - but assured museum goers that the embryos were not destroyed for the purpose of the exhibit, rather - they were lost during pregnancy due to circumstances that beyond the control of the mother... (Natural causes, a car accident, death of the mother, etc...) It was not too bad until you got to the older embryos - up to the full term fetus...

I could talk about each of the exhibits, but that would be impractical... Again, let me say that we had a really good time. This is a very "interactive" and hands on museum, and I believe the kids enjoyed their time at the MSI.

We Left the Museum, and headed to Brian & Jessica's house...

Remember yesterday's interaction with Downtown Chicago traffic? Well, today was not quite as exciting, but noteworthy none-the-less...

I come from the Mpls-St.Paul metro area. It's a good sized city, with what I thought was a fair amount of traffic congestion... That was until I got to Chicago... We were again leaving at the 5pm "rush hour" time frame. The trip to my brother-in-laws was (according to Mapquest) supposed to take 2 hours. It took 2 hours alright.. 2 hours to get out of the city limits... I have never seen congestion in such distances.. as I did in Chicago... I am used to about 11 to maybe 15 miles of congestion at it's worst. This rush hour lasted for more like 40 miles... It never ended... It just kept going, and going, and going... And then there were the toll booths... which also slowed everything down, and put about a mile of backed up traffic every 20 or so miles... When we finally arrived at Brian's house - we had been in the car for over 4 hours....

Once we arrived, everything went well. We got to see Brian & Jessica, and Miles was up too! They had the BBQ ready for us, and we BBQ'ed hot dogs. It was good to see them again, and it was my first time to see their new house. I had seen video of the house - and it looked (on video) to be much smaller than it actually was. They had done some updating and painting, and the house was really starting to look nice! (Not that it did not before...)

We spent the night at Brian & Jessica's, and after a leisurely morning, having spent the morning with Brian and his family, we packed up and prepared to head back for home.

I had 3 more days off after getting home from Chicago, and that was spent doing some of the little chores that homeowners frequently procrastinate - and put off. It sure feels good to get some of them out from under my belt...

All in all Chicago was fun, spending time with my kids was great, spending time with my wife was a pleasure, visiting with Brian and Jessica was fantastic.. It was a great vacation - but, as with life... All good things must come to an end... (Including all these posts about my vacation...)

I'll sign off my Chicago trip entries with this thought that my wife and I shared as we headed down 169 from the Bloomington area... It is good to get away, but great to be home again...

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