The Weather Gods blessed us on Sat Sept 26th as we left South Haven, MI and headed across Lake Michigan towards Chicago, IL. We had a pleasant crossing and I was overwhelmed as we saw the Chicago skyline appear over the horizon. I have never seen so many boats in one place at one time as we navigated through Munroe Harbour but the Captain with his nerves of steel was cool, calm and collected.
Joseph, the dockmaster at Munroe Harbour saw our bikes on board and offered us a spot on the wall for a very small difference in price over the mooring ball we had planned to use. There is nowhere to land a dingy so this was a great option for us. The harbour was pretty rolly and we didn't sleep too soundly a few nights but all and all I'm glad we stayed there. It was exciting to step off the boat and be steps from downtown Chicago.
The first morning we were awakened at 4:15 a.m. as the Chicago Triathalon got underway along Lakeshore Blvd. I was up at the crack of dawn filming the action right outside our door. We explored the beautiful city by foot, took a ride on the famous "EL" (Elevated Train) around the Loop through the impressive downtown office buildings and rode our bikes along the bicycle path along the lakeshore.
We biked to the Lincoln Park Zoo, the oldest in the U.S., founded in 1868 and one of the last free zoos. It was an invigorating ride against the stiff wind and when we came out of the zoo John's bike had a flat tire. Luckily we found the Chicago Bike Rental and Repair shop on the way back and had it repaired. The ride home with the wind was a breeze.
We toured the Marshall Fields store which is being switched to Macy's this year and I filmed the largest Tiffany glass mosaic dome in the U.S. We strolled along the Navy Pier and visited the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows.
We shopped at the Chicgo Green City Market and enjoyed the many beautiful parks and architectural wonders that the city has to offer.
We were very thankful to be tied securely to shore when the weather turned windy and rainy and several boats that broke free from their mooring balls, one of which ended up on the rocks and was towed by the Police Boats to the dock next to us.
We joined the American Great Loop Cruiser's Association while in Chicago and started getting several emails each day from other loopers. It was a great source of information and way to meet people. We met Mary and Dennis from Mount Forest, Ontario on "Christine Marie", which was registered out of Midland just like our Diamond Lil. They just happened to be staying at the DuSable Marina right beside Munroe Harbour and invited us to dinner on their boat. We had a lovely dinner and a great time sharing boating stories.
After a week in "The Windy City", aptly named, we were looking forward to heading into the Chicago River as it winds through the downtown on our next leg of the trip into the Inland Waterway.