Niagara Falls, Ontario / Mile 5,273 -- It has been an eventful few days, so I’m going to breeze over a lot… several Midwestern states may get short shrift. Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan: sorry, guys.
But I did want to report on our weekend in Chicago, which, as expected, was one of the major highlights of the Great American Road Trip. We stayed in the suburb of Highland Park with my Uncle Kevin, Aunt Robin, and cousins Rachel (10) and Aaron (6). Kevin and I have managed to cross paths several times in the last year with weddings and football games and such, but I don’t get to see the rest of the family very often. Rachel and Aaron are adorable and precocious kids and great fun to be around. I viewed the Chicago leg as family time and didn’t have a lot of preconceived notions about what we might do, but we did check off a fair number of sights within the Windy City, including an night at a couple of jazz clubs, a walk around Millennium Park, and a trip to the top of the Sears Tower.
On our second and final night we enjoyed an evening of refined suburban debauchery. Just steps from Kevin and Robin’s house is an outdoor concert venue known as the Ravinia, where almost every night during the summer the locals spread blankets out on the lawn and enjoy food, booze, and live music. On Saturday, a Beatles cover band called American English provided an eerily perfect imitation of the Fab Four, and in period dress and hairdos to boot. Along with a bunch of Kevin and Robin’s friends, we ate, drank, and danced the night away. At one point Elise expressed amazement that Kevin and I come from the same stock, and she remarked that I have an “inappropriately funny” family, a comment that I took with tremendous pride.
Unfortunately, Samantha had to bail in Chicago—something about having to work on Monday, I didn’t really understand—so now it’s down to me and Elise. After getting our state-visitation cards punched in Indiana (at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore) and Michigan (old town Lansing and riverwalk), we arrived tonight at Niagara Falls, the first place on our route since Glennallen, AK that I have already been to. The falls were not part of the original plan, but Elise had never been and wanted to see them, so here we are. Tomorrow night we descend on Williams College and crash with my brother, and then Tuesday the Great American Road Trip finally comes to an end.