Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chicago Days 1 & 2

I figured I should split this up, so I don't overwhelm you with pictures. I took a lot. Big surprise, right? Jarred & I got to Chicago almost a day before Dixie & Kent so we had a chance to explore some and kind of get a feel for where we were. Unfortunately, I was turned around everywhere we went. At least Jarred knew which way to go. After we checked in, we decided to walk around and find some pizza and the Sears Tower. (It's now called the Willis Tower, but we were told most Chicagoans still call it the Sears Tower.) Here are the pictures from our first 2 days.

Chicago River with tall buildings on each side.

The tall building on the left with the spire on it is Trump Tower. It is Chicago's newest skyscraper. We thought Trump would want to make it bigger than the Sears Tower but it is the 2nd tallest building in the US. We then thought, maybe, Trump was a little sentimental about big buildings and wanted to let the Sears Tower keep the title. After doing a little research, I found out Trump did want it to be the tallest but after 9/11 he decided to scale back.

I'm standing at the bottom of the Sears Tower looking straight up. You can see what looks like windows sticking out from the top. That is "the ledge". It's all glass and you can walk out over the ground. It's just 1353 feet or 103 floors up.

It would take just over 346 of me to be as tall as the Sears Tower.

or about 289 Jarreds.

This is looking out over Lake Michigan from the top. The piece that sticks out the water is where the Adler Planetarium is. The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Solider Field are also all in this area.

The black building with 2 spires at the top is the John Hancock Tower, with Lake Michigan in the background.

I zoomed in really close to get Wrigley Field.

Sitting out over the Ledge. If it's too windy, they pull the windows back in.

Jarred looking straight down.

Jarred on the Ledge.

We found Route 66. I have no idea where we were when we found it.

Waiting for the El.

The Field Museum

Sue, the biggest, most complete T Rex in the world.

The old water tower. One of the few buildings to survive the fire of 1871.

Looking over downtown from the top of the John Hancock Tower. The purple (supposed to be pink) spire is the Trump Tower. The 2 pink spires are the Sears Tower. They had a lot of buildings lit up pink for breast cancer awareness.

Looking north from the John Hancock Tower.

The Chicago Tribune building.

The tribune building had stones from other famous buildings from around the world. The Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and, of course, the Alamo.

Friday morning we took an architectural river boat cruise and learned all about the different buildings and types of architecture. This is Trump Tower. If you look closely, you can see some window washers.

We all had to look up to see all the buildings. Our necks were sore when it was over.

This is the Merchandise Mart. It is 2 city blocks long and used to have its own zip code.

We went back to the top of John Hancock Tower in the day. This is Navy Pier.

"The Bean". It's actually called "Cloudgate" but it looks like a bean. This was in Millennium Park. The park was full of sculptures, fountains and a place that has concerts. It was pretty impressive.

The Bean was a fun place to play with the camera.

I title this one, "Reflection". If you look close, you can see Jarred is actually taking the picture and I'm walking.

Group photo.

Buckingham Fountain lit up pink for breast cancer awareness.

Another group photo.
That's the end of day 1 & 2. Stay tuned for the next 2 days!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Today we went to Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. It just so happens that this tiny town is in the corner of the Tennessee, Kentucky & Virginia border. We drove into Kentucky to the Cumberland Gap National Park where they were having a "birds of prey" demonstration. We got to see eagles, owls, hawks and other cool birds. There were even some turtles and frogs, though I don't know how they fit in with the birds of prey. Maybe they're the prey. We then drove to the pinnacle overlook where we could see into TN/KY/VA and actually be in all three states within a matter of minutes. There is a place where you can be in all 3 at the same time, but the hike was a little too much with our kiddos. We then piddled around Middlesboro, KY before heading back to Knoxville. We made a pit stop at a boot store that just happened to be having a John Deere 50% off sale. Let's say that someone (grandma) had a hard time saying, "No" to a little boy who loaded up his arms with tractors and said, "Grandma, is it fine if I have these?" We had a fun day and the weather was perfect!

Cumberland Gap is actually in TN, but I guess it's close enough to the others to claim it.

Jack posing by the "water wheel".

The sign pointing to where the 3 states meet.

This cool building was a headquarters for the CSA.


We ate lunch at Webb's County Kitchen. It was recommended as a "must eat" on the Cumberland Gap website. What they didn't tell you was that it was the ONLY place to eat in Cumberland Gap.

My little Rebel soldier.

Cumberland Gap town hall. The quilt on the side means it's part of the Appalachian Quilt Trail.

The pinnacle overlook from the town of Cumberland Gap.

The bald eagle.

Barn Owl

Jack petting the turtle.

Screech owl.

Jacey Rose chillin' in the baby bjorn.

One of the views from the top of the pinnacle.

Jack & his bird whistle.

Another view from the top.

Cute boy.

Middlesboro, KY

Cumberland Gap, TN

Jarred & Jacey checking out the view.

Jack also had fun picking up walnuts and acorns along the way.

In Kentucky & Virginia at the same time.

Me & Jarred after out .8 mile hike down the mountain.