Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cold weather prep & Chicago

We spent a bit of time on Monday morning preparing to get into the cold. We were horrified to hear about the catastrophic snowfall in Wyoming that killed 70,000 head of cattle, and realized we needed to get serious about ensuring our comfort and safety as we headed West. I had stocked up on thermal gear at TJ Maxx (yes, I am a Maxxinista, or whatever they call it – I swear by that store), but knew that keeping my hands warm was going to be the key as we headed into the cold weather. My heated grips are great, but they don’t warm much beyond the palm of my hand. A friend we had made at Lynde Motorsports, had wrapped rubber roofing material around his handlebars in order to extend his riding into the late fall in Vermont. It would be an excellent, cheap way to shield my hands from the wind, and so we set about fashioning some sweet hand-guard guards for me! They don’t look too bad, and they have already made a serious difference, especially on the highway! Thanks Shawn!
Navy Pier, Chicago
With full bellies and full hearts after spending the weekend with my relatives in Holland, we set off for Chicago. We made it just before the evening rush hour traffic began, and headed straight for Navy Pier. I was dead set on riding the ferris wheel (figured it would make for some interesting GoPro footage of the beautiful Chicago skyline). However, they do not allow motorcycles to park in the garages there – Really? WTF, Navy Pier!! – but I guess it saved me from arguing with Roel about how much we would be willing to pay for parking ; ) Instead, we headed to Millennium Park and wandered around the lovely gardens and cool art installments there. Of course, like every other tourist who visits Chicago, we had a bit of a photo shoot around Cloud Gate (a.k.a. “The Bean”).
Could Gate, a.k.a. "The Bean"
What a cool structure; I’ve never seen a piece of art compliment a city skyline to such an extent. We watched the reflection of the sun setting off of the mirrored Chicago high-rises, which in turn was mirrored in The Bean. 

From there, we completed our short “to-do” list in Chicago (hey, we have to leave some stuff for when we come back for St. Paddy’s Day… one day), and we met my former colleague, Amber, at Pizzaria Uno’s for the requisite Chicago deep-dish experience. It was AMAZING. I have eaten a LOT of pizza in my life, as has Roel, and this topped it all (literally and figuratively). It was really good to catch up with Amber, who recently moved to Chicago, and is a friend who has always impressed me with her resilience and drive to achieve her dreams.

So, with even fuller hearts and bellies, we rode out of Chicago, through the night, to find our first campsite in just about a month. Good thing we still remembered how to set up the tent ; )

Oh and it was about 42 degrees last night. Not quite freezing, yet.

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