Road-trippin’ to Illinois

So I am officially home from an unreal and much needed mini-road trip to Chicago and Moline, Illinois. I am now sicker than a dog but it was totally worth it… lack of sleep, wandering around in -15 degree weather without the proper attire, and eating like shit will do that to you.

Chicago has been on my bucket list for a long time and after living in Australia I decided I would start taking small trips to all of the cities and places in North America that I wanted to see. I am already saving for my next mini-vacation somewhere in America, likely going to be Nashville or Boston with whoever wants to go (get at me friends).

What did two twenty-something girls do in Illinois for five days? I’ll tell you.

We shopped… we shopped a lot. I totally wasn’t expecting to shop at all since most of my favourite stores in America are also now in Canada but we definitely ended up spending a lot of time swiping our credit cards. Our favourite areas were Michigan Ave. (known as the Magnificent Mile), State St., and Rush St. Our favourite stores were Urban Outfitters and Francesca’s. Shop till you drop right?

We ate… we ate a lot of divine food. I am trying to be a vegan again but I obviously had to try Chicago deep dish pizza and a lot of restaurants don’t cater to vegans so I did end up having some seafood. I think my favourite place was El Nuevo Mexicano, located on Clark St. It caught my eye because it had a vegan menu and it was one of those small, quaint places outside of the downtown area. We shared guacamole as an appetizer, which we inhaled… and I had vegan enchiladas, which came with the best quinoa I have ever had. I still can’t get over how unreal that Mexican food was and I am still sad that neither of us could finish our meals because it was so filling.

Vegan Mexican

Vegan Mexican

The Best.

The Best.

We drank… just a little. We had dinner reservations at a place called Public House on the Thursday night and from the second we sat down for dinner we had instant entertainment from a guy named Steve, who would not leave us alone. I think he may have been one of the funniest people I have ever met in my entire life and was a definitely combo of Jonah Hill and Kevin James, this guy made my night with the outrageous things he was saying. At one point the waitress tried to squeeze by him and he said, “Yeah I workout but I am still fucking fat”. He kept telling us how he liked shooting things and has a gun because he’s American and kept jumping in on our conversation yelling “pow, pow, pow” and throwing his fake guns in the air. Lastly, he told he us how he uses the stair master once a year and sets it to the ‘Malaysian Stairs’ program. Dinner turned into drinks, which turned into getting pretty buzzed and going to another bar called Howl at the Moon (an awesome piano bar). We would have never made it to these places if we didn’t leave it in the hands of our cab driver.

Our new boyfriend Steve

Our new boyfriend Steve

Howl at the Moon

Howl at the Moon

We took photos of our reflections in The Bean (aka Cloud Gate), which is a public sculpture in Millennium Park. It sits just above an ice rink and it was really pretty as the snow fell.

The Bean

The Bean

The Bean

The Bean

I attended my first NHL game ever, which was unreal. Chicago fans are something else and it ended up being a pretty good game as Anaheim came back in the last period (but still lost, thankfully). We took a cab to the game and assumed that we could easily get a cab after because usually after an event like that there are cabs lined up… worst experience of my life. We weren’t dressed appropriately for the weather and spent an hour walking around in circles, up and down the same streets, calling cabs, trying to hail cabs, getting yelled at by sketchy randoms (I was prepared to use my pepper spray), and nearly dying of frost bite. Finally, we made it to a Subway restaurant and sat inside to regain feeling in our feet and hands. There was a homeless man hailing cabs for people with his stick and whistle so we paid him to retrieve one for us… I have never been more grateful in my life.

Blackhawks Game

Blackhawks Game

Blackhawks Game

Blackhawks Game

After and hour of walking around a sketchy hour of Chicago trying to get a cab... frost bite setting in

After an hour of walking around a sketchy hour of Chicago trying to get a cab… frost bite setting in

On Saturday, we checked out of the beautimous (beautiful-hideous) Travel Lodge (dump), only to be told we owed $100 for parking too… perfect. We drove three hours west to Moline, Illinois… the whole purpose of the trip was to see Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line. After driving in circles around the Super 8 Motel we finally had to call to ask where the front door was (apparently we weren’t the only ones). Moline… oh Moline. I tried so hard not to be judgmental of this town but it was really hard. Small town America… it was something else. We drove in more circles trying to find somewhere to eat, grabbed wine at the local pharmacy, and got ready for our country concert. The concert was unreal… we loved it. It was my second country concert and my first concert in America… It was awesome. After booking the concert we found out that they were playing the same show at home but I am glad we braved the weather and drove down to Illinois for it instead.

Justine... being the biggest trooper ever, driving through a snow storm

Justine… being the biggest trooper ever, driving through a snow storm

Florida Georgia Line

Florida Georgia Line

Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean

We were supposed to stay at the Super 8 Motel but decided that we just wanted to get home instead as we were both not feeling well. We left Moline at midnight and got home to Grimsby, ON at 10:30 in the morning. I have to say a big thank you to my friend Justine for literally driving the entire distance to Chicago, then to Moline and then all the way home. She didn’t make me drive once, which was nice but I felt like a horrible friend. I could have never driven that long without falling asleep at the wheel, thank god for Five Hour Energy and Coffee.

Overall, I would recommend Chicago to anyone… I loved it. I plan to go back in the warmer months so I can walk more and enjoy the Navy Pier but it was still unbelievable. I also have a new love for road trips with friends. Justine and I don’t see each other much so it was nice to spend time together and we realized we are hilarious and outrageous traveling together. What are you waiting for? Get in your car and go somewhere with your friends.

A beautiful city

A beautiful city

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