Epic US Road Trip 2016 – Kentucky & The Great Lakes
The home straight. The final 7 days, the final 4 states, the last 1,134 miles. Turning our backs on the mist of the Appalachians, a foray into Ohio, although all-too brief, still managed to tack on one final and unintended National Scenic Byway to the road trip total. Once we got away from the industralised banks of the region’s Ohio River, the state of Kentucky got very rural, very green and very photogenic, thereafter rarely letting up – the state, with its picture-postcard Bluegrass Country, rolling karst landscapes & unmissable subterranean delights, more than lived up to its photogenic billing. Oh and the music pilgrimage continued here too, something one might expect in a state that has a region called Bluegrass & where the music genre of the same name was born. But when all was said and done, and after a quick south-to-north we’re-only-passing-through dash through Indiana, we somewhat reluctantly rolled across the Illinois state line and into southern Chicago, 33 days after departing its northern fringes. Unexpectedly returning to the city in a different ride, between the granite-coloured Hyundai Accent hatchback we departed the city in, the same Accent that buckled under the toil of Colorado Rocky Mountain highs on day 17, and the silver Hyundai Accent saloon we brought back, we had accumulated a whopping 9,493 miles of US road-trippin’. That’s an average of 288 miles, or 463 kilometres, of daily driving over 33 days, an undertaking one might (wrongly) assume would exhaust. A final seventeen miles & three days of Windy City architecture-heavy sightseeing later and it really was The End, the end of Epic US Road Trip 2016.
Image ||A horse in a paddock of Calumet Farm in Bluegrass Country on the outskirts of Lexington, Kentucky.
“Once a region of wild woodlands and meadows, today this pretty landscape is dotted with horse farms; Bluegrass Country alone as some 450 farms, centres of horse breeding excellence with acres of undulating lush bluegrass grassland criss-crossed by miles of brilliantly-white fencing.”
Day 30 || September 26 2016
Route || Lewisburg, West Virginia, to Lexington, Kentucky (via Chesapeake, Ohio; Cordell, Kentucky; & Sandy Hook, Kentucky)
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 404 (650)
Posted From || Lexington, Kentucky
Today’s Highlight || Dusk over Bluegrass Country
We had a bit of ground to cover today in getting from Lewisburg, West Virginia, to Lexington, Kentucky. At its most direct it’s a 300-mile drive via Interstate 64. But where’s the fun in that? We tacked on another 100-plus miles by going our own way through the heart of rural eastern Kentucky and via the towns of Cordell & Sandy Hook, two sleepy settlements that to visit at all would require either a serious navigational oversight or a really good reason; we had the latter. This day also saw us saying a brief hello to Ohio, state number 23, driving portions of not 1, not 2, but 3 National Scenic Byways – 1 in West Virginia, 1 in Ohio & 1 in Kentucky – and being treated to the best of an evening sunset over Kentucky’s famed and oh-so photogenic Bluegrass Country, a stunningly beautiful part of the world.
We didn’t inconvenience ourselves too much in getting to Ohio as it’s a short detour north off Interstate 64 and across the Ohio River from West Virginia. We also didn’t spend long in the state – an hour, give or take – or see much of it; a busy & inconvenient road junction at the state line bridge crossing over to Ashland, Kentucky, meant we were even thwarted in our efforts to get a ‘Welcome To Ohio’ state picture, our first such failing of the wider road trip. 22 out of 23 up to this point is still an acceptable strike rate I guess.
State Nicknames – The Buckeye State; Birthplace of Aviation; The Heart of It All. State Motto – With god, all things are possible. Admitted To The Union – March 1 1803 (17th state). Population – 11.6 million (7th most populous state). Area – 44,825 sq miles (34th largest state). Capital – Columbus. National Parks – 1 (Cuyahoga Valley). National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 4/1. Famous For – The Wright Brothers; being a perennial swing state in presidential elections; Amish communities; cows; roller-coasters – the world’s greatest concentration of them can be found at Ohio’s Cedar Point Amusement Park. State Highlight – Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ohio Titbits – Although nearly all of the waterway belongs to neighbouring Kentucky & West Virginia, Ohio is named after the region’s Ohio River which defines the state’s southern border with Kentucky; eight US presidents have had Ohio as their home state, the most of any US state; the state had the country’s very first fully professional baseball team, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, now the Cincinnati Reds.
National Scenic Byway #9 – Ohio River National Scenic Byway
About all we actually experienced of the state of Ohio was a miserly 14-mile stretch of its river-hugging Ohio River National Scenic Byway, the ninth and penultimate National Scenic Byway of the wider road trip. Driving east to west, the 943 mile (1,518 kilometre) history-rich byway follows the course of the Ohio River across the southern border of three states: Ohio, Indiana & Illinois. No, we didn’t experience any of the charming river communities lining the river, and nor did we sample any of the rural beauty the byway supposedly meanders through en route to Cincinnati (the 14 mile stretch of the byway we sampled is rather industrial), but we did, of course, see plenty of the river itself. We’ll take that. After all, this scenic byway and anything that happened to come with it was a bonus.
– www.fhwa.dot.gov commenting on the Ohio River Scenic Byway
Our epic 14 mile adventure in Ohio ended when we once again drove a bridge over the Ohio River, this one bringing us into Ashland and the state of Kentucky, Epic US Road Trip state number 24.
State Nickname – The Bluegrass State. State Mottos – United we stand, divided we fall; Deo gratiam habeamus (Let us be grateful to God). Admitted To The Union – June 1792 (15th state). Population – 4.4 million (22nd most populous state). Area – 40,409 sq miles (37th largest state). Capital – Frankfort. National Parks – 1 (Mammoth Cave). National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 6/0. Famous For – Horses, horse farms & the Derby; bluegrass (the region, the grass & the music); bourbon; being photogenic; KFC; Abraham Lincoln (born in Hodgenville); Fort Knox; baseball bats; Muhammad Ali (born in Louisville); karst landscapes; caves; quilting patterns. State Highlight – Picture-perfect Bluegrass Country; bluegrass (the music); Mammoth Cave National Park; rural, back country drives. Kentucky Titbits – Kentucky boasts the world’s longest cave system; it also has more navigable miles of water than any other state not called Alaska; the state produces 95% of the world’s supply of bourbon whiskey, and the number of barrels of bourbon being aged in Kentucky (more than 5.7 million) far exceeds the state’s population; the name Kentucky means ‘meadow lands’ in several different Indian languages and was specifically applied to this region of the country, thereafter Europeans adopting the name to apply to the state; Harland Sanders, a Kentucky colonel, launched Kentucky Fried Chicken at his service station in North Corbin, Kentucky, in 1930. Supposedly even back then it was finger-lickin’ good!
National Scenic Byway #10 – The Country Music Highway
Although we didn’t know it at the time, our first foray into eastern Kentucky saw us heading south on US 23 from Ashland, this stretch of asphalt making up the northern portion of the state’s 144-mile, 232-kilometre-long Country Music Highway, the tenth and final National Scenic Byway of the wider road trip.
– www.fhwa.dot.gov commenting on the Country Music Highway
In Search of Ricky & Keith
Rural Kentucky is home to many a country & bluegrass music heavy-hitter, two in particular – one alive, one very much dead – of interest to us on this day. We went searching for signs of them in two Kentucky towns that you’d probably otherwise have no reason to visit. First up was Cordell, a 50-mile drive from the Ohio/Kentucky state line at Ashville. There was not a whole lot to see en route (this extreme eastern region of the state isn’t yet picture-postcard Kentucky) and as it turned out there was even less to see once we got there.
Bluