America 2019: Day Eleven (Tuesday 28 May)

I’m makin’ my way back to Chicago
I’m makin’ my way come rain or shine
I’m gonna find true love waiting for me
I’m gonna make it all work out for good this time

Let’s go walking by the beach tonight
And watch the sun come up on Lake Shore Drive
Then I’ll take you in my arms
And I’ll keep you from all harm
Cause I know everything is gonna be alright

                                                                                                                                                     – Styx


Tuesday 28 May

Went for a walk this morning, pretty early. Got about twenty meters up the road towards the next house – the way we’d driven in last night – when these three giant, elephant-sized dogs emerged and started running towards me, barking. Needless to say, I beat a very hasty and unglamorous retreat and went in the other direction, through the small and very quaint town centre of Wayne, which you’ll miss if you blink, and onto the Illinois Prairie Path for a few kilometres. It is a very nice part of Illinois, tucked away here, with as many nice houses as there are fields and paddocks.

Our house

After breakfast, we drove over to Aroura, about thirty minutes away, to the Premium Outlet mall there. Pretty much every shop you can imagine – Nike, Under Armour, Crocs, Saks, Bose, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, Brooks Brothers – and many more you probably haven’t heard of has outrageous savings. You have to get lucky with styles and sizes (and some of it is quote-unquote, last years’ stock), but if you can, you’re going to save a tonne compared to buying the same stuff in a normal outlet.

The Illinois Prairie Path

For example, I bought a new pair of waterproof, warm-weather Columbia hiking boots similar to the ones I bought in Canada. Back then, I paid probably $240 for them. Today, on special, just $40. The gentleman taking care of me at the register asked if I wanted to donate a dollar towards a clean water charity. I felt like I had to, considering the outrageous bargain. I picked up a few other small things at Under Armour and a couple nice shirts, and can report that Kat made an absolute killing during her nearly three hours’ of shopping. I was done after an hour and a half.

Me and Indiana Mike

We had another giant storm this afternoon. There’s been some really bad tornado-type weather affecting northern Indiana and southern Ohio, and we are on the edge of that, hence the violent but mostly fast-moving storms. Particularly badly hit was the small town of Dayton, Ohio, which looks like something from a disaster movie now. Lots of people’s lives have been ruined by Mother Nature here in the Midwest over the last few days. Not a good start to summer for those folks.

Traditional Chicago deep dish pizza

After dropping our shopping back to the house, we headed out to Glen Ellyn, to the Giordano’s Pizza restaurant there. Chicago is famous for it’s deep dish pizza, and for the last few years, early in the visit, we’ve eaten there with Mike, Jane, Bri, Frank (who for reasons unknown to the rest of us, has decided to call Kat ‘Mary’) and Ivana. This year, aside from Kat, we had one other addition: Ava, who is about a cute as any baby can be, especially in her Australian bib, and now she’s sporting a new koala.

I only ate two slices of pizza – washed down with a couple beers – and I was done in. They are giant! We had a wonderful night talking and laughing. Bri, a few days removed from her “half birthday” celebrations, kept us very entertained. Thanks to ‘Indiana’ Mike for organising things from his end. It’s always a fun time, and I don’t think I’ll ever walk out of Giordano’s anything but absolutely stuffed.


Big day tomorrow: downtown sightseeing and White Sox baseball.

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