Snortin' "66" Norton

Snortin' "66" Norton
"Humpin' to Please!"

Tuesday, May 8

Day 5: Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

After enjoying one of our last "lazy" mornings, we finally got mobile around noon. Once we mobilized, we were on the go for the rest of the day! We drove down to the train station at the closest town to us, figured out where to park without getting towed (not an easy trick!), bought train tickets into Union Station, got on the right train AND got off at the right place (that was easy, since Union Station is the end of the line!). From there we walked (more like RAN) to the Art Institute of Chicago, which we had been informed via multiple websites was FREE on Tuesdays. NOT - as of a year ago. FYI, it's now free only on Thursday evenings. So, we bought a ticket for the institute and for the special exhibit of Cezanne, Picasso, and other famous artists whose patron was Ambroise Vollard. However, our first order of business was FOOD!!! We broke our own brand new road rule of "Breakfast - don't go far without it!" and since it was after 2:00 and we had not eaten, we were really hungry! We had heard good things about the cafe at the Institute, so we got someone to escort us down there (it's like a maze in that place!) and just in time, since the kitchen closed at 3:00.

The food was fabulous! I had a spicy shrimp appetizer on avocado puree with a fresh fruit salsa and drizzled with cilantro oil - it was excellent! Kim had a penne pasta, asparagus, ramps, and parmesan cream sauce dish and I had risotto with applewood bacon, English peas, pearl onions, Parmesan cheese, and pea shoots. Both were very delicious and we were able to skip dessert since we knew it wouldn't be long before we ate again! I have to be honest and say I enjoyed the food way more than I did the art, and I think we even enjoyed the people watching more, too! We had one "canoodling" couple (my word from People magazine!), a pair of Asian women in for real kimonos, and a couple who seated themselves well after 3:00 and then couldn't figure out why they seemed to be wearing a double cloak of invisibility. We were practically howling watching the waiters and busmen studiously avoid them, even as they got more and more agitated that they were being ignored. They finally got smart and left. Duh.
We didn't see a whole lot - we checked out the American Decorative Arts from 1901 to present, the hall of armor, the Vollard exhibit, the Thorne Miniature Rooms, and the Photography galleries. We loved the miniatures - totally cool! Lots of Ansel Adams in the photography collection so that was good, too. We were about culturally saturated, what with our ride on the train from the suburbs and our artsy day, but we had way more Chicago culture ahead of us.

We took off for State Street and the Red Line train. Before we could even buy out tickets, a nice man gave us a couple and even helped us figure out what to do with them. Y'all know we don't do trains in the South!! Anyway, he was too good to be true, as he followed us down to the tracks and then held out his hand... We weren't stupid, though, and only paid him face value for the tickets. More wonderful people-watching on the train. Remember how when your kids were little they would close their eyes and say "you can't see me!"? I think that's what people think when they stick those damn earbuds in their ears. Guess what - we can see you and HEAR you!!

We were pleasantly surprised to see we had gotten on the right train and we got off at the right stop - Addison Street is practically on top of Wrigley Field! Wrigleyville was a hopping place, as the weather was perfect (it had been almost 80 here and sunny all day!) for an evening spring ballgame. We strolled around and talked to a nice cop and found a fun place to eat (yes, again!). This time we were in Goose Island Brewpub, so we had to have some beer and we just had some appetizers. Soon it was time for the big game!

We quickly learned that it was NU night (Northwestern Univ) at Wrigley, and I'm pretty sure all of the students were sitting in our section. Or perhaps I should say they were all playing musical chairs in our section. I think it was some sort of drinking game, too. Anyway, it added a little spice to our evening and we even worked off some of our calories as we stood and sat many, many times so that people could go in and out of our row... As for the ballgame, I've seen better fielding at many a high school game. When we left with one out and no one on in the top of the ninth (we had trains to catch!), the Cubs were up 3 to 2 over the Pirates. Imagine our surprise when we learned the Cubs lost 4 to 3 after 15 innings!! Good thing we didn't stay until the end - we would be thumbing about now!

While we were debating which train to hop on to get back into Chicago, a very nice young man (and nice looking!) named Brennan told us which one to take. He thought our trip sounded like more fun than going to work tomorrow, but we told him our car was full this time... We had a long conversation with another man on the train - we have found people to be very friendly here, and unlike in NYC, they actually look at you and talk to you! And no one has knocked us down, either! As we were walking from the Red Line station to Union Station, a group of men asked us how to get to... (we were just getting ready to tell them we didn't know how to get ANYWHERE in Chicago) Wrigley Field!! And we could even tell them! If only we had known which direction Union Station was. Not to worry, we found it, and here we are, safely back at our hotel. I just now heard a noise that sounded suspiciously like rain, and it was! Really good thing we left the game when we did - we had lots of walking to do to get here!

So now we're hoping the rain passes us tonight and we have clear skies and good roads for the rest of our trip! Cross your fingers!



Mary Hoy said...

You all are having too much fun. Jon and I were in Chicago 2 weeks ago at the Art Institute. I agree with you about the exhibit. People watching was fun for me too. I've talked to Bobby and Chris. It's all worked out and Pinky is happy!

Jane said...

Hey Kimmy
So glad you are having fun on your trip. Chicago is great fun. The Tiger Basketball Groupies (me included) went to the Great Midwest Tournament about a million years ago. We had all kinds of adventures ranging from tight leather britches on a Spanish speaking, gun-toting guy at a service station to lunch at Oprah's restaurant. Got to see the ballgames at the Chicago Bulls old arena and stayed at the Tiger Team Hotel - Tiger Alert...Tiger at 10:00! We had a great time. Penny Hardaway was still playing.
Sears Tower and all that stuff. Actually saw filming of Home Alone 2 supposedly set in NYC, but it was filmed in Chicago. Chicago is an exciting city, but I can't wait to read about Mt. Rushmore and other Roadside Monsters!
Thanks for blogging.