15 November 2016

Two days near Chicago

While I quite enjoyed my last trip to Chicago, sometime in the late 1990s, I was not that keen to get back there and so I manage to restrict a business trip there to just two working days with a day travelling either side of that. I caught a flight Sunday lunchtime that arrived in Chicago Sunday afternoon, I worked two full days on Monday and Tuesday, then caught a flight back late on Tuesday arriving back at lunchtime on Wednesday.

One of the reasons for my reluctance was that, unlike last time, I was not in central Chicago but about 45 minutes north of there in a suburb galled Grayslake and I do not like suburban America as it is designed solely for the car and I insist on walking. There was a pavement by my hotel but that ran for a full 20m before disappearing. I have no idea why it was there.

The hotel was on the crossroads of two busy multi-lane roads (IL 120 and US 45) and the only interesting things that I could see were in the opposite corner and to get there I had to cross 12+ lanes of traffic with no pedestrian lights and only a narrow refuge in the middle of each road.

It was there that I went each morning for a long walk as part of my £14k steps a day regime. Because of the six hours time difference I was working on a three hour time shift which meant getting up at 5am Chicago time / 11am UK time instead of 8am UK time. As a plan that worked well and it gave me a good hour of walking time before breakfast and the drive to the office for an 8am start.

Grayslake is just one of hundreds, if not thousands, of small lakes made by glaciers scraping the ground during the last ice age, a geology I had also seen in Finland. Many of the lakes are small and ugly while others have been used to centre housing developments around. One of these is Grays Pointe and I did a lot of walking there.

Grays Pointe has two unnamed lakes and on my first morning, the Monday, I walked around the main one (150m long) half a dozen times waiting for the sun to come up. This lake had a fountain. On my second visit there, a very misty Tuesday morning, I found a second smaller lake. This one was more natural and had a bridge over it. This is the photo I took approaching the bridge, one of a very few photos that I took on the trip.

Other walks were less interesting. I did about 5km doing loops in the hotel and neighbouring hospital's car parks on Monday evening and a similar distance walking up and down Concourse C (500m long) at the airport on Tuesday.

On the plus side, the work went well, relationships with the customer were reinforced and all the travel plans worked out fine so I consider the trip to have been a success.

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