Sunday, September 16, 2018



In our four years on the road, we have visited many of the major cities in the US, the most recent being New York and Boston in 2017. Chicago has always been high on our list and this year, we finally had a chance to visit this great city.

One of the big challenges about visiting a city of this size is where to park our 38 foot home. Usually, we consider somewhere far enough away that it won't break the bank and is also near public transport. But we learned from fellow fulltime travelers Jason and Nikki Wynn that there is a truck marshalling yard just behind the McCormick Place Event Center that allows RVs to boondock for a reasonable fee. It was a little nerve wracking figuring out how to get to this place because there is a lot of conflicting information on the Web, but it wound up being pretty straightforward. To avoid as much traffic as possible, we decided "in on a Sunday, out on a Sunday".

On the way into the city.  The traffic was moderate and easy to navigate.

Our “campsite” at the marshalling yard. Pretty awesome, right?

Once Scoopy is situated, our usual mode of transport when we go anywhere is by car. We don't really take taxis and we only rarely rent bikes. In fact, New York City was the one and only time we took to riding around on two wheels. Chicago has a similar setup called Divvy and they make it incredibly simple using a phone app to find a bike and prepay so you can just grab and go. We were both eager to give it a try.

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A Divvy depot and one of the bikes we used to get around town.

The day we arrived in Chicago was baking hot. Travel days tend to be just that so we don't plan to do anything else except relax when we arrive. On our first full day in Chicago, we got going pretty early and rented a couple of Divvy bikes. All was going well until about five seconds after we hopped on. Dark clouds had moved in and the rain cascaded from the heavens. It was like that on and off for most of the day but we managed to get as far as Navy Pier anyway and enjoyed the sights. We also visited the popular Cloud Gate, otherwise known as The Bean. We thought to ourselves, biking will be a great way to get around the city. But as it turned out, that was the first and last time we rented bikes :) Why? Well, we got lazy, opted for Lyft and never looked back.

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The views from Navy Pier, although foggy, were still dramatic.


Cloud Gate lets you feel like you are on drugs without being on drugs.

From then on, anytime we wanted to go out exploring, we fired up our Lyft app and a car arrived mere feet from Scoopy and whisked us off. We chose to ditch the bike idea because temperatures were mostly in the upper eighties and nineties. No fun arriving where you're going dripping with sweat.

Chicago has a character and personality that is completely its own. To me, it's prettier than New York, mainly because of the Riverwalk. But there's also an abundance of arts and the city houses many museums, galleries and music venues.

We've figured out over time that the smartest approach to visiting a big city is to do a couple of worthwhile tours to get our bearings. Early on, we went on one of the river boat tours and, I have to say, it was absolutely worth the time and money we spent. You can really appreciate the amazing architecture better than driving around and, besides, the streets in Chicago are legendary for creating confusion and many an out-of-towner has gotten completely lost in their midst.

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The boat tour was the best way to see the spectacular architecture of Chicago.

The the next day we did a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. While I enjoyed this tour, I found the guide to be a little flat and, for 2 1/2 hours, that can have an influence on your experience. A bonus with the bus tour was that it included an additional evening excursion absolutely free! Linda passed but I really enjoyed seeing the city at night. This time the tour guide was really terrific.

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Having fun on the daytime bus tour!




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A whole different perspective on the city on the evening tour.

Of course we couldn't leave Chicago without trying one of their famous deep dish pizzas. We went to Giordano’s after our bus tour. We were starving when we arrived and, to our horror, we were told it would take 45 minutes to be ready. We got a couple of appetizers and a few glasses of wine to keep us entertained in the meantime :) The pizza was really good but I think Linda and I prefer the thinner crust pizzas.

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Deep dish at Giordano’s and wood-fired at Eataly’s!

I think the biggest appeal of Chicago for me personally was having access to the art museum. Linda stayed at home while I got a dose of the arts. It's such an amazing museum, I could have spent a week there. Towards the end of the week, we went to Grant Park to see the Grant Park Orchestra play. Holy cow, it was such a joy to see the lights come on in the surrounding buildings while the music of Prokofiev played. It reminded me that, even in the midst of a busy city with the constant sound of distant sirens, the most delicate of musical notes can overpower it all.

Inside the Art Institute of Chicago.


Listening the the orchestra at the Grant Park Pavilion.

The week flew by and I managed a couple of solo days and together we visited one of the local farmers markets and went to see the latest Mission:Impossible (highly recommended, by the way). I could have stayed for at least another week. As much as we love the energy and excitement of cities of this scale, we were still happy to move on be away from it all.

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So many things to shoot in Chicago. I felt like I wore out a pair of shoes in the week we were there.

We just had a yummy breakfast here at one of the farmers markets.

Still, it was a photographer's dream to be in a city with such architectural wonders. As well as shooting an abundance of photographs, I put together a short film with the highlights of our visit. You can view it here:


Up next: Making a beeline west!


  1. Wow...your pictures are fabulous! Hopefully one day we’ll get there too. Safe travels!

    1. Thank you. It’s definitely a place we would go back to. Although, after some really hot days there, I think we would rather go in the fall. Thanks for the comment.

  2. You guys are crazy, you could not pay me enough to spend time in big cities! But then again there are probably things we do that others would never consider. That is what makes this lifestyle so great!

    1. Ha ha, I completely understand and we only do this rarely. Still, the energy and excitement of a city, for us at least, is fun. When we’ve had enough, it makes us appreciate living in our motorhome even more! Thanks for the comment.

  3. WOW! You really captured the essence of Chicago, excellent!

  4. Fantastic photos of a beautiful city! The Bean is such a cool sculpture. We spent a day (a very full day) in Chicago in May and loved it. We did a morning walking tour, an afternoon riverboat tour, and explored for hours on our own. We had a blast! There's so much more to do—I want to go back. Like you, we love our time in nature, but we also thoroughly enjoy our city adventures.

    1. I think we are good visiting big cities for now. I requires a lot of energy and we were certainly ready for it in Chicago but I'm good for a while :) Hope you guys get back.

  5. You continue to inspire my love of photographing cities. The reflections, the shapes, the shadows, the variety - that fountain!! The river tour looks like a must-do. In cooler weather I think we could do the truck yard.

    1. Thanks Jodee! I think if and when we return, it will be in the fall. The heat of summer definitely slowed us down. Even so, I LOVE Chicago!