Madison and the Dells

We all had heard about the Dells but none of us had been there. We drove to the Dells and got a guided boat tour. It was really a good tour and the guide explained a lot of the formations. The pics below are just an example.

The Dells are beautiful but we needed to return to Madison So we could have dinner with my friends, Darrell and Diane.

After dinner another early night because we had to drive to Champaign Illinois the next day to have lunch with Marsha’s brother and sister-in-law.

Chicago continued

Day 2 in Chicago was just as wonderful as the first day. We got on the hop-on hop-off bus and went to the Navy Pier. We had lunch on the Pier and then ride the Centennial Wheel (a smaller version of the London Eye. The pics below were taken from the wheel.

Then we did a lot more sightseeing including the water tower and Magnificent Mile. Eventually we made our way to the John Hancock building and the 360 Chicago for more bird’s eye views.

While at the 360 we had a drink and the ceiling was mirrored. See picture below.

Dinner that night was at the Berghoff a well known German restaurant.

After dinner we returned to the hotel. Tomorrow we will take the bus back to Rockford, retrieve the car and drive to Madison WI. So tomorrow is a driving day with no sightseeing.


We got up and headed to the bus station for the over an hour ride to Chicago. We went to our hotel which was located in the center of the city. Our room wasn’t ready so we checked our luggage and headed out sightseeing. We bought 2 day tickets for the hop-on hop-off bus.

We went first to the Adler Planetarium. It is a great place but time is always short when there is so much to see. There is a great view of the Chicago skyline from the front of the planetarium.

Adler Planetarium

Next we went to the park that contains many landmarks. First was the Bean a large reflective metal structure where you can take pictures being reflected by the Bean.

The above picture is the center of the Bean and below are pictures taken of the reflections in the Bean.

Then Marsha and I walked to Buckingham Fountain with beautiful sights along the wa.

Below are pictures of Buckingham Fountain. It also goes a water show for 20 minutes and is lit with a rainbow of colors at night.

We boarded the bus and went to a different section of the city. The streets have various forms of artwork that is really neat. Below is a pic of one.

Of course we drove by Soldier Field.

And of course the day would not be complete without pictures of Chicago at night.

Then back to the hotel so we can do more touristing tomorrow.

Rockford Illinois

Today we went to visit Marsha’s brother, Wally, and sister-in-law EJ. They have the most beautiful garden in their backyard and they raise butterflies. Wally is a docent for a nearby Conservatory. Wally and EJ took us to the Conservatory where Wally gave us his tour. The tour was extremely interesting and Wally does a great job as docent. The Conservatory has a Corpse Flower (titan arum plant) that smells like rotting flesh and burnt sugar when it opens.

From the Conservatory we went to a Japanese garden where we had lunch. After lunch we toured the extremely beautiful gardens.

We had to leave the gardens because we were invited to Wally and EJ’s neighbor for happy hour. Again it would have been nice to spend more time at both locations but we couldn’t.

Wally’s neighbor has a bar in his basement.

He is very much into craft beer and has 8 or 9 on tap that he goes to Chicago to get. We had a really fun time. After happy hour we went back to Wally and EJ’s for dinner.

I should mention EJ is very much into fiber arts. She spins her own yarn. Of course we have much in common and we went off to the yarn store that EJ frequents. Great store and of course I got more yarn.

But I digressed. After dinner we returned to the hotel since we will go to Chicago in the morning.

Midland Michigan

The party was great. Friends and family cane to help Clara celebrate.

The next day Leighann drove us to Frankenmuth, a small German town similar to Helen GA. We went to Bronners, the world’s largest Christmas store.

If you can’t find a Christmas item in this store it probably doesn’t exist. Then we went to lunch at a German style restaurant that features fried chicken (go figure?). Then back to Leighann’s. The next day there was another family get together and barbecue for Clara at a different location.

Overnight at Leighann’s and then on to Rockford Illinois. Another day of driving checking in and dinner.