Copyright © 2015
Burnham Habor, Chicago, IL 7/17-21/2019
I’ve got to give Captain Tom kudos. He knows how much I like traveling on FLAT water and we waited in Racine an extra day and had a stellar ride to Chicago. It was a bit foggy, but we expected that. The day before the fog didn’t lift all day and draped the marina entrance and bay like a white wall that made you think you’d be entering a different world if you ventured through it.
Cruising up to the Chicago skyline was really cool. For me probably even cooler than the New York skyline. A few years ago, when I was doing a little painting, Sam asked me to paint the Chicago skyline for him. I know, right?! I did and you could actually recognize what it was 😉. Anyway, it was pretty amazing to be there with BELLA and see it all lit up at night from the boat.
We were slipped at Burnham Harbor, right on the river walk and close to the museum campus. Wednesday and part of Thursday were pretty rainy, so we didn’t venture out until the afternoon. We were ready to check out the city. I booked a Segway tour and we had a fun time tooling around. Our tour guide was great and we saw and learned more about the windy city, even though we thought we know a lot already! We had cocktails at the Gage after our tour and met a chick at the bar who likes oysters as much as we do and highly recommended them, so when in Rome……
Sam and Griff arrived on Friday afternoon from MN, along with our nephew Jeff, who was down in Chicago on business. We caught up on the boat and eventually ended up downtown for dinner. We solidified plans for Saturday and had fun checking out the bridges downtown that we were eventually going to be going under…..hopefully. Side note: to take the downtown route thru Chicago, you have to be able to clear 17 ft. BELLA is 16’ 10”. With all the rain and high water, we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get under the Michigan Ave bridge, so anytime we were downtown we would try and estimate the height on the ferries, tour boats and pleasure craft clearing the bridges. Tom even talked to some of the ferry captains, called the Coast Guard, talked to folks in the marina, got on every website imaginable, so we would know for certain the height and we wouldn’t rip off all the electronics off the top of our boat. Spoiler: we made it through 😊😊😊
Saturday the boys decided they wanted to spend the day on the water at an anchorage called The Playpen. That’s right. The Playpen. It’s located on the northside of Navy Pier and runs along Lakeshore Drive. The Playpen, as you can imagine, is a happening place, filled with anchored boats and twenty somethings having a good time. Sam’s friend, Alex Kurth, flew in Saturday morning and joined us along with a few of his gal friends from Chicago. Jeff and Griff hopped in the dinghy and we headed to the playpen for the day. We had a great day on the water, swimming, sunning and watching the parade of boaters, until a front blew in abruptly and put an end to the festivities. Everyone in the Playpen, and I mean everyone was hightailing it back to the marinas. It was crazy!!! We made it back to Burnham Harbor, got tied up just in time for the rain. The Playpen is an interesting place to find yourself when your old enough to make the “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials.
Sunday was pretty low key. A little brunch in the morning, a little shopping in the afternoon and a concert (Slightly Stoopid) in the evening for the boys right across from the boat at Northerly Island. It was an early roll call for all the guys Monday morning heading back to MN and work. Everyone was on their way by 5am. So happy they all came down. It was an epic time in Chi-town!
More later from the Illinois River~
Tom & Sue Slightam
Read along as we circumnavigate the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada on the Great Loop on our boat BELLA, a Cruiser 460 Express.