Lists Everywhere …

I’ve become not a maker of lists, but a collector of them. There’s one on my refrigerator from the Santa Clara Water District with things to do in my area. And today, I took several lists from the Silicon Valley Business Journal:

  • Top 25 Museums by 2011 attendance
  • Top 25 Performing Arts Organizations by 2011 operating budget
  • Top 25 Wineries by cases produced.

Now to start checking some fun off the lists.

One Last Museum and Home

I’m writing today from the comfort of my own home. I didn’t realize how much I missed my own pillow, bed and even my spot on the couch. Oh, by the way, the DVR still is the most amazing invention EVER. I missed so much television while I was gone, and now I can sit down and catch up. I think it might take me three days.

OK, back to the vacation. Yesterday was our last day in Washington, DC. We flew home via Washington’s Dulles airport, and that meant a trip out to the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. I have never seen so many airplanes in one place before. There were airplanes hanging from the ceiling and on the floor. There were large ones like the Concorde on the floor of the hangar with smaller planes underneath the wings.

Planes, planes and more planes.

The Air France Concorde with a FedEx plane underneath it. And another in the foreground.

We even had the opportunity to view the Space Shuttle Enterprise. All I can say is that it is HUGE! It seems small when you see it on TV, but it’s ginormous. It was definitely the highlight of my visit to the museum.

Space Shuttle Enterprise with some satellites above it.

Another angle on the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

We had a wonderful cross-country road trip extravaganza vacation. It was like nothing either of us has ever done before. And we can’t believe that we covered so much ground and saw so many things. We had the amazing opportunity to see the following:

  • Seattle, WA
  • Missoula, MT
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Jackson, WY
  • Cody, WY
  • Rapid City, SD
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Washington, DC

An Artistic Day

The Art Institute of Chicago is a truly wondrous experience. Every time you turn around a corner a new wonder from the art world accosts the senses. We saw everything from Monet’s famous Water Lilies to Marc Chagall’s America Windows. Did you know that the Art Institute of Chicago installed the trading room of the Chicago Stock Exchange INSIDE the museum?

Water Lilies - Claude Monet

 

The third of Marc Chagall's America Windows.

 

A little of Pablo Picasso's cubism.

After the museum, we walked in the rain to the Hancock Building and took the ride to the top to see the city. And, we ended the day with a beer at Murphy’s Bleachers across from Wrigley Field.

A view from the Hancock Building Sky Walk.

Wrigley Field - home of the Chicago Cubs.

There really aren’t words for how beautiful today was. Tomorrow, we drive to Cleveland.

I Heart Chicago!

Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex. I think I captured the movie logo, no?

We finally made it to Chicago this afternoon. The drive from Des Moines, IA proved to be a fairly quick one in comparison to yesterday. Our first stop was a Chicago Style hot dog in Museum Park just outside of the Field Museum. Then, we were treated to the exhibits of the museum.

We saw “Sue,” the world’s most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. More than 90 percent of this skeleton is real dinosaur bones. She totally reminds me of the Jurassic Park logo from the movies.

Also at the Field Museum are the Tsavo Lions. These ferocious creatures ravaged the workers of the African train system by killing more than 140 workers before they met their own demise. To get to the exhibit, we had to walk through the Asia Mammals exhibit. What a creepy experience! The hall is dark except for the light coming from the exhibits, and all the animals are arranged so that they stare out at you. When we finished at the Field Museum we went for a LONG walk. Here’s the view from the museum.

You can see Lake Michigan out beyond the trees.

It was a glorious day for a walk, and walk we did. I think about 3 miles all said and done. We walked up Lake Shore through Grant Park to see the Buckingham Fountain. Many of you will recognize it from the opening credits of “Married with Children.” In the 15 minutes or so we were there, I counted four wedding parties and one quinceañera taking photos.

David at the Buckingham Fountain.

Because it was such a wonderful day to be outside, we continued walking North and eventually came to Millennium Park. Here, we saw an amazing fountain that looks like monoliths called the Crown Fountain. And, the most fun piece of art in the park is the Cloud Gate. It’s so shiny that everything is reflected in it. My favorite photo of the day:

It's me reflected in the Cloud Gate.

Tomorrow, we’re staying in Chicago and will do some more exploring of the city. Stay tuned!