The Chicago River Experience …

Well I think you’ve heard enough by now about how many times I’ve taken the Architectural River Tour, one because it really is a “must see” when you’re here, and two because I am really enjoying learning about the history and the architecture (not that I remember it!) … so … you go, I go!  But this time, it was a little bit different!  I happened to be looking at one of my “get a great deal” sites recently when I saw a deal for “Rent Your Own Boat on the Chicago River.”  Hmmm, interesting …

So here’s the deal.  You purchase a groupon and the company rents you an electric boat that you can drive yourself along the same branches of the river as the tours.  Sounds easy and fun, right?  Ok then, let’s do this.  And just so you know, this wasn’t our first time renting and driving a boat.  We’ve done it plenty of other times on the lake, so we do know what we’re doing.  The one unfortunate thing about this “Chicago River” is that it is not clean by any standards.  Well, let me re-phrase that.  It’s clean-er than what it used to be.  Without totally grossing you out, this river (back in the old days) was the dump … and by dump … I mean everything.  It wasn’t until the 1960’s when they made mandatory “no pollute” laws that the river actually started getting cleaned.  So, from the stories I’ve heard, now the river is “really” clean!  It doesn’t smell bad or anything, and there’s lots of boats and kayaks, so it must be “ok” … it’s just not what we would picture as a flowing, clear, fast-moving river in any of our California mountains.  Get it?  Ok, so we’re all excited for our own little architectural tour, with me as our “tour guide”!

The two captains charting our course!

The two captains charting our course!

It all started out great.  It was a little over-cast that day but it wasn’t freezing or anything, just cloudy.  Or maybe … that was a sign …

Off we go down the south branch because we want to get to the part of the river that is right behind our apartment.  But first, we sail leisurely as we pass the famous bridges, the Lyric Opera House, old buildings, new buildings …

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Lyric Opera House

Lyric Opera House

A new apartment complex being built on the river side.

A new apartment complex being built on the river side.

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then the … wait, what was that noise?  Glub, glub … glub … engine dies!  What?  We just started this tour!  What happened?  Well, apparently there was a plastic garbage bag floating down the river and we went right over it and it went right into the thing that makes the engine work.  We’re stuck!  Yes, we are!!  So the boat floats to the river wall and we grab on so that we won’t go anywhere!  We actually had to call the boat company, who called the Chicago P.D., who called their “River Police” to “save” us!

The Chicago River Police to the rescue!!

The Chicago River Police to the rescue!!

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It was pretty funny, after all was said and done and I guess my job as a tour guide has officially ended!  I never said I would be a river garbage watcher!  haha!!  Thanks to the “Boys in Blue” we were safe and sound and the engine roared back to life once again!  Let’s get back to the docks before this things swallows something else!

Alright, enough of that … next … the boys had a date with a field …

Wrigley Field, that is!

Wrigley Field, that is!

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His first Cubs game!

His first Cubs game!

and the girls wanted to walk the “Magnificent Mile” for a little window shopping and “planter gazing.”  I’m not sure if I told you that the city of Chicago does these huge sidewalk planter boxes and hanging pots all over the city.  It’s part of their “beautification” along the streets and river and basically everywhere.  For those of you who were here this summer visiting, we all “oohhhed” and “awwwed” over all the planters.  Since I never posted any of those, I’ll give you a glimpse of what we saw today.

This is a planter box on the sidewalk.

This is a planter box on the sidewalk.

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See the cars … you can tell how BIG the planters are!

These are no longer “summer” boxes, but not quite fall … I’ll keep you posted.

We ended the night with a stop at Lagunitas Brewery.  We missed the “official” tour of the brewery but did our own tastings and enjoyed our time together.

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Ok gang, off to bed … the rest of you, I’ll talk to you tomorrow!

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