We woke up in Sarnia, Ontario in a beautiful WalMart parking lot, about 15 minutes from the United States border. When we crossed the border we, yet again, got interrogated, but it was so busy I don't think they really cared about us that much. We were interested in driving through Detroit originally, but we ended up chickening out--that place is no joke. Instead we decided to go to Ann Arbor, where the University of Michigan is, but on the way we passed a giant farmers market and had to stop. It was amazing! There was an outdoor pavilion with a handful of produce stands, and an indoor section with some vendors and a cafe. We got 2 big grocery bags filled with potatoes, garlic, shallots, a cactus fruit, an avocado, a peach and a plum, green onions and a sweet potato for 14 dollars! Across the street was a big thrift store so we also went in there to look around, but came out empty handed..not like we have anywhere to put anything anyway. My friend Mary suggested we go to a Cider Mill, so we found one called Spicer's about a half hour away! It was a cute little orchard with a small petting zoo and homemade cider donuts, so naturally we got pumpkin cinnamon donuts and split a hot apple cider. We walked around a little in their store and around the orchard and went on our way to Ann Arbor.
When we got there, we parked in the middle of campus and went to a free little history museum they have. It was pretty well done, with a lot of dinosaur bones and prehistoric history. We walked into the town to find a sticker for our roof box, and ended up getting a University of Michigan one, since the whole town revolves around the school--oh, and John got his haircut! We went back on campus and noticed a lot of kids in suits and pencil skirts and followed them into one of the buildings--I think it was their student union. The whole place was filled with college kids in these bogus business suits, and John and I walking among them in our boots and flannel shirts. I think it was a job fair..we got out of there quickly--it felt super weird to be there. From what I understand, University of Michigan has a good law program. We went into the library and felt even more out of place--it was beautiful and looked like something out of Harry Potter, with long tables in perfect lines running the length of the room. There were students at every seat, perfectly, quietly studying while we clunked down the isle to take pictures. Sorry guys.. We went back to the van and drove a little while to Portage, MI where we made dinner and went to Tim Horton's afterwards to spend some time editing pictures and charging our devices. That night we slept at WalMart!
The next morning we drove about a half hour into Indiana to go to the RV Museum and Hall of Fame! It was much cooler than it sounds..they had the first camper ever made, from 1913, which was really just an old car with a bed in the back and a separate camp stove structure. They had a room with ridiculous $90,000 brand new RV's that were literally like apartments with flat screen TV's that came out of the fireplace, ceiling fans, and an island in the kitchen. There was another room with about 55 RV's ranging from 1913 to the late 80's, and a lot of them you could go inside. It was pretty cool to sit in old RV's that had all of the original furnishings and fabrics..its fascinating to sit in these giant apartments on wheels, and imagine the stories they'd tell if they could talk. (I'll include all of the photos from the museum at the end)
From the RV museum we drove a couple hours to Chicago to visit my cousin Katie at her college, North Park University. We found a prime (free) spot literally outside of her door, and she came out to meet us. She brought us inside and showed us her little (surprisingly clean!) open format apartment with a little kitchen, a living room and a shared bedroom. Katie took us on a tour of her school, and we went with her to get her mail because we knew Aunt Sue had sent her cookies! We spent a few hours talking with her and her friends Caytlyn and Mariah, until we decided to head into the heart of the city. We walked a few blocks to the L--we were on the Brown Line which is above ground, so it was cool to watch the sun set over the city. It was getting later so we couldn't do too much, but we went to the Bean, which I think is probably cooler at night anyway! The city lights reflecting off of the mirror surface of the Bean was pretty beautiful. We were getting hungry so we looked around for a place to get dinner, and after a little bit of wandering around we settled on an Asian Fusion place called Sunda. Katie's not much into trying new things, so we were excited to introduce her to some of our favorite foods. We decided to do what John and I always do and get a whole bunch of stuff and split it. We got edamame, Pad Thai, tuna stuffed avocado, and a spicy Thai chicken dish served inside of a coconut--all so good. We walked around a little after that, and then went back to Katie's apartment to eat cookies and hang out.
We got to sleep on the floor of her apartment (which was nice because we didn't have to worry about where to go), and the next morning John made everyone breakfast--chocolate chip/banana pancakes, home fries, eggs, toast and sausage. Katie, Mariah and Caytlyn came to show us around the city a little, and we started out our day at Shedd Aquarium! We found a secret general admission deal that was only 8 dollars and you still got to see a lot of the exhibits. The ticket let us have free range of the downstairs exhibits, which had different wings of fish and small reptiles, and a big center aquarium with turtles, small sharks and schools of fish swimming about. The Aquarium is located right on Lake Michigan and has a great view of the skyline, so we acted a bit like tourists and took selfies, and then headed towards the Buckingham Fountain--which ended up being turned off and closed. The walk there was nice though along the water. We ended up walking on the edge of town for a while, until we decided to go to Giordano’s to get some real Chicago-style pizza.
Before we headed back to the apartment, we took the L to Artimage Street which is a little more on the quaint side, with cute little boutiques and artisan shops. When we got back to their apartment, John spent some time making a wallet while I sang Disney songs with the girls while they did homework. The next morning we set out for Wisconsin, definitely feeling like we didn’t get a solid feel for Chicago, but happy to have spent some time with Katie and her friends!
And here are the photos from the RV Museum!