“See you dark and early tomorrow!” is a phrase a friend of ours would say in anticipation of the early early shift the next day.  It’s a phrase that’s usually followed by sarcastic one-liners and dreams of coffee in hand, well before your head even hits the pillow the night before.  But when I used it last week, it was met with excitement and a different type of anticipation.  Yet, still one with dreams of coffee in hand, dark and early in the morning.

The sun didn’t begin to rise and meet our faces until close to 2 hours into our road trip.  With a Starbucks americano each in hand, we cheers’d to the sun and sipped away during the first stretch of the 8 hour drive to Chicago.  Neither myself nor Patti had even been, so it was an adventure together.  A bit of fun, and a bit of business (which will be in another upcoming post!).

After a few stops for gas, a trip to the Walmart in Flint for some awesome unavailable-in-Canada snacks, convincing Patti that 20 McNuggets + 2 fries + 2 drinks was an incredible deal and not to think about the calories, and a few goose-chases to find Starbucks along the way (which we didn’t easily find until hitting Indiana!), the heart of Chicago struck a chord in our own hearts and I became the Canadian tourist easily picked out of a crowd with my iPhone pointed at everything!  The weather was incredible, and I think Toronto needs to pick itself up and then plop itself down right on the lake – because Chicago is where it’s at.  Here are only a few things that we came across that we want to share with you, and here’s to some awesome adventures for you and loved ones, even if you have to get up dark and early 😉

My picture must be everywhere …  Here I am in print in Michigan City, IN!

I’ve been on the subway in NYC, and seen above ground lines in Queens and Brooklyn, but seeing this in the heart of the city was amazing.  I didn’t care how goofy I looked, I needed to capture it – it says so right in the tourist manual!

We’re in the picture, but can you find us?  A free high-five goes to the lucky winner!!!

I think I got lost on our walk along the lake…

Love the view of downtown from the entrance to the Shedd Aquarium.


I wish they sold this “lava lamp” at the gift shop.

Where else in the world are you going to see a 3-storey tall Marilyn Monroe?!  Seriously, this was probably one of the coolest things I’ve seen and she was within a 30 second walk from our hotel.  So cool!

Intelligentsia Coffee … I’ve blogged about this gold before, but Patti and I experienced it first hand.  We bought so many bags of coffee, and then forgot them in the hotel room when we left!  But – the hotel was kind enough to find it all, and it is currently en-route to Milton, allllriiiight…!

After being featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network, Kuma’s Corner became an instant mecca for burger and experience lovers.  Named after heavy metal bands, these burgers were worth the 8 hour drive alone to Chicago, and the experience was top notch!  Thanks so much to our friends Jackie+Grant for taking us there – after all the excitement we forgot to get a photo with you!!!  Next time we’ll come for the burger, but stay for the company 🙂


With Marilyn in the background, Patti snapped one of me setting up for a shot that I had been planning since we booked our trip.


And here is the result!  (for my fellow photo-heads:  5D Mark II, 20mm, f/9, 4 secs, ISO 100)

Finally, us schmoozing it up on our last night in the city.  More to come about that!







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