Chicago, Illinois

Posted: September 30, 2013 in Outdoor Activities, The Region, True to Life

A Nice Place to Visit…

…but I wouldn’t want to live there!

To_Chicago-SignIn the afternoon of September 29th, I decided to take a trip to Chicago. I called a few friends at the last moment to see if anyone would care to join me, but being a last minute decision, my invitations were declined. It’s not like anybody wanted to go with me…it was just too soon.

So, a solo adventure it will have to be.

A round-trip ticket only cost me $10.50 – not bad. I planned on taking the train all the way to Millennium Station (the last stop); stroll around & take a few snap shots; get a little writing done; get something to eat; then head home.

A Simple Sunday

Last Minute Decision

It’s Sunday…I’m bored.

The Hammond South-Shore Station in Hammond, IN

The Hammond South-Shore Station in Hammond, IN

Not really getting into the football frenzy like MOST everybody else I know this year.
In fact, one of the reasons my invitations were mostly rejected were because they already had planned on watching the Chicago Bears play against the Detroit Lions.

It was an away game so I figured that’d be one less thing to worry about. I mean, traffic and the sidewalks were still packed as usual, but it could have been worse.

Bears fans…whatever.

I’m an Indianapolis Colts fan and I like the Bears, but hey…I live in Indiana. As far as I’m concerned, I’m on the right wagon.

Traveling by South Shore
The Westbound 1:57 stop at the South Shore Station in Hammond, Indiana

The Westbound 1:57 stop at the South Shore Station in Hammond, Indiana

If you have never ridden the South Shore you have got to make plans to do so.

Taking trips to the Field Museum, the Museum of Science & Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, &c. is the ONLY way to travel to and from Chicago, Illinois.

“Yeah, but I’d rather drive.”

Shame on you.

Out-of-shape assholes. You’d rather add to the congestion and mayhem (not to mention the emissions from your car) than use public transportation?

I know, I know…there are weirdos that use public transportation.
I’ve run into a few myself, but still…it’s somewhat funny, most of the time – afterwards, that is.

While waiting in the Hammond South Shore train terminal I noticed there were other people waiting as well. I found it odd because it was only about 12:30 in the afternoon and the next train isn’t until 1:57 pm. And I thought I was an early bird. I sat at the very end of the wooden bench against the south wall of the terminal. I chose to sit there because it was next to an outlet. This came in handy because I needed to charge both my cell phone and my laptop. I plugged both my phone and laptop and and wrote a few notes.

A transit police officer walked in to check things out. He checked to see if the bathrooms were locked and that nobody was living in there. After awhile, I took some photos with a Canon PowerShot Elph 330 Hs and a fresh memory card, unknowingly leaving my cell phone behind (accidently) on the wooden bench, against the south wall right next to the outlet. I took the charger; I just forgot the phone.

Luckily, after I realized what I have done (5 mins later), I ran back to the terminal to find my phone laying there on the wooden bench, against the south wall next to the outlet.

Traveling solo you won’t have much trouble finding a seat.  Unlike if you were with someone or even a group of people, chances are you’re not going to be able to sit together. Fewer the people, better the chances. That is, of course, when you’re traveling solo and everybody has got their parcels (whether it’s a backpack, purse, or shopping bag) on the seat next to them.
I hate that.

The seating on a South Shore train. This particular passenger train had extra seats installed.

The seating on a South Shore train. This particular passenger train had extra seats installed.

I walk from train car to train car; opening and closing those heavy metal sliding doors that separate the passenger train cars from one another. There’s a lot of solo travelers, but they’re taking up two seats. Some people even have the nerve to lay down – wtf?
So train car to train car I continue on, trying to find a seat until at last!

I found a seat.
I placed my backpack on the seat next to me.

Oh well.

If you can’t beat’em, then join’em.

Arriving at the Millennium Station

FINAL STOP - The South Shore Millennium Station - Chicago, Illinois

FINAL STOP – The South Shore Millennium Station – Chicago, Illinois

It’s not like I’ve never been to the “city” before, I’ve been here plenty of times for lots of different reasons.
But this time…?

This time I’m going to try and look at it from an artistic point-of-view.

