Illinois is one of the states that we covered in phases. Our first stop in Illinois was during November 2014 when we spent Thanksgiving in Effingham, which is located in the southern part of the state. This time we were in the northern part of the State. Still camped amidst a fabric of farm lands, but on the far outskirts of Chicago. Our campground was in the town of Sycamore, the county seat of DeKalb County. It was a nice and small quiet town which was located near a train station that would take us into the Windy City on daytrips. We were there for two weeks in early May of 2015.
The weather wasn’t great during our stay, but on sunny days we were able to walk the dogs around town, hit the tennis ball on the campground’s court, enjoy a campfire, and (in Mike’s case) catch and release the fish in the private lake. We ate out in downtown Sycamore a few times, and we went into Chicago three times. On one weekend Mike and I took the train into the city both Saturday and Sunday. They were two long days, and the dogs were a little pissed at us for abandoning them for more than 9 hours two days in a row. The third daytrip to Chicago was a solo run on my part. Mike stayed at home with the dogs watching golf and tennis while I went back to take a boat tour, do more exploring and eat more good food.
Downtown Chicago from Navy Pier.
I spent some authentic tourist time on the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour. It was a great way to see the city and learn about how it developed.
We took the METRA Train from Elburn to Chicago (OTC) three times during our stay in Sycamore. Weekend passes were $8 per person. It was a 30 minute drive from our campground to the train station. Then it was an hour and half train ride without delays. It was better than taking the car into the city. It would have taken almost the same amount of time (with traffic), been more stressed, cost gas money, AND we would have had to pay another $50+- for parking.
The landscape around Sycamore and the rest of Northern Illinois includes vast fields with farm houses and grain silos dotting the scenery.
The most bizarre neighbors we have ever encountered parked beside us at the Sycamore RV Resort. One converted horse trailer with individualized compartments, all with exterior access only; seven doors on one side and four on the other. I think 8 were sleeping bunks, 2 were small bathrooms, and one was the master compartment. It was longer than 45 feet. It came with two LOUD Dooley trucks and at least nine carnies. Three women/girls and the rest were men of various ages, with altering numbers of teeth, and different layers of body ink. Three bunks and one bathroom opened up to our little campsite yard. We shared our site with them for several days. We kept the doors to the rig and the car locked at all times.
Here is a view of our community camping space while the carnies were in town.
People would get on the train with open cans and bottles of beer, so Mike decided he would enjoy our ride home on Sunday night with the help of some tequila over ice. It didn’t make the end of the trip any more fun after a 40-minute delay due to lane switching problems.
After our American Gothic photo from Eldon, Iowa, it only seemed appropriate that we should seek out the real deal while visiting the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Willis (Sears) Tower from my boat tour.
The Willis (Sears) Tower on a soggy Sunday.
There is a pedestrian bridge that crosses Lake Front Drive at Millennium Park on Lake Michigan’s edge in downtown Chicago. I thought it looked like a giant metal snake slithering over the cars below.
A reflection of Michigan Avenue in ‘The Bean’.
A view from our morning walks around the little lake in our campground.
When we walked our dogs in Sycamore, it was usually through the sidewalks of downtown and the adjacent historic neighborhood. That made it convenient to stop on a patio for some post walking drinks and snacks. A counter productive activity after exercising, but fun all the same. Piper and Cessna know all about waiting during happy hour.
Moscow Mules on a random Thursday afternoon.