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Illinois

September 15, 2013

In which Chantal inadvertently fails at paying tolls.  Twice, in two different ways:

1)  Not having enough money.

2)  Not being in the correct lane and not having the Illinois-specific EasyPass thing.  (There was a LOT of construction and cones and it was all very confusing.)

The first one I was about 75 cents short so I took a ticket to pay online.  I didn’t even think about tolls when I left Winona, and I hadn’t seen an ATM this entire trip, so that was my fault.  The second one I’m still waiting to hear from the transit authority…

Anyway, after lots of construction I made it to Urbana-Champaign and found Sam.  We went out to dinner at a brewery (called Destihl… confusing…) with a friend of his from lab.  I was very happy to be drinking beer and eating food at this point, since it was pretty late.

Day 10:  417 miles (2964 total)

The next morning Sam took me on a tour of the University of Illinois campus (it’s HUGE) and then I left for Naperville.  It was so nice to leave my car at Cathi and Alex’s apartment and have Cathi drive us into Chicago.  We parked at Miranda’s building, so I got to meet her as well.  And then we met up with Laura at the Bean!  My road trip buddy flew to Chicago so she could drive the rest of the way home with me.  It was fantastic to have company after many hours of driving and eating alone.

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This was the best in the series of jumping pictures, even with the woman walking through it.  I like how she’s clearly looking at us, so you’d think she’d figure out she was in our way.CIMG2289

I loved this model of Chicago so much (look at the tiny Bean!!).CIMG2284

We walked along the (actual) streets of Chicago…

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… and arrived at Navy Pier.CIMG2294

We took a taxi to Wrigley Field (I might have fallen asleep… I blame staying up late watching QI) and had some beer at Goose Island Beer Company before returning via the L to the car and back to Naperville.  I was under strict instructions from Sarah to go to Pepe’s and have queso dip, which totally lived up to the hype.  We drove through North Central College on the way home and saw some enormous houses in the surrounding community.

This trip turned out to be somewhat focused on higher education – I saw the college where Sarah and Cathi were as undergrads, experienced a bit of Christine’s grad school life, saw where Sam is doing his post-doc, and sat in on classes with Professor Zemke!  Pretty cool.  Giant THANK YOUs to everyone who hosted me!

Day 11:  156 miles (3120 total)

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