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Chicago Trip - June 2016

Neil Weightman childrenNephews & Nieces: Drew, Krista, Colin, Emilie

Map of our 2016 trip

24 June 2016 is the day Drew & Becky set for their wedding. Drew is Craig's nephew and lives in Chicago. We decided to drive back there and began planning our 2016 Summer vacation trip.

Our friends Rob & Nora has recently moved from Las Vegas to Johnson City, Texas and we wanted to see their new 'digs'. Ellen Ducote had moved to Indianapolis last year and we both wanted to spend some time with her.

Chicago - of course - then Craig wanted to visit a friend in Montana and previous trip friend, Mark, in St. George, UT. Patty elected to stay a few days in Indianapolis and fly home.

Clicking on most pictures will expand the picture, but not the map on the right.

Trip to Texas

Patty in the Turquoise RoomCharging at La PosadaLa Posada

Each day's driving was planned out ahead of time and - this trip - we didn't have a lot of flexibility in adjusting our schedule. We left on the 14th of June and the wedding was on the 24th. We targeted Flagstaff - 465 miles away - to be our first overnight stop. The second day's objective was Amarillo, TX - over 600 miles - but we just had to stop to see the Turquoise Room in Winslow, AZ. La Posada is the building there - it is the train station for Winslow - and the Turquoise Room is the dining area. Breakfast was great and they even had the capability for us to charge our car while eating.

Superchargers in Shamrock

Since our last trip through this area superchargers have been added in Albuquerque & Santa Rosa, NM: Amarillo, Shamrock & Denton, TX, and Oklahoma City, OK. This allowed us to make the trip in three days, instead of the seven days it took us previously. Shamrock supercharger was located in the building Disney duplicated to use in the Cars movies.

Shamrock gas stationShamrock Gas Station - PattyShamrock resturant - Patty

It was great fun checking out all the nooks and crannies and Patty even bought a t-shirt to signify our stop there.

Traveling the I-35 in Texas was an exercise in patience. Texas seems to want to fix the entire length of the highway at one time, but they only allocate enough labor to do it piecemeal. The result is very large stretches of highway with limited access, but only a very few being worked on at any one time. Consequently we got off I-35 near Ft. Hood and taking I-190 toward Fredericksburg, TX, where we were staying. On the way, the Torre di Pietra Vineyards not only provided a place to charge our car, but also some good wine and even a cat to get comfy with - Patty is not famous for attracting cats.

Patty & cat in winerycharging at winery

Boot Ranch is a club for property owners in the Texas Hill Country and we spent much of Saturday taking advantage of the amenities there - skeet shooting, swimming, and driving around the golf course and home sites. In the afternoon Patty, Nora, and Jamie went shopping in the old west German town of Fredericksburg and found quite a few things they liked - but didn't buy.

View of Boot Ranh Clubhouse areaCraig, Patty, Jamie, Nora at Boot RanchBoot Ranch golf course rest spotSkeet Shooting at Boot Ranch

Sunday we drove over to Nora's temporary home in Johnson City - birthplace of Lyndon Banes Johnson (LBJ). Nora owns some property nearby and we went out for a morning horse ride over some beautiful and isolated country.

Patty & Jamie - saddle up?Craig on horsebackJamie, Patty, Craig, Nora on horsebackPatty  on horseback Water crossing LBJ Ranch entrance

After lunch in town and reviewing remodeling plans for their home, we set off for Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon.

We first took a detour to the LBJ Ranch, but were too late to take the formal tour. We only got to see the entrance, which is rather famous. LBJ used to drive his cars across this roadway while visitors would observe from a viewpoint upstream. While the car did get wet, from the upstream viewpoint it looked like the car was sinking completely underwater. More than a few onlookers were 'hoodwinked' by this prank.

On to Indianapolis

After staying Sunday night in Waco, TX, we reached Wichita, KS - 460 miles - on the next leg of our journey. The route between the Texas border and Kansas City, KS is a toll road. The cost is reasonable and the use the method of picking up a ticket where you enter the toll way, then paying when you exit; reducing the irritation of continually stopping at toll booths along the way. If there needs to be a toll, I wish other states would adopt this technique. Of course, Kansas seems to be the only state west of Chicago to have interstate tolls, but that is another matter.

Gage Park, Topeka, KSGage Park, Topeka, KS

Gage Park in Topeka, KS is a good-sized, interesting place where everyone can easily visit. The city zoo is located in a corner of the park and it seems to be well used.

Kansas City BBQ - world famous. Well we stopped at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, located in a gas station on County Line Road. Of course we didn't eat any pork, but the sandwich was still really great.

Entrance to Joe's BBQInside Joe's BBQPatty eating at Joe's BBQ
Patty & Ellen

Patty and Ellen found a great location to shop and relax, on the canal running through Indianapolis.

Chicago Wedding

Chicago skyline Patty & Ellen along Miracle Mile Wrigley Building DuSable Bridge on Michigan AveChicago is less than 200 miles - and one supercharger - away from Indianapolis. Ellen joined us on this leg, as she hadn't been to Chicago for thirty years and was curious to see the city again.

Our hotel was a couple of blocks off the Miracle Mile and we took the evening to walk this famous shopping area.

There are lots of pictures here and clicking on them often yields a larger copy.

The next morning we purchased a Hop-On-Hop-Off pass to get around the city for the next couple of days. The wedding was in the evening and we saw a lot of Chicago before getting dressed and making our way to Lincoln Park. The next morning we used the service to see more of the city and make our way to the Wendella Architectural Boat Tour the wedding party went on that afternoon.

