Our last day on Rt 66 had two major cities in its path: St. Louis and Chicago. Everyone knows that I love driving in cities so obviously I was very excited about the day's adventure. St. Louis wasn't far once we got out of Kansas.
Traffic getting into the city actually wasn't too bad, it was once we got into the city that we hit trouble. Apparently the entire city was under construction. There were lanes closed and one way detours that took us places the GPS didn't even know about. We drove past the parking lot for the arch but couldn't get into it because the turn lane was under construction and wasn't accessible. It led us back up onto the main road where we hit another detour which took us right back down towards the arch and it's unused parking lot. I asked Rose if she really wanted to get out and see it. We decided that it wasn't worth the aggravation and would rather have more time in Chicago that night. So on our last detour around we snapped a picture from the car before following the street signs out of the construction zone and back onto the interstate.
This eastern part of Rt 66 isn't really 66 at all. I forget what number the road actually is but it's a big multi lane interstate that took over 66. It's basically the same route but instead of being nice and curvy and scenic like the original Rt 66, it's a straight line with not much to see on either side. The western route is definitely more interesting. So after all of our adventures through the desert and little towns our last day turned out to be more of a mad dash to the finish line.
Chicago came up fast. The city traffic came up faster. We couldn't even see the city and we had been stuck in stop and go traffic for hours. I guess that's what you get when you try and drive into the second largest city in the country. Luckily it gave us plenty of time to find a hotel and book a room!
Parking was another problem. Every hotel wanted $50 to $70 per night to park the car. We found a hotel that wasn't crazy outrageous and booked it. Luckily it was pretty easy to get to from the interstate so I didn't have to fight the city traffic too much once we got inside. I had been to Chicago once before and loved it. I made sure that we booked a hotel that was close to the river so we could walk around and take pictures, but before we could do that, we had to get some dinner!
When you're in Chicago for one night there is really only one option for dinner. You have to get a deep dish pizza! It took 40 minutes to bake but it was so worth it. I don't know how they did it. The crust on the bottom was super thin but so perfectly baked so that it was crispy enough to hold up the entire slice without falling apart (see in gallery!) And that's a heavy slice of pizza! It was so good we might have to go back!
After our delicious dinner we were super stuffed so we decided to walk off the pounds of pizza we had just inhaled. We set out to find the river.
It wasn't a far walk at all. Chicago is such a beautiful city. Probably one of my favorites. All of the bridges and the architecture really make it unique. We got to the river at the perfect time. Just enough sunlight left to enjoy the day but dark enough that all the buildings were lit up. We walked all the way to the lake. Well... first we walked the wrong way for about a half hour and then we figured it out. We wanted to catch sunset over the lake but didn't quite make it in time.
After the riverwalk we wanted to catch another famous Chicago landmark: the bean. It took us a little time to find that too. Luckily modern technology allows us to look up directions for anything in the world. There were tons of people there which I guess is normal for a big city landmark it was just odd that they were all out there at 10pm. Us small town folk weren't used to such activity so late. It was actually really interesting to see. I still don't get the purpose of it but I'm glad we got to see it... whatever it is.
Since we had reached the finish line of Rt 66 and were kind of ahead of schedule for returning to real life we looked for some other stuff to do on the way home that would be fun. Rose found out that one of our favorite bands was playing in a small county fair down in Kentucky! So after heading about as far North as we could go while staying in the country, we had decided to head back down South for a good old county fair.
He likes pizza.