Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Higher Ground

Yes, third blog post of the year. I’m on fire!

So this past weekend was packed with the fun. Saturday found the family hopping on a Blue Line CTA train into The City. But this wasn’t just any Blue Line train. It was the WALL-E train. Oh yeah. A big treat for the bambinas on their first ever CTA train experience having advertisements for the new Pixar movie plastered on the outside, inside, and even ceiling of the train car. Pretty cool, especially since they are jonesing to see the movie.

Chicago was Chicago. We hopped off at Damen and wandered down Milwaukee through Wicker Park checking in on old haunts from days gone by. Myopic Books moved to a location closer to the 6-way intersection and had a lot of people just standing around drinking coffee. Still felt like the old Myopic back in the cramped stacks of used books. After getting all the way to Division, we cut east to see if Hillary’s Urban Eatery was open for lunch. Oh No. HUE is no longer in business! Tragedy! That place was a great little restaurant. Oh well. We’ll turn around back to the newer restaurants on Division.

Finally settled on a place at Honore called Moonshine. It had a patio and a breakfast/lunch menu. Perfect. The breakfast burrito plate was incredible. About a pound and a half burrito stuffed with sausage, potatoes, and eggs. The black beans with a small amount of cheddar jack cheese on top were fantastic. And the kids rocked a fruit plate that was much bigger than a typical side of fruit. Preferable to another fast food jaunt, for sure. Plus there was a couple with a pug dog next to us and the kids had a good time going to pet him. So, in sum, Moonshine = Goodness.

Further wanderings into our old neighborhood on Chicago found a block transformed from when we moved away 6 years ago. The old abandoned car lot at Chicago/Wolcott is now a fancy storefront with a Starbucks and condos above. Same for the opposite side of the street. No more abandoned cleaners. New building going on everywhere, it seemed. The old Edmar just past Damen is now an upscale Dominick’s. It probably doesn’t have that old Edmar funky smell, though.

A quick bus ride on the #66 (hey, look, bus stop shelters!) got us to Michigan Avenue, where we meandered down until we finally got to Grant Park for the day’s supposed highlight: Stevie Wonder at Petrillo Music Shell. We were so far back that we could barely hear the music and we took off about an hour into the performance. Oh well. Maybe someday when we can get closer. At least we did hear “Higher Ground.”

Sunday also included some higher ground, but in a more physical sense. aham and I headed up to Wisconsin to rock the Double or Nothing metric route out of Cross Plains (6400 feet of climbing in 63 miles of riding… that’s a lot of climbing!). After warming up into the wind for about 4 miles, the hills hit. Big hills. Steep hills. Roads like Sutcliffe, Zweitler, Pinnacle, Lakeview, Mounds Park, Braun, Garfoot, Observatory, and Barlow are a big challenge for flatlanders like us, but we made it up all of them. Thankfully, the ominous clouds that hovered overhead all day never turned to rain. The climbs would have been miserable or impossible in a downpour.

The best part was aham wondering most of the ride why his Uphill Grind jersey was different than the one I had on. That tight cut through the waist. That little bit of extra room through the top. That lack of elastic at the bottom allowing the jersey to flare out oh so slightly. Upon returning for post ride caffeine, aham discovers the label his jersey says:

Hilarity ensues in coffee shop.

No matter, though. He’s a good sport and I’m glad he offered to drive up there. It’s much easier to climb when there’s someone else suffering, too. And he had Arby's on the way home. CyLowe is a bad influence on people.

Enough for now.

1 comment:

aham23 said...

i still think i looked totally hawt in that jersey! later.