Spent the day in Chicago today. It was a toss-up whether I’d just pass this place by – as I was coming through on my way to Great Lakes Naval Station, the traffic was horrendous, the weather was heavy rain & hail, and the city is just so friggin’ BIG!
But the Navy Lodge staff let me know that the traffic was due to FOUR sporting events happening simultaneously and the roads should be clear today. Also, it was sunshine and blue skies. So – time to hit the city…
Lunch at the Hard Rock. Had to pick up some pins for Donna. Had to maneuver around 100,000 people “Walking For The Cure” with the finish line right at the Hard Rock.
Mick Jagger and I had a nice conversation while waiting to order. He kept repeating what he thought would be good to order, but I had trouble understanding him because he was speaking out the side of his mouth. Sounded something like “Oil Can”. ..
After the Great Fire of Chicago, a “Master Plan” was created in which five piers would be built on the waterfront to encourage tourism, travel by steamboat, and commercial shipping. Only one pier, named the Municipal Pier, was actually built (in 1916). It is a little over 3,300 feet long and the center part of the pier had roadways to help passengers and cargo be put on and off ships along with streetcars to carry tourists down from the city. During WWI, it was used to house military members, the Red Cross, and Home Defense units.
In 1921 – 1922, it was the place to be. Chicago held a 15 day “Pageants of Progress” on the pier which drew almost a million visitors in that short time. The Chicago Federation of Labor established a radio station in the north tower on the pier – the call letters were WCFL and it was the “voice of labor”. It was renamed Navy Pier in 1927 as a tribute to the Navy personnel who served in WWI.
Today, it’s a beautiful entertainment mecca for the Lakes region. Shops, theaters, music, and food make it a great place to visit and look out on Lake Michigan.
Dinner tonight was at Big Ed’s BBQ in North Chicago. The look and smell of the place reminded me of the greatest BBQ place that ever existed: K & K Ribs in Madisonville, Ohio. (For all of you that are shaking your heads and about to say the name of YOUR favorite BBQ place – Stop. You’ll just be embarrassing yourself.)
K & K Ribs had a HUGE roaring fire in a pit that was at least 15 feet log and went up the side of the building. Massive slabs of ribs lay on grills stretched out above the coals where the cooks lovingly basted them slowly with a sweet, tangy sauce. When they pulled your slab off, they dipped the whole thing in sauce, sliced it in a couple of mini-slabs, then placed it in containers lined with white bread which sopped up the dripping sauce. Oh, Lordy….heaven on earth.
My lovely bride’s favorite part of the meal was the bread. While I was working on the tender, delicious rib meat, she was vacuuming up the bread. Now, every time we visit a rib joint, her first statement is always, “This place can’t be much – they don’t have soppin’ bread.”
Big Ed’s was good – but no K & K. (Sorry, Ed). I did notice that they had a “3lb Challenge” on the menu for $16.99. The counter person pointed out the picture and said it was 3lbs of beef, bun, and fixin’s along with a medium fries and medium drink. (Seriously, medium?)
Current record for bustin’ the Challenge is twelve minutes, five seconds. I’ll bet the guy looked pregnant after finishing this. (Seriously, medium fries/drink?). What do you win if you beat the record? A lousy picture on the wall….
Today’s Travel: 92 miles
Total Travel To Date: 857 miles