Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Millennium Park: Take Two

Friday was a good time to leave for parts unknown. A storm was hurtling towards us and for the most part, we stayed out ahead of it all the way to Chicago. First on our agenda was another visit to Millennium Park for myself and a first visit for my MIL. I had scouted out parking and had found a convenient parking garage directly underneath the park. My Garmin 200W GPS system led me right to it and we parked the car just after twelve noon.

My wife wanted to eat a picnic lunch that we had brought with us in the car but I suggested taking it to eat in the park above ground. So we loaded up our backpack and stroller and headed up, only to have it start pouring rain the second we stepped out the door. However it only lasted for a brief 30 seconds or so and then was gone for the rest of the day.

We immediately got kicked out of the seating in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion as we were eating our lunch so we had to move a few feet away to a wooden bench which evidently satisfied the security guard who mosied on away. Evidently they hadn't read the rules of the park posted on their website that state, "While in the park, please respect the rights of others by allowing free and open access to all areas of the park at all times."

Our seating in the other "free and open access area" happened to be by those trees in another "free and open access area" that were still locked up in some sort of maximum-security prison. Evidently they are serving life in the slammer. I wanted to offer them a bite of my sandwich but those security cameras were blinking their red eyes at me and I didn't want to end up in the joint too.

After lunch, we walked across the BP Bridge and down to the inland seashore on Lake Michigan. There we turned our attention and feet north to the highlight of my wife's day and the dreaded scourge of mine called Navy Pier. It is basically a condensed amusement part/tourist trap/shopping mall built on a pier made of concrete. It was crowded. We walked around a bit taking in the commotion and eventually bought an overpriced ticket for Little Abbey to ride the Merry-go-Round. She protested as we tried to put her on the thing and then threw and even bigger fit when we tried to take her off 30 seconds later at the end of the ride. Now every time she seems a Merry-go-Round, which has been surprisingly often, she points longingly towards it as we go by.

None to soon, we walked back to Millennium Park and to Crown Fountain where we kicked back and watched all the teenyboppers on tour make asses of themselves in the water. Little Abbey joined another fellow her age in the water and spent some time splashing it around but at least she had the sense to keep herself dry, which the teenyboppers didn't. I'm guessing they had a cool rest of the day as the temps, although pleasant in dry clothing, would definitely have felt chilly in wet multiplied by a strong wind that pushed through the Windy City on that day. As the evening began to wane, we walked back to the parking garage under the park, wandered around until we found where we were supposed to pay before returning to our car as so many signs admonished us but never told us where, and headed off to our hotel somewhere out by Midway airport. That part of the journey shall be told on a different day.

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