Saturday, November 3, 2012

A View from the Edge - No Really!

A few weeks ago a couple of my friends and I went downtown to Chicago for a fun day. Here was the itinerary that my friend, Kim, emailed to me:

 9:20AM Be at my house (Soon after we will pick Patty up at her house)

 9:40 Drive to train station (find parking spot, pay for parking, buy train tickets, get coffee (if desired)

 10:04 Get on train

 11:00 Arrive Union Station

 11:05 Go to the Bathroom

 11:10 Walk a block to Willis Tower stepping over assorted bums on the way

 11:20 Buy tickets to Ledge - $17.50 ea. Up we go! Take a ton of pictures

 12:10 Walk to lunch at Elephant and Castle

 1:22 Take cab to Art Institute Hopefully we will get one that doesn't stink!

 1:30 Get to Art Institute $18.00 admission 1:35 Get all "artsy fartsy"

 4:00 approx. Get cab to train station. At that time the trains run about every 20 min.

Therese's first train ride!
Kim and myself - friends since the fourth grade! That's, um, let's just say too many years to count!

Arrive at Union Station - Chicago!

How to feel small - look up!

We found out that there was an HOUR wait to get up to the top of the Willis Tower (Sears Tower). I have a hard time calling it Willis Tower as I grew up calling it the SEARS Tower! We had to go through a security check like in an airport - remove coats, sweaters, etc, put all bags and clothing through the x-ray machine, and we walk through a metal detector. The lines moved fairly quick.

Of course, once we got past security there were more lines to endure. Here's a shot of the Skydeck elevators to take us to the top. (Elevators on either side)

Thankfully they didn't shove us in like cattle in the elevator - there was room to breathe. A video screen at the top of the elevator flashed every few seconds as to what floor we were passing.

I didn't time it myself, but I read that it takes 3 minutes, 30 seconds to reach the top. It didn't even seem that long.... Before I show you some embarrassing photos, let me give you some interesting facts about the building. Willis Tower  (still called the Sears Tower by many, including MOI) was the tallest building in the world, when it was completed in 1973. It held that record for 25 years! It IS the tallest building in the United States, AND the SEVENTH tallest standing structure in the WORLD. (Wikipedia) In 2009 the Skydeck was refurbished. The owners installed three glass-bottomed retractable balconies on the 103rd floor, that extend 4 feet out and and are 1,353 feet above Wacker Drive. 

photo from internet
We reached the Skydeck and immediately went to the balconies. Of course, there were lines. But not too bad. Finally it was our turn. The couple behind us was nice enough to take our photo.

Looking straight down

Free falling

Okay, have you wiped your tears away to go on and see the rest of the photos? Here are some of the views from the Sky Deck. The tall black building in the distance is the John Hancock. (remember I'm taking pictures through a dirty window!)

Many, many boats

More Chicago skyline

That domed building protruding out into Lake Michigan is the Adler Planetarium

This interesting looking building with the boats underneath is called "River City". Ah to be rich and famous! Or at least rich!

So! That's just part of our fun day! Next post will cover the Art Institute of Chicago. Stay tuned!


Brian Miller said...

good lord, you are giving me the heebie geebbies just looking at those pics....

Country Gal said...

Oh my that was a great post ! You gals are a hoot ! loved all the photos especially the last one Pat hang on tight lol ! Thanks for taking us along it was a blast ! Have a good day !

Lynda said...

I don't do heights! Just looking at your pics made my stomach do that funny thing it does when I am up high. That's pretty neat about the information in the elevator about the height and other buildings. Looks like it was a beautiful and fun day for you girls.

Eva Gallant said...

I loved this post! the tallest places I have been are the Empire State Building (years ago) and the Stratosphere in Vegas in 2010. Great photos!

Ami said...

That is my least-favorite way to get high.

No thank you.

But, I am glad you went and took pictures, now I can say I know what it looks like and not have to go there!!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

How fun ... and funny. I need to visit a real City one of these times.

Carletta said...

Oh my! On the edge for sure!
Great shots Pat!!!
I'm not sure if I could have done the balcony.
I want a boat and live in River City. Sheesh! I couldn't get that pic to enlarge. I swear it looks like pools on top. Is that just strange architecture?

Valerie said...

Free falling or even pretend free falling is NOT my idea of fun, Pat...grins. 103 floors? That's a bit too high for me and I'm not even tickle stomached.

kisatrtle said...

Oh I love that picture of you pretending to fall. Awesome

Jeannine Breton said...

By the time I had finished looking at your pictures and the one of you "on the edge", my legs were aching! Thanks for the tour. Great photos.

SUGAR MOON said...

Great post!!! I enjoyed it.

Betty Manousos said...

goodness me, what a spectacular!

the tallest place i have been is the empire state building ages ago.
i totally enjoyed your great photos.
looks like a fun day had by all!

WhisperingWriter said...

Fun! I so want to do that one day.

Fit and Healthy Baby Boomers said...

Great photos! I'd love to visit the 'Sears Tower' someday. Looks like you had a fun time.

Bossy Betty said...

Incredible pictures and what a fun day! Love the look of all the sailboats floating!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Looks like you were having a grand time--I need to take my kids to Chicago.

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

as someone else said - you've been there so we don't have to - I like looking down on things a bit but skyscrapers have never attracted me.

NixBlog said...

Fantastic shots, Pat!