27 April 2008

Chicago... again

I am practically knocked out, after all day in Chicago.

The drive between Indianapolis and Chicago was uneventful, with I-65 going through a rather flat, rural terrain, interrupted by the town of Lafayette, home of Purdue University and a Subaru assembly plant. Major construction work in Gary made navigating the I-65/I-80 junction tricky, however. My rental Fusion was very comfortable, and got over 26 MPG.

After a three-hour drive, I arrived in Chicago; I found it hard to believe that the city's world-famous skyline was greeting me once again! This was also my first Chicago visit with a car, so I decided to savor it, by taking Lake Shore Drive from McCormick Place to Lincoln Park. I remembered doing the same stretch last year, as a passenger in Marianne Wood's BMW convertible, and thought of her, though she had a packed schedule today and couldn't make time for me.

I arrived at Lincoln Park Zoo at 9:30 in the morning, and spent about 45 minutes going through the small, free zoo. The zoo was underwhelming, but the neighboring conservatory, with its orchids and koi ponds, was quite a sight. I also savored the famous vista of the skyline again from the zoo, with John Hancock Tower being prominent.

I headed for my next destination, Second Unitarian Church, and arrived there right between the two morning services. I attended the second morning service at 11:30, where the sermon emphasized being Earth-friendly by not living beyond one's means - while I agreed with most of the sermon, I also remembered that sometimes pushing the boundaries is what makes positive changes in the world happen. The pastor was a middle-aged blonde woman said to be a Southern California native, but I couldn't chat with her. However, I did chat with many other members - and joined the church's monthly LGBT lunch at a nearby Thai restaurant, where most of the chat revolved around the church's participation in this coming June's gay pride parade, but I also got to spill the beans about my background, my novel, how Unitarianism comes into both, and more.

When all was said and done, it was 2 PM already - I pushed on to Oak Park, 10 miles to the west, where I toured Frank Lloyd Wright's home. This being an older home (1899-1909), it didn't look like a Wright masterpiece from the later years, but the budding elements - overlapping octagons, suspended pianos, and green color theming throughout - were all there. I was too tired to truly enjoy it though.

I left Chicago at 4:30 local time, and by the time I returned to Indy, it was 8:30 after time difference. And those "In God We Trust" theocratic plates really nagged at me from the moment I crossed back into Indiana.

I took a few pictures, but won't be uploading them tonight - I am too tired, and I have business to mind tomorrow morning.