Wednesday, May 2, 2007

"It's A Good Day For Ducks!"

This is a long one since I've been busy this week at work and on vacation. This time, I went to Galena, Illinois in northwestern Illinois near the Iowa and Wisconsin border. Enjoy!

I had a work event at Navy Pier in the Crystal or Winter Garden or something. Whatever the name, it was very nice to hang out and get paid...

For those who don't know, the ferris wheel was invented in Chicago for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. It was two or three times the size of this one and the carts were about the size of a bus.

A view of Streeterville from Navy Pier

The Shakespeare Theatre at Navy Pier. A nice venue. Too bad its at Navy Pier...

Lakeshore Tower or Lakepoint Tower or something. Oprah and Sammy Sosa use to live here.

"It's a good day for ducks" as they bath in a puddle that formed in Humboldt Park

The Merchandise Mart (one of the largest buildings by square feet in the world) had the largest art show I've ever seen. We were there for several hours over two days and I think we only saw 1/8th of the art. IT WAS AMAZING! Especially when you can scam a VIP card!

How contemporary. Installation art.

I like the artwork. I wish the old man came with it...

I think I like it because it is red.

Okay. Imagine this stretching for several blocks in every direction on several floors and that was the art show. It blew my mind!

I wish I had a pet hyena(sp?)

A view of the South Branch of the Chicago River from the Merchandise Mart.

A view of the 333 Wacker Dr. Building from the Merchandise Mart. I didn't realized this when I took the picture, but that boat in the water is my boat from work. That boat is what gives me money to pay the rent and have a good time. Thanks boat!

With the VIP card, we got to ride in a new Audi to wherever we wanted for free. So, we did and went to meet Ronan (the Irishman) at Damen and Division. Annie is excited!

Now for the vacation. This is on the way to Galena. It's the first time I've left the Chicagoland metro area since X-mas. It looked like this as far as the eye can see. Middle America is beautiful.

Look at that!

Welcome to Galena, Illinois!

Here's Main Street and Perry Street.

Main Street and I forget. I think it's near the Galena Cafe, which has great diner food. I may have to go back for the homemade Snicker cake. I didn't get any, but I'm willing to bet I could eat the whole thing. I'm a fat kid...

Megan outside of the Galena Cafe at Main Street.

Here's the hotel we stayed at. Several notable people have stayed here like Abe Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, about every nothern Civil War general, and Ulysses S. Grant. One thing you learn about Galena is they LOVE Grant! He's from Galena and they remind you of that. They will give you change in $50 bills at every possible chance to advertise that fact...

A cross behind a nun-ery

Welcome to the City Hall/Police Department of Galena. It looks like an old west jail. I expect that they have two jail cells; one for the bank robber and the other for the friendly town drunk. The newspaper had a story about a 70-80 year old woman who had a shoplifter in her store. A teenager stole whiskey and the old woman chased her down and caught her and turned her into the police. Little did the teenager know that the old woman was a marathon runner (still) and fast as hell. Take that whipper-snapper.

Sometimes, a horse feels lonely...

Pickle or cactus? All cowboy!

Megan the lovely insect.

Main Street looking toward Diagonal Street.

MUSKEGON PEOPLE: Doesn't this remind you of Western Avenue across from the train depot/visitor center? You know, downtown can be a really cool place like Galena. There is nothing special about Galena except they have taken care of their city and Muskegon allowed it to become a shithole (one I love all the same). Just a thought...

Down at the old town square, I imagine Ulysses Grant sitting here drunk one day thinking, "I'm going to kill me some Confederates." The rest is history.

And, by "history" I mean they gave him a park...

And a statue for me to climb...

Here's me trying to hang out with Mr. Grant.

A view of downtown Galena.

Megan taking pictures of the downtown area.

"War of the Rebellion"

A farm girl on the prarie. How midwestern...

She's so happy!

This is Mrs. Grant (Ulysses S. Grant's wife). It seems most people think she looks like Mrs. Butterworth. I see it...

And, me and Mrs. Grant...

When Grant won the Civil War, they gave him this home.

A huge mansion near Grant's house!

Hilarious! What's with the momma duck having no wings? That one baby duck lost its mind!

The floodgate at the Main Street entrance. You had to pass through this gate to get into the city as if this were some ancient European village. I guess when the Mississippi River floods and the Galena River overflows, they have to close this to protect the city from drowning. I just like the idea of Galenians closing the gate and dumping hot oil on invaders...

Megan on the pedestrian bridge with Galena in the background.

The Belvadere (sp?) mansion.

This was the city's first waterworks.

Another cool old house.

The first brick building in Galena.

This was a cool building for some reason other than being pretty. Vinny's restaurant was in this building. It looked good. Too bad we couldn't figure out how to get in it to eat. VINNY!


Cool church.

The Galena Fire Department.

Turner Hall

I just like the door. What I don't like is the power lines. Dear Galena Power Company. Please put your ugly power lines underground so we don't have to look at them. Love, Mike

Old Galena High School. This is at the top of the big hill behind the city and has been turned into condos. If I lived here, my legs would be giant chicken legs from the climb up the hill everyday. That, or else I'd never leave because of the hill climb everyday.

The view from the Old Galena High School. That is the downtown way below behind the trees.

These are about half of the steps to the downtown area.

Cool old mansion.

Pretty view of downtown.

another cool house.

This is where I would live in the Gnome House. I would have to wear a red cone hat and tend my garden. A giant fox would be in the garage and I would use him as my transportation.

Ulysses S. Grant's house when he moved to Galena. He only paid $100 a year in rent! Mr Grant, you must be a great man. You are the only person I know that has found a good place with cheaper rent than me...

This was the Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor. It was pretty good and had a soda fountain and everything. Now, I don't want to disgrace this place, but something was wrong with the girl behind the counter. It is my belief she was a meth addict as she had scabby arms, no teeth, and not mentally there. I felt bad and entertained at the same time. What can I say, I am a horrible person...

This was our view from the Ramada! We went swimming in the pool and it was great! But, how many cheap hotels have you been to like this?

Well, on the way back to Chicago we detoured to Dixon, Illinois, the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. So, I had to have my picture taken with this man. The day this was taken just happened to be the day that excerpts from his diary were released.

I'm not freak dancing President Reagan. I'm climbing the statue. But, I wish it were freak dancing...

Reagan's boyhood home.

The Berlin Wall. Did the German's write on the Berlin Wall or was it CIA agents? HEY CIA! THE GERMANS WRITE IN GERMAN, NOT ENGLISH.

You know, Ronald Reagan and his ideals make sense to me now after seeing this car. Just like Dick Cheney made sense to me after seeing the shithole he came from (Cheyenne, Wyoming).

Nice billboard coming in from the Chicago suburbs.

This about sums up the vacation. Me with Mrs. Grant, Ulysses S. Grant, and Ronald Reagan.

Thanks for spending your entire afternoon seeing what I did last week. Love ya all.


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