Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Beautiful Day to go Sailing

Have you ever heard of "Groupon"? Where you sign up (it's free) and you get coupons and discounts to activities and services near your area? Well, I signed up (while we were in the Chicagoland area!) and bought two tickets at $15 a pop (normally $30 each) to ride the Tall Ship Windy. She docks at Navy Pier in downtown Chicago.

We kept postponing the trip due to either weather or my back/hip issues, but FINALLY all was right with the world, the planets were all aligned, etc, and we went last week.

Since our campground is really in the boondocks, we had to DRIVE 20 miles to the nearest Metra train station. It took us just about AN HOUR due to construction and traffic and we made it with about two minutes two spare. I just about caught my breath when we heard the whistle of the approaching train.

One hour 45 minutes later (I TOLD you we were in the boondocks!) we arrived at Ogilvie Station in Chicago. A short bus ride later and we were at Navy Pier.

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day; sunny, warm with temperatures in the low 80's, and a slight breeze. Chicago public schools were back in session and since we were there on a weekday, there was hardly anyone around.

When Navy Pier first opened, there was only one or two ships available for touring. Things have changed immensely. Now ships were lined up all along the pier. We had to walk about 3/4's the way down before we saw the tall masts of Windy.

Before boarding the ship, we were given general safety instructions. Then we were told that there would be three sections on the ship: if we sat by the stern (back) we would heard about the history of the architecture of Chicago; the people in the middle of the boat would hear pirate stories; and the aft (front) would not have to hear anything. We opted for the architectural stories.

I was a little nervous because, you may remember, I am afraid of water. I was hoping that it wouldn't be a rough ride and I'd be puking over the side of the ship. I ran down to use the "head" as they call it on a ship. Here's the bartender at the ready, although it was only 10:30 am! I guess it's 5 o'clock SOMEWHERE, right?

Here is our guide. I got a kick out of his belt buckle!

He offered to take a photo of me. Not the greatest one of me with the wind blowing my hair, but I love the background with the Chicago skyline.

You may wonder if I was flying solo. Uh, no. Unbeknownst to me (while I was in the bathroom!), Jim volunteered to hoist the sails! He was in his glory! (Jim in his hat and suspenders, as usual!)

Sails catching the wind

Mural on the ship
Yikes! Our crazy guide hanging on the ropes while telling us a story!
O'Captain(s), my Captain(s)

Some of the views from the ship.

End of Navy Pier
Navy Pier from the ship

Another tour boat passing by
Tallest building on the right - the new Trump Tower

It hardly seems worth it to take this fast boat out on the water with such few passengers!

This is a close-up as we are approaching the pier. That tall black structure with the white trim is the John Hancock building. You can see the 150-foot Ferris wheel. Tickets are $6 to ride. You only go around once, but the ride takes 7 minutes! There are 40 gondolas that hold up to 6 people each. The views are spectacular of the Chicago Skyline and Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, we didn't take a ride this day, as we have done so a couple times before.

More sights from Chicago to come! Stay tuned!


Furry Bottoms said...

I love the color of the water! Puget Sound (where I am) is so dark and black!

Brian Miller said...

what a cool ride...and on talk like a pirate day? (yestrday?) aaargh! been a while since i went stuff pat...

David Allen Waters said...

OMG I am so gonna do this ride, it looks amazing...great pics :)

Bonnie said...

Fabulous pics Pat! What a great way to spend a day - especially a beautiful day like that. Haven't been to Chicago in 25 years. Guess it's time to go again!!

Mama Zen said...

Beautiful pictures! I've been to Chicago several times, but I've never seen anything but the airport!

WhisperingWriter said...


I love how blue the water is.

Rita said...

Wow! That was a long and complicated trip there, but it sure looks like it was worth it. And what a beautiful blue-sky day! And you got a deal on it, too. Nice! :)

Gail said...

I love traveling with you and Jim. Thanks, y'all show me many places I will never see. It feels like I'm there when I can see through your eyes.

PS...that rope climber wasn't too rough on the eyes, either.

Eva Gallant said...

How fun and interesting, too!

forgetmenot said...

What fun!!! Looks like you had a great time and you took some great shots of the Chicago skyline. Mickie :)

Valerie said...

The views from the ship are fantastic... sounds like a great day out, Pat.

Lynda said...

It's obvious your hubby loved getting to participate. You got some great pics so that tells me you weren't sick - - at least most of the trip. Thanks for taking us on another wonderful adventure.
P.S. I like the color of your hair.