On the Road to Chicago: Part II

A can of applesauce I went at with a pair of scissors and a spoon and a beautiful butterfly sculpture outside of the Michigan City library.

We woke up feeling rested around 6 or 7. We packed up and drove towards the dunes. It was still dark so we couldn’t see the lake or the dunes, but we did see two adorable raccoons and a bunch of deer. We headed back to town and looked for a diner with no luck. So we headed back to the dunes and, with the sun up, were awed by the incredible blueness of Lake Michigan. I had to reeducate Casper in the fact that rivers and lakes do not have tides, only oceans, seas and Lake Superior.

We pulled over to the side of the road just to sit and look at the lake and, though we felt alert, I quickly fell asleep on Casper’s lap. A state patrol woman woke us both up about half an hour later, telling us we couldn’t sleep there. We apologized, grumbling to ourselves that we had seen maybe one car since parking there so it wasn’t like we were blocking traffic, and then got back on the road.

Now on the 12, we again returned to Michigan City, finding the actual city this time instead of just abandoned factories and the terrifying nuclear thingy (the first one either one of us had ever seen in person). We found a pretty library and spent several hours online, sharing Casper’s laptop. I cut up old magazines, tried in vane to walk to a grocery store, and ended up eating a stale-bagel-with-peanut-butter-and-a-carrot lunch in the car while Casper read news online.

When it was my turn, Casper read Atlantic Monthly, tried to drive to a grocery store (also in vane) and created some sort of lunch out in the car. I looked for couch surfing hosts, when the Chicago Fellowship of Reconciliation was meeting, work for us while in town, and lots of other things to do and see in Chicago for free.

Lake Michigan!

Around 4pm, we departed, first finding a grocery store at long last. We snacked on oranges and Reese’s and Casper drove us all the way into Chicago. Our first stop was the FOR meeting. After some struggle, mostly caused by wanting to stay off of freeways, we finally found the place. We made sure Salem was fed and watered and then went inside to meet the chapter and watch that night’s feature: William Stafford. This was Casper’s first experience with FOR and I was pleased to see he enjoyed the lack of pretentiousness that keeps me coming back to the group. The meeting was only about seven people, all at least 40 years older than me, and we ended up grabbing our speakers from the car to help out.

Before and after the movie, we all sat around in comfy chairs and discussed the Chicago chapter’s actions, my experience and news from the Western Washington FOR chapters and Osama Bin Laden’s capture. I continue to feel completely safe, at home, appreciated and inspired by every FOR event I attend.

Earlier in the day, in Michigan City, I had contacted several Chicago couch surfing hosts and one responded nearly immediately. Her name is Abby and it is from her home that I type this. Even though we have yet to be verified on the couch surfing website, she invited us into her studio home right near the lake. We arrived at her home around 10pm. She gave us a parking pass for her street and we immediately felt at home. We have many shared interests and the evening was spent trading stories and discussing books.

Salem enjoying Abby's second floor windows.

Abby has two cats so Salem slept in the car, but today we put her cats in the bathroom so Salem could have some indoor time. He has appreciated it greatly.

As I type, Abby is at work, Casper is asleep on the futon couch where we slept last night, and Salem is curled up on my sweater in an arm chair. Soon, we plan to head a few blocks south to the Chicago Contemporary Art Museum because it’s a free day! They have a Jim Hutt exhibit at the moment and while I’d never heard of him before, what I’ve seen of his work on the museum website blows my mind.

We have so many plans for here in Chicago and we’re learning to relax into the unplanned length of our trip. We could leave tomorrow or we could stay here for weeks. There is nothing holding us here, nothing pushing us away. We have no deadlines, no pressures, no errands that need done ASAP. We can sleep when we are tired, eat when we are hungry, cry when we need to, walk when we want to, explore whenever we feel the itch.


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