On October 9th Anthony and I flew to Illinois for Nick's Basic Training Navy graduation ceremony. We decided to make it a mini vacation around the actual graduation which was on Friday, October 11th. Normally I would be chomping at the bit to do a little Letterboxing in a state that I have never boxed in before but with the trip only 3 days after our Faery event (which I had worked on for a year) I was honestly completely boxed out and left everything Letterbox related back in Boise. You know when you have hit your Letterboxing wall when you show up at the event you are hosting without any ink. A total Letterboxing foul on my part.
Our flight was very early on Wednesday to give us almost an entire day in Illinois. We decided to stay at the Country Inn and Suites in Gurnee which was not very far from the Navy Base. By the time we checked in and unloaded we were starving and our first stop was at Timothy O' Tooles Pub http://www.timothyotooles.com just around the corner from the hotel. With 31 beer on tap, a special Black and Tan menu and the best ribs I have ever eaten we were not disappointed in the hotels recommendation of restaurants. To top it of they had great service and lots of local sightseeing recommendations.
Our next stop was one of the local train stations. It was recommended to us that we take the local train into Chicago vs. our rental car. We found a local station and waited and waited and waited. In all (because of a pedestrian incident at another stop) they delayed the train we needed for an hour and a half. Although we chatted with one the Chicago Bears coaches while we waited (very interesting line of work) we finally threw in the towel with no train in sight even after the long wait. We felt really bad for all the folks trying to get to Chicago that did not have other transportation choices. The pictures above are of one of the double-decker trains heading out of Chicago vs. into Chicago which is what we needed.
After leaving the train station we drove over to Gurnee Mills http://www.simon.com/mall/gurnee-mills which is a very large shopping mall with over 200 stores. We were able to use the Netflix app on our phones to review movies and times and managed to catch the new movie Gravity in 3D at the Gurnee Mills Mall Cinema. I was amazed at the special affects and found myself holding my breath several times during the movie.
We treated ourselves to a late night appetizer and drinks at the Rainforest Café http://www.rainforestcafe.com after the movie. I even picked out an adorable Hello Kitty Monkey in the gift shop. I just could not resist! There was also a shop across from the Rainforest Café called Too Cool that featured 1/2 of the store dedicated to Hello Kitty. I was in Hello Kitty heaven. I limited myself to one additional very small purchase but it was so hard to walk away from so many adorable Hello Kitty items.