America 2017: Day Seven (2 August)

Young restless in the heartland
Undecided trying hard to understand
Bold rebels faded glory mighty dollar
It could make ’em mad
And all the home town rallied
On everything worth trying
And when we fell the lightning
And still the thunder
Never give in

The sainest eyes keep from burning
And on the fire take on the heat
We multiply sweet home and hearted
Change with the times
American heartbeat

                                                                                                                   – Jimmy Barnes

Wednesday 2 August
Wheaton, Illinois

Love being able to include a song from one of Australia’s greatest rock singers, Jimmy Barnes, in my on-the-road blogs in America.

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Breakfast

After the fun insanity that was Six Flags Great America yesterday, what I needed more than anything else was a long sleep, and I got it – more than nine hours – leaving me feeling pretty refreshed and ready for another big day.

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It was our first annual #Longhini Day, which saw us having breakfast and lunch with Longhini’s. We went to Egg Harbour (or Harbor, as they say here) in downtown Wheaton, where I had an amazing southwest-style skillet. Looking back on it now, it probably wasn’t my smartest move, because it was barely an hour after leaving Wheaton on the train to downtown Chicago that we were eating lunch at Portillo’s, as iconic Chicago as the ’85 Bears. The skillet from Egg Harbour then the sausage and beef combo one after the other was…heavy.

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Luckily after eating, we hired bikes near Millennium Park and rode down to Lake Michigan near Navy Pier, then along the Gold Coast foreshore to North Avenue Beach and a cool eatery called Castaways, where the beer is cold and the views are amazing.

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All up, we rode for a good forty-five minutes each way without going needing to ride on a road. The network of trails through downtown and out along the foreshore are second to none, and incredibly popular with bikes riders, walkers and joggers, despite the upgrades that are taking place to make it even better.

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As you can tell from the photos, it was a beautiful day and the views of Chicago’s skyline were amazing – this place is fast becoming my favourite city in America. The vibe in this city during summertime is almost unbeatable. There were literally thousands of people out and about, enjoying the many lake beaches.

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We came back to Wheaton just after five o’clock and enjoyed a nice outdoor meal of chicken and salad, topped off with a Tim Tam, and took some great photos with Brooke, Miles, Paige and Graham. Later in the evening, Matt took us to Arrowhead Golf Course to meet a few of his buddies for some beers. Scott Weller joined, which is pretty much a guarantee of a good time. Unfiltered Scott is my favourite, and his stories didn’t disappoint. Made the mistake of veering away from Budweiser tonight, so there’s a decent chance that I wake up with a heavy head tomorrow. Heck of a fun night, though!

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