Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Chicago, The Windy City

on March 20, 2013

Once upon a time, a long time ago, we had the opportunity to go to the Observation Deck of one of theTwin Towers World Trade Centers, in New York City (will eventually be telling about that trip, too).  Though I always forget which of the Twin Towers we were in, Wikipedia confirms that the South Tower, Tower 2, is the one with the outdoor and indoor observation deck.  So there! Mystery solved!!

Because of winds, we weren’t allowed to go to the outdoor observation deck (1,362 ft (415 m) high), so we went to the indoor deck ( 1,310 ft (400 m) high).  It was still amazing – the windows were arranged so that you could look down to the street below, and see people coming into the building.  AMAZING!

I mean – it’s REALLY HIGH! but, it turns out – I’m not afraid of heights.  I AM afraid of falling… but that doesn’t apply here, since I was safely behind the window.Sears Tower

ANYway – once the Twin Towers ~ uh ~ came down… I was on a mission to go up to the Observation Deck of the Sears Tower, as soon as possible!  In fact, from what I remember, it was part of the reason we chose this particular road trip route. (As well as the fact that, we’d have been in 14 new States and Provinces by the end of the trip.)

The Sears Tower is 1,450 feet (440 m) at the rooftop, and the observation deck (the Skydeck) is 1,353 feet (412 meters) tall.  It was the Tallest Building in the World for 25 years, and still is on the top 10 list for Free-standing buildings.

Ground levelThe Sears Tower (which is now called The Willis Tower) is SO TALL, that I ended up with temporary vertigo.  (Does it qualify as vertigo if you are looking up, instead of looking down?) I was fine while looking down, no problem.  But, I tried to take a picture standing right below it, looking straight up, and almost fainted. I thought maybe if I laid on the ground and took the picture, instead of standing, that’d help, but no. Completely nauseated.  (I did take that same picture, beneath and between the Twin Towers once upon a time…)  Peter had to take this one.. Those extra 100 feet did me in.

The tallest building in the world (at the moment), in all categories, is Burj Khalifa, in Dubai.  It’s 2,722 feet (829.8 meters) tall.  THAT gives me vertigo just typing it!!

Burj Khalifa has the world’s SECOND highest outdoor observation deck – at 1,483 feet (452 meters)…  THE HIGHEST outdoor observation deck is at the Canton Tower, in Guangdong, China, at 1,476-1509 feet (450-460 meters) tall.

ST3 ST 3

We didn’t stay at the Observation deck very long (there’s a limit on how many people can be up there at a time) and soon found ourselves back on the ground.

We were only passing through Chicago, so we chose a few things we thought were “must see’s” and ended up at Union Station. (I know, I know – all the Chicago experts could give me a HUGE list (and please do – it seems like we are always “just passing through”, but I obviously need to plan a trip where Chicago is the destination.)

Completed in 1925, Chicago Union Station is “the only example in the United States of a “double-stub”Union Station station”.  (“Double-stub” means “no pass-through”).  This Station has 24 tracks coming from 2 directions, and they don’t continue under or through the station.

Union Station is more than just a train station, though (I didn’t realize that while we were there…)  Its Grand Hall (which can  be reserved/rented for special events) is “considered to be one of the greatest indoor spaces in the United States”, with its 18 Corinthian columns, pink marble floors, and barrel vaulted atrium ceiling.

The American Planning Association (APA) designated Union Station one of the Top 10 Great Public Spaces in 2012.  Wikipedia explains that these Spaces “that promote social activity and community cohesiveness” and are “safe and inviting, well-maintained, and attractive, both visually and in functionality. In addition, local culture and history are reflected within the space.”

Field Museum Speaking of culture and history, our next stop was The Field Museum.   Since the movie, “The Ghost and the Darkness”  scared me 1/2 to death (on my Top 5 scariest movies), I was excited to go to the Museum, where the actual Tsavo lions are on display.

The lions stalked and killed many, many peopleGhost and the Darkness (construction workers building a bridge in Tsavo) before Lt. Col John Henry Patterson ended their terrifying rampage, in December 1898.  (Patterson wrote “Man-Eaters of Tsavo”, which I bought at the Field Museum, which was later used in the making of the Movie.  In it, Patterson estimated that the lions ate around 135, but after examination and scientific studies, etc,  “they” estimate the amount to be much less… “much less”??  Still too many!)

SueAlso, at the Museum, is Sue – “the largest, best-preserved, and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex ever found,” found in the Black Hills, in South Dakota.  Sue is 42 feet (12.8 meters) long, 13 feet (4 meters) tall at the hip, has 58 teeth and her skull ways 600 pounds (272 kg)!!  (The skull attached to the skeleton is a replica, because the bones cannot support the weight of her real skull.)

Across the street from The Field Museum is Soldier Field, Home of the Chicago Bears.

THAT would’ve been a good roadside attraction thing to do! (going to an NFL game) However, we were there in summer and the Football season hadn’t started yet.
StadiumSoldier Field and Daisy Deux

Time to go anyway – on our way to Michigan to visit Richard and Shannan. (This, actually, was our first time to Michigan.)

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One response to “Chicago, The Windy City

  1. Shannan says:

    I was dizzy looking at the pictures.

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