Hello Wisconsin! Part I: Arrival in Chicago

13782061_10154356613987421_5617404283400284602_nI’m typing this with my feet up in the big. ass. suite we were given at the Brew House Inn and Suites in Milwaukee. We booked three nights in this place using Chase Ultimate Rewards, with a little worry that it’s too out of the way for our plan to enjoy all that Milwaukee offers. So far, however, we are having a lovely beer-centric visit, and this hotel is a beer-lover’s destination in itself.

But let’s backtrack so I can give you a full trip report of journey to the (upper) center of the country, so far. Monday, I flew from Oakland to O’Hare, yet again arriving not just on time but a little early on the direct Spirit flight on that route. Say what you will about that ultra-budget airline, but they seem to have that run down pat. Hope I don’t have to eat my words. Anyway, not only was it the cheapest ticket to get us to the Midwest this summer, each person in my family had a $100 voucher from our New Year’s debacle, so it was a steal.

Erik picked me up at O’Hare, having deposited one kid at camp, one at Grandma and Grandpa’s, and one at Grammy and Grampy’s. We were supposed to drive downtown to the Westin Michigan Avenue (thank you SPG points for making this free instead of $400+). However, because this was a remote work day for Erik and his laptop was out of battery, instead of fighting traffic downtown, we pulled over at a Dunkin Donuts so he could work for an hour. I took the opportunity to walk across the street and make my very first visit to Superdawg.

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Yes. We randomly stopped at a Dunkin Donuts across the street from Superdawg on our way in from the airport, because we are having a trip of serendipity. I guess I did not get the true experience because I walked up instead of having them wait on me in my car, but I enjoyed standing around watching a local dude come in with his tiny daughter and asking her if she wanted a shake (“Yeah!) and what kind she wanted (“Pink!”) and if she was sure (“Yeah!”). I like a young lady who knows her mind. I ordered a Superdawg for myself and a Whoopskidawg (a polish) for my beloved, both with everything, and we ate them in the car in the DD parking lot. I found the SD tasty, but the poppy seed bun completely fell apart because of the wetness of all the toppings.

At the point, we realized that we were not going to make it downtown and back to the North Side again in time for the 6 p.m. Cubs game we had tickets to, but fortunately I had hatched a brilliant plan while scooping saucy chopped pickles into my mouth on soppy bits of bun and spilling some on my shirt. We would simply drive to the Cubs remote parking lot, which we knew of because it was near that other Chicago encased meats icon, now gone (alas!) Hot Doug. We GPS’d the shit out of that place, and we got there in no time. There were spots to spare and a yellow school bus almost completely full, just waiting for us to get on before it headed off to Wrigley. The people waving us into the lot and onto the bus were all as sweet as could be, with super Chicago accents, and they happily answered our questions about when we needed to get back to get our car (basically within an hour or so of the last pitch, or we’d find our asses at the tow lot).

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It was hot in that bus, but everyone was wearing their Cubbie Best and chatting happily, and it really wasn’t too long a ride, although for the last couple of blocks we kind of wished they’d let us get out and walk through the Wrigleyville crowds instead of crawling through them in the by-then sweaty bus.

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Ass the bus rounded Wrigley, we got a good look at the new Ron Santo statue. I love the pose they portrayed him in! We never “knew” him when he was a magnificent athlete instead of a disabled older man. It was a nice reminder.

We arrived outside Wrigley just in time to hear the National Anthem as we lined up at the Will Call window for our tickets. The older gent at the window was a charmer, and found our tickets in no time.