Garden Prairie, IL
This morning (Saturday) we headed back down I-90 for a brief visit to the shoreline of Chicago. We are on our way north to Wisconsin but, since we had never been in Chicago, we decided to spend at least a few hours there. Today was a perfect summer day with clear skies, high temperatures (around 90 degrees) and very low humidity. We think others may have decided it was a good day to visit the shoreline of Lake Michigan as well, as the area was filled with people. We drove around for about an hour looking for a place to park and were just about to give up when we found a spot along North Halsted Street, near the Lincoln Park Zoo. Once parked we unloaded our bikes and headed for the shoreline. At the zoo parking exit we crossed a foot bridge over Lake Shore Drive.
It’s pretty neat to stand on the west side of Lakeshore Drive in a park in a city, cross the bridge, and find yourself on a beach area with paved paths with walkers, skaters, and bicyclists. This area reminds you of Venice Beach in California.
One of the first things you see after crossing the bridge is a hockey rink. The surface is some kind of plastic and they are wearing in-line skates, but there were some great skaters who obviously had a great deal of experience on real ice.
We continued south on the bike path. The tall building in the center is the John Hancock Center, the fourth tallest in the city (and 6th in the country). The Ferris Wheel in the distance on the left is on the Navy Pier, our next destination.
The 3,300 foot pier was built in 1914 and has had a variety of uses since then, including a naval training center during WWII. President George H.W. Bush trained here as a naval pilot. Today it is used as an entertainment center with an amusement park, IMAX theater, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and many other exhibitions and restaurants.
The picture below shows the path as it rounds a corner north of the pier. We wanted to visit this area as we had seen it on TV in the fall when a strong storm surge battered bikers as they rode the path.
On our way out of town, we took a detour to go by a Chicago icon, Wrigley Field. As the sign indicates, there was to be a Brad Paisley concert that evening. The parking lot had many fancy tour buses for Paisley and his crew, and the crowd was beginning to gather.
After all that touring, we needed to get a bite to eat, so Pam checked Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and found a restaurant in the area. Smoque BBQ is a typical D-D-D place. It’s nothing fancy, but the BBQ is outstanding.
The menu is on a large blackboard and you place your order at the counter. The menu is limited to pulled-pork, brisket, or chicken with choice of sides.
We decided to share a platter of pulled pork with a “sample” brisket on the side. It’s a good thing, as the platter serving was large enough to feed three people.
It looks like two platters in the picture above, but they gave us two trays and we divided the serving in two.
After leaving the restaurant, we drove a few blocks and entered the parking lot known as I-90. Traffic was stop and go for miles in both directions.
Tomorrow we continue our journey north into Wisconsin for about a week. More on that later . . .