Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chicago at the Close of Summer

A trip that almost wasn't; due to weather conditions we ended up in Chicago at the close of summer. It is a trip we will never forget.

I was going through so photos on my computer and I ran across some I had taken in Chicago two years ago. It was the end of summer and we had a trip planned for Florida. However, the week leading up to our trip the weather caused us to change our direction. There was a hurricane in the gulf and they were predicting landfall in Florida during the time we were to be there. So we begin to discuss alternate plans for our family trip.
We discussed flying to San Diego, because the kids really wanted to go to the beach. However, trying to get a last minute flight proved to be an impossible endeavour. Did I mention that our trip would include the Labor Day holiday? Anyway, I was unable to find tickets that would guarantee that we could all sit together on the flights and the prices were more than I wanted to we begin to discuss where we would like to spend our holiday.
Since getting a flight to anywhere at that late date was out of the question, we got the map out and literally drew a circle that would take us ten hours or less to drive from Little Rock.

Because going south was risking running into hurricane weather, and we've already been south, we decided to go north...Chicago was our pick city.

We drove into Chicago after dark and the lights of the city were beautiful. There was a warm breeze blowing and the city was hustling. I had made reservations at a major hotel at the Magnificent Mile. After getting into our rooms, we ordered some of that famous Chicago Style Pizza for our supper and looked out over the city from our seventh floor suite. We were all tired from the trip but decided to wake early the following day to start our fun.

We spent a few days sightseeing, shopping till we dropped and enjoying the cuisine. We walked all over Chicago, at least our part of it. We logged in quite a few miles on that trip.
On Labor Day evening we walked down to the beach at Lake Michigan to enjoy the sand and water once more. The day after Labor Day the beach closes and the kids go back to school, and Chicagoans get ready for winter.

Being from Louisiana where we are notorious for only two seasons...summer and not summer...I wasn't prepared for the sudden change of weather. It was just as though someone flipped the summer switch off the next day. The evening before we stayed at the beach until about 10:00pm. We walked back to the hotel and down the Magnificent Mile one last time before we were to leave town and it was a wonderful summer night. Warm breezes blew from the water and everyone was dressed in beach wear and flip flops.

The following morning we woke to rain and cold winds. It was as though winter had come while we slept. Driving out of Chicago was a much different trip than driving in. It seemed we had stay much longer than a few days. We came in during the summer time, as we left winter was moving into the city. I suppose Chicagoans are prepared for such weather changes, but for us, we were only prepared for summer weather.
As we drove down the street, people were hailing taxi's dressed in long trench coats, hats and scarves. It felt as though we, in our lightweight clothes and summer shoes, had suddenly been dropped into another world. It felt foreign to me, unlike the place I had come to know and enjoy in the week prior. It reminded me that every place has its good qualities and bad. The day before I was thinking that I could get use to living here, but on that rainy and cold morning, I realized that living there might not be so great after all.
As we drove further south, back toward Little Rock I thought back on the week. If I go back to Chicago, I think I will go again during that same time of year, so that I can once again enjoy the closing days of summer. Only this time I will be prepared.

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