As I boarded off the passenger car of a South Shore train my memory kicked in. I remembered right away about the long walk if you happened to be riding in the last car. The platform for the South Shore train station reminds me of a movie set off of “Batman”. Yeah, it’s pretty cool.

Walking through the terminal I passed a Church’s Chicken restaurant and a Starbucks, there was even an area where you could do your banking (if you were a member of that particular bank), but there were plenty of Automatic Teller Machines just in case you weren’t.

Graham Crackers Comic Book Store - 77 E. Madison - Chicago, IL - 312.629.1810

Graham Crackers Comic Book Store – 77 E. Madison – Chicago, IL – 312.629.1810

As I stepped onto Randolph Street, I turned right and headed for Millennium Park. There was some kind of fest going on, so instead of crossing Michigan Avenue, I made another right and headed for Madison Street. I’m not sure what this event was for, but it was pretty much packed with pedestrians and patrolman. I occasionally looked to my left to see if I could see anything going on; some kind of clue that would tip me off, but frankly, I didn’t care.

However, all I could see was that GIANT chrome bean. I eventually went there, but if you want to see those pictures you have to go to my Facebook Fan Page.

Daredevil Comic Books

Daredevil Comic Books

I noticed Graham Crackers Comic Book Store and gave them a try.

I’m a huge DAREDEVIL fan (in case you didn’t know). Of all the superheros there are out there, DAREDEVIL is my favorite.

Hey, I know he’s blind, but all his other extra senses are super enhanced – plus he’s a lawyer by day (ka-ching)!

And I know he got beat up by a girl (Elektra).
Big deal, he’s blind.
He still put up a great fight! The total cost of the collection I bought to the right cost less than $20.00.
Not bad…I’m okay with that.

Now I’m Getting Thirsty
002RBAG

Rudy’s Bar and Grille – 69 E. Madison – Chicago, IL

After spending an hour or two at Graham Crackers Comic Books I developed a thirst. I needed something nutritious but has plenty of alcohol…BLOODY MARY’S! Perfect. As I stepped out, I noticed the sun going down and checked out the time…almost 6:30 pm. Not that it was getting darker, the shadows have shifted making it feel later than it actually was. It got a bit cooler, but I brought along “Old Grey” to keep me warm. This also means I missed my 6:22 pm train home.

Guess I’m stuck here until the next one…that’s not until 9:15 pm.
Perfect.

INSIDE INFO: “Old Grey” is a grey, long sleeved, button down sweater, with semi wide black stripes going down, made from the same material as a “baja hoodie”.

Chicago After Dark

Chicago After Dark

Getting Hungry – Again

FAMOUS STUFFED PIZZA - FRESH ITALIAN

FAMOUS STUFFED PIZZA – FRESH ITALIAN

I couldn’t help it.
I had a buzz, I was alone, and I had to make sure I made the 9:15 pm South Shore train back to Hammond, because the next one didn’t leave until 11:15 pm; then 12:45 am after that.

There’s noway I’m going to miss this train.

I was lucky to be able to get a seat at Giardano’s, it was packed.

If you like to no more about Giordano’s you need to check my Yelp Account.

The Most Unfortunate Incident

Chicago-Homeless_Sign

When I returned back to the place where I thought I left my cell phone, it was gone.
So was the homeless person sitting near me.

The most unfortunate thing happened to me.

I lost my cell phone.  That’s right…my cell phone.

It’s already taken care of, I have the same number and as a matter of fact, I have the exact same phone I had originally lost (only this one is in better condition).

I lucked out BIG TIME!
Thank you LEEZA’S SHOP, you were a big help!

When I realized I left my phone behind – I started to have an anxiety attack.  I knew right where I left it; on the steps next to a homeless person.

She was a young black woman that just sat next to to a dingy public ashtray asking for hand-outs, I ignored her and continued to text to make sure I had a ride waiting for me at the Hammond South Shore Train Terminal. As I went through my backpack, I placed my cell phone down on the steps and went through my backpack with both hands.

I got up and headed for the train – I left the cell phone behind.
DAMN!

Oh well…all I can do is hope that my ride is there at the Hammond South Shore Terminal.

And of course – she was!

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