Our 2021 Road Trip #43: Black Hawk Up

Black Hawk more zoom!

There he stood up, across, along, on, by, at, above and beyond the river. Not pictured: the river.

One last state. One last stop. One last attraction. One last park. One last forest. One last cliff. One last statue. All the plurals throughout this series come down to these.

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Our 2021 Road Trip #41: Sock Monkeyshines

no evil sock monkeys!

Sock monkeys performing the classic “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” sketch like all your favorite politicians.

Show of hands, who’d be excited to visit a sock museum? Complete lack of hands, right? But what if the socks were turned into sock monkeys?

Some things are all about presentation.

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Our 2021 Road Trip #2: Sandburg History Theatre

Carl Sandburg bust.

Kudos to the pedestal maker who saved me the trouble of researching the sculptor credits on this Carl Sandburg bust.

Sometimes we stop at historic sites that celebrate figures or events with which we’re well acquainted. Anne the history buff is far more versed and versatile than me in this regard. Oftentimes she’s read multiple books on a given subject and offers her own supplemental trivia as we walk along, especially where Americana is involved. Also oftentimes, I’m reminded of that episode of The Office where Ryan Howard, living avatar of skin-deep youth culture, anguished over premature reports of the death of Smokey Robinson and scolded others for not grieving as intensely as he, only to reveal he only knows one Smokey Robinson song. Sometimes in our travels, I can be kind of a Ryan.

At our next attraction, we were both the Ryan. We were faintly familiar with the subject, and “faintly” is an overstatement, but we were curious to see what was to be seen. Bonus trivia for the skin-deep youths out there: our subject was a strident socialist. It’s not the source of his renown, but it’s something that a fair number of the internet’s Ryans can latch onto and add to their idol collection.

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Our 2021 Road Trip #1: Return of the Roadside

Danville Illinois celebrity mural.

An all-star cast welcomes you to our latest travel chronicle!

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. We were each raised in a household that couldn’t afford annual out-of-state family vacations. We’re geeks more accustomed to vicarious life through the windows of pop culture than through in-person adventures. Eventually we tired of some of our self-imposed limitations and figured out how to leave the comforts of home for the chance to see creative, exciting, breathtaking, outlandish, and/or bewildering new sights in states beyond our own, from the horizons of nature to the limits of imagination, from history’s greatest hits to humanity’s deepest regrets and the sometimes quotidian, sometimes quirky stopovers in between.

We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.

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One Friday Morning at Chicago’s Nutella Cafe

Nutella waffle!

Nutella waffle with strawberries and fresh hazelnuts. Oh, yeah.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife Anne and I attended our second Chicago entertainment convention of 2019, a scant three weeks after the last one. Before and after each day’s festivities we found a few opportunities to see more of the Windy City that we hadn’t checked out on our last several trips. One restaurant in particular proved exactly the breakfast wonderland we needed.

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Another C2E2 Epilogue Starring Chicago

Do-Rite Donuts!

Sunday morning breakfast at Do-Rite Donuts and Chicken. Clockwise from top left: cream cheese Danish, blueberry, cinnamon crumble, red velvet coconut, old-fashioned chocolate, and maple bacon glaze.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: Anne and I attended the tenth annual C2E2 entertainment convention a few miles from downtown Chicago. When time permitted before and after the show, once again we wandered the Windy City and took photos, preferably of places and things we didn’t already see on our last several Chicago comic cons. Y’all know me — any excuse for a travel photo gallery.

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The Chicago 2018 Birthday Weekend, Part 4 of 4: Food!

Spumoni!

Spumoni! Best dessert of the trip. Chocolate, pistachio, and whatever the other one was.


Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For Anne’s birthday celebration this year, we headed up to Chicago for yet another weekend — this time mostly to attend the inaugural Ace Comic Con Midwest at Navy Pier, and partly to see if downtown Chicago contained any sights we hadn’t already seen and/or shared. In past years we’ve shared pics of the Lake Michigan shoreline, the Magnificent Mile, and scenic Navy Pier, among other locales you can find with MCC’s “Chicago” tag alternating in between their frequent conventions…

…some of which include Chicago food samples. Our luck with finding decent meals varied throughout the weekend. Thumbs-up restaurants thankfully outnumbered the more perfunctory stops.

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The Chicago 2018 Birthday Weekend, Part 2 of 4: Gray Friday, Windy City

Buckingham Fountain!

I’m told Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain is pretty when the waters are working and beautiful when lit up at night. We got neither.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: for Anne’s birthday celebration this year, we headed up to Chicago for yet another weekend — this time mostly to attend the inaugural Ace Comic Con Midwest at Navy Pier, and partly to see if downtown Chicago contained any sights we hadn’t already seen and/or shared. In past years we’ve shared pics of the Lake Michigan shoreline, the Magnificent Mile, and scenic Navy Pier, among other locales you can find with MCC’s “Chicago” tag alternating in between their frequent conventions.

Sooner or later we expect to run out of reasons to keep exploring the Mile and the Loop again and again, but we did what we could with the hours allotted and the ugly autumn weather against us. Temperatures were in the 40s all day Friday and light rain turned the early afternoon into a bit of a bummer. We walked around for a few miles anyway to spend time with each other and to kill time before the con began at 4 p.m.

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A Moment of Uncool Remote Post-Convention Decompression Quality Time

RosemontGreetings from busy, action-packed Illinois! After several hours spent at Day 1 of C2E2, my wife and I are glad to relax at last, off our feet and without our backpacks burdening us any longer. So far we’ve had a delightful experience, met several comics creators and a few Star Wars actors, acquired a few freebies and several quality items, and made plans for Day 2 on Saturday. Until then we’re enjoying the quiet ambiance of a particular hotel that’s treated us well before, up in the scenic village of Rosemont, down the street from the Donald E, Stephens Convention Center.

Careful readers, and anyone with a passing knowledge of the Chicago geek convention scene, may notice a discrepancy: C2E2 is being held at McCormick Place, a different convention center in a different Chicagoland section altogether, nearly twenty miles away. According to conventional convention wisdom, we’re doing it wrong.

We don’t mind. We have our reasons:

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Chicago Photo Tribute #4: a Few of Our Favorite Little Places

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

[This coming] weekend is the fourth annual Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (that “C2E2″ thing I won’t shut up about) at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, which my wife and I will be attending for our third time. As a tribute to this fascinating city, and an intro to C2E2 newcomers to provide ideas of what else Chicago has to offer while they’re in town, a few of this week’s posts will be dedicated to out experiences in the Windy City when we’re not gleefully clustered indoors with thousands of other comics and sci-fi fans.

Part One was worm’s-eye views of the skyscrapers and other upward fixtures about town. Part Two looked at Chicago from other angles. Part Three was our art appreciation festival. Today in Part Four: some of the local businesses that caught our attention and imaginations.

When you mention Chicago to anyone who’s ever been there, any restaurant discussion inevitably turns to deep-dish pizza. Chicago has no shortage of pizza places, and I’m sure everyone has their favorite. One of their largest, most well-known chains is Giordano’s. I’d trade half the nationwide pizza franchises in Indianapolis for a Giordano’s near us.

Pictured below: a pie of my own choosing, topped with sausage and anchovies. I’m the only person I know who stomachs anchovies, steeped as they are in salty richness.

Giordano's Pizza, anchovies, Chicago

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