8 August 2005: Chicago is a big city, just too big.
Even though we had over 4 hours to spend before checkout time, it was morning hours and anything we'd wanted to squeeze into the time wouldn't really have been squeezable. So we took the easy way out and stayed in our hotel. No Navy Pier, no Hancock Building, no Sears Tower, no museums; just us, breakfast and the swimming pool. Breakfast was a little crazy. For a downtown hotel filled with guests their breakfast area was much too small to accommodate the numbers and their "cooked to order" really wasn't, as they precooked omelettes in one of three choices. And there was one toaster. When there's a line for "self serve food", a line for "cooked to order", a line for the toaster and a line for drinks, someone needs to reconfigure the place.
Anyway, enough complaining. The kids were already dressed for the pool so we enjoyed about an hour swimming and in the hot tub before washing up, packing and hitting the road once more. Katherine's keychain collection is growing rapidly. I wonder if someone sells keychain shadowboxes, much like those spoon boxes. She's going to need one or she'll remain the Worst Spy Ever with her constant jangling. Keychains cost a fortune now. I remember collecting them and they were $1 or $2 for a retangular plastic bubble with a picture in it. Now, they're anywhere from $6 and up for spiffy metal designs. Buying these have rapidly wiped out her savings. But don't tell her... we'd planned on giving the kids traveling money anyhow.
On the road again, lunch was (finally) at Arby's. The food was so-so, but the kid pack toys are cool, there was a lego table in the restaurant, and the chocolate chip cookies are really really good. It was worth the stop for both lunch and a gas fill-up. I'm used to washing the dust off the windows, but the bug splats I can live without. Especially the big, sticky multi-colored ones that make an audible noise with their demise. Ew.
Another couple hours and we made it to Indianapolis and the home of Ian's aunt Vivian. We haven't seen her in 7 years so again it was nice to catch up. She has 2 little dogs the kids adored. We collectively arrived at Dara's home (Ian's cousin) a short while later and even though Dara's 5yo son Noah wasn't home, the kids had a wonderful time in the basement of toys playing with 2yo Zoe. Dara's home is huge, beautifully designed and so comfortable I can't imagine why they'd ever want to move.
The Embassy Suites is easy to find and we remembered how much we liked the city of Indianapolis. It really is a small Big Town, with beautiful neighborhoods and a 2 story Borders. What's not to love?