Photo straight up inside the Bean Craig & Patty at the BeenEllen & Patty at the BeanPhoto reflections inside the Bean

The Bean - the formal name is Cloud Gate, but everybody calls it The Bean - is an intriguing piece of sculpture. Photographing yourself from inside it yields some unique pictures. The last picture is a photograph straight up, when directly under the middle of The Bean.

the Crown Fountain

The Crown Fountain is actually a pair of facing monoliths. with tiles that are animated into a male and a female face. Periodically the face spits water and there is continual water flowing out of the top of each monolith. Needless to say, kids - and some adults - are running through the water and getting as wet as possible.

Harris Stage

Harris Stage

Art Institute of ChicagoBehind the Bean and the fountain is a large, grass pavilion and the Harris Stage faces this area. Free concerts are often held on summer evenings and several thousand people can enjoy these performances.

The Art Institute of Chicago can be reached from the park by a walkway over a busy street and Patty, Ellen, and Craig made the trek to see this famous attraction.

Buckingham Fountain

The Buckingham Fountain is one of the larger ones to be found and the hop-on-hop-off bus gave us a really good view.

The wedding began at 6 PM in Lincoln Park, so we ended our Friday hop-on-hop-off tour of Chicago in the early afternoon to get ready. We would try again the next morning, before the final wedding event on Saturday afternoon.

Brauer Cafe from wedding locationfather's of the couple - Neil & Ray

Cafe Brauer in Lincoln Park is where Becky (and Drew) planned the wedding and reception. It was a beautiful spot to get married, in the middle of the park and just off the lake. Drew is the last of Neil's children (Craig's brother) to get married - he and Eve have 5 1/2 grandchildren and expect more.

Neil and Jim Barber, the officiant for the wedding, are seen here getting prepared for the festivities.

Wedding Location

The second floor of Cafe Bauer is made up of a central hall with two wings. The wedding was held in one wing, conversation started in the other wing, and finally dinner and dancing went on in the center hall.

This is the beautiful view where the wedding ceremony was about to be held

Wedding attendees being seatedFlower girls and the slip


It was a relatively small wedding and you can see here how the guests were seated along a curving path ending in the view above.

Young nieces often provide the humorous touch needed at every occasion. Here, young flower girl Ellery dropped a few pedals and was determined to make things right, helped out by her cousin.

wedding ceremony

The wedding ceremony and the couples' first dance both have larger pictures available, as do the Table #5 members.

Meredith & TomJudy & Dwightdinner at table #5Parker & ConnorPatty & Craig

Table #5 was ours.

The couples were...

Meredith & Tom

Judy & Dwight

Parker & Connor

Patty & Craig

The following day Patty, Craig, & Ellen took in more sights of Chicago and hopped off in time to catch the Wendella Architectural Boat Tour.

Wendella Boat TourWendella Boat Tour

After the tour all the Weightman brothers and sisters - and some others - took off along the River Walk to find a place to relax and tip back some brew.Ellery & Craig on River WalkEmilie & Ben on River WalkColin & Micki on River WalkRiver WalkPatty & Craig on River WalkDave & Krista on River Walk

The River Walk destination is shown on the right. The couples shown, clockwise, are Ellery & Craig (Ellery is Emilie and Ben's daughter), Emilie & Ben, Colin & Micki, Dave & Krista, and Patty & Craig. Larger pictures of the people are available by clicking on them.

We thought there were enough wedding photos of Drew and Becky, so we are not including them here, but they are in the middle of the picture below.

The final picture of this wedding is the wedding party on a Chicago bridge.

Wedding Party on a Chicago bridge

Now it was back to Indianapolis, where Patty stayed on with Ellen and Craig headed out to meet up with his friend Ross, in Montana

Big Sky Country

country road in MontanaLost Springs, WY

Early Monday morning Craig left Patty at Ellen's house and started a three day trek, with stops in Salina, KS (675 mi); Lusk, WY (680 mi); and finally Bozeman, MT (538 mi). It was a long drive alone, but adaptive cruise control and autopilot made it bearable and conversations with other Tesla owners at the superchargers along the way kept things informative and interesting.

The population sign left shows the smallest town we've seen so far in our travels - Lost Springs, WY.

Buffalo jumping

Leaving Billings, heading west, the country really changes from open range to larger mountains and huge, green valleys. Craig arrived in Bozeman in the late afternoon and met with Frank, his friend Ross's father, at his ranch. The road on the right is the main road and the cattle ranch occupies the right side.

The two of them went out to dinner at a real cowboy bar and restaurant. Pictures of animals doing all sorts of unusual things lined the walls - buffalo jumping here.

Ross peak in Bozeman, MT

The next morning Ross, Frank, and Craig drove around the ranch area (1400 acres). The view of Ross Peak was particularly spectactular.

Then Craig gave the Tesla a real speed test on a straight, mountain road and reached 131 mph. Since the car hadn't been over 100 mph since new, it was an exciting ride.

Ross really enjoyed the fact he got to try out the car for himself.

Ross with Tesla 3 Ross with Tesla 2Ross with Tesla 1

After a late brunch Craig set out on the final leg of the journey - past Yellowstone Park entrance and on to Salt Lake City (410 miles). The first part of the drive was gorgeous country, but once out of the Rocky Mountains the rolling countryside became much less impressive. In Salt Lake City the Tesla Service people fixed a problem with the autopilot, cleaned up the car and Craig was on the way to St. George.

A Saturday morning breakfast with Mark - a friend Craig & Patty met on their previous cross-country trip - and Craig was ready for the last drive - St. George is 390 miles from home in Glendale, CA. Quite tired by this time, Craig was glad Patty was there to meet him.