We set out on our annual family vacation at 5:33am… or as I like to call it, the time before sane people wake up. Our goal was to make it to Chicago around noon with no major meltdowns or hissy fits (referring to Jim and I).
The trip went very smoothly. The kids spent time playing games and watching movies, we snacked, we laughed, we made a stop for lunch and to switch drivers, we paid the tolls and we found our way to Chicago. Overall, a pretty successful day…and that was all before noon.
I should talk about our lunch stop. We ate at Smoque. It’s a BBQ place in Chicago that we found out about by watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. One of the goals for this trip is to eat at a DDD place in each city we stay. We were not disappointed. It’s a small, busy place with great food and friendly service. Guy Fieri knows his stuff. This is a spot that is worth finding. If you’re heading to Chicago and you like BBQ (or even just really awesome Mac and Cheese) this is THE place! Check it out.
In Chicago, we spent our afternoon walking around Navy Pier. Van and I checked out the Shrek the Musical preview. I thought it was pretty cheesy (the preview, not the actual musical – it looks cool!), but Van wanted to watch it over and over. While we were filling up on Shrek, Jim and the girls went through the Fun House. They were warned to behave or the hungry cougar that lives there would be set loose on them. From their description of what they did inside, I don’t think they heeded the cougar warning. Luckily, they made it out alive.
After spending time at the Pier, we walked around downtown Chicago. I took a peek, longingly, down the Magnificent Mile. Sadly, this wasn’t the time to shop. Instead we found our way to the Hard Rock Cafe. In our previous vacations, we’ve made it a point to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe if there is one in the city. We’ve been to many of them already, and now were able to cross the Chicago one off the list.
Finally, after dinner, we found our way to the hotel. We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites in Portage, Indiana. Jim, Bre, Brooke and Van spent a lot of time enjoying the pool area. Of course, in my mad rush to make sure everyone else had everything they needed, I forgot to pack a swimming suit for myself. Oops! I guess I’ll have to try to find a suit somewhere along the way. Just want I want to do on vacation – shop for a swimming suit. Like most women, it is my least favorite thing to do!
Day 1 of the trip was a success. As the lights went out in our hotel room, I heard at least 2 people snoring. It didn’t take long for all of us to fall asleep and dream about the adventures Day 2 would bring.