Windy Chicago--they're not kidding!

At Dunes State Park

10-20 foot waves on Lake Michigan
Oct. 6, 2011    Winds were blowing 25-35 with gusts at 55 mph as I tried to stand along the beach at Indiana Dunes as Alan snapped a picture.  You cannot see the sand that was blasting us like little needles or perhaps even the shake in the camera as Alan tried to hold the camera steady.  We could really appreciate the folks from the Weather Channel as they forecast in the middle of hurricane winds.  For two days the winds were combined with rain and cold, making for a less than perfect time for visiting the 1530-acre Indiana Dunes State Park.  (The 15,000-acres Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore surrounds the State Park.)  Eventually the winds did slow down to a more manageable rate and we were able to take a few short hikes in the park.   We decided the trails ranked as moderate or rugged were a little more than we wanted to take on, after huffing and puffing to get over and back on the “easy” trails.  

Dunes overtaking the trees
The dunes are considered to be “living” because they move at a rate of about 1½ feet a year.  Slowly engulfing everything in their tract, the dunes cover entire forest areas as they move forward, leaving “tree graveyards” in their wake. 

Once the winds subsided further and the temperature climbed a bit, we ventured into Chicago.  Our campsite in the state park was ideally situated within one mile of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transport Line.  In other words, there was a train going directly into Chicago almost from our campsite.  Catching the 9 A. M. train, we arrived with plenty of time to walk to the Art Institute of Chicago before their opening and still get a coffee for Alan. 

Art Institute of Chicago
The extensive museum had us captivated from the moment we walked in the door.  As usual, we rented audio guides to help us appreciate the history behind the ancient art and to help us understand the artists’ thoughts behind their works of art.  We wound up spending five hours walking through the museum and gave up when fatigue was making us addle brained.  As exciting as the displays were, we could not look at another exhibit. Extensive Monet and Van Goghs’ were the highlight, but they also had numerous pieces by Picasso, Matisse, Seurat, and O’Keefe. Alan’s favorite was Nighthawks by Edward Hopper:,
mine was the Two Sister’s by Pierre-Auguste Renoir:

Cloud Gate at Millennium Park
Next door to the museum is a relative newcomer to Chicago, Millennium Park.  This beautiful park took over an area of the city that was formerly covered with run down parking lots and train tracks.  Located near the Lake Michigan shoreline, Millennium is the home of the only municipally funded classical music series at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.  The Pavilion is one of four major artistic highlights in the park.  As one of the sights, we didn’t want to miss in the city we walked around for quite awhile before wandering on to the waterfront.

Navy Pier was intended as our final site for the day but daylight and exhaustion won out and we headed back for the train station.  We left just enough time for a cocktail before boarding the train back to the campsite.  Arriving back at to the RV around 9 P.M., we bemoaned the fact that we just are not as young as we used to be. 
Chicago View from the Waterfront
Chicago Waterfront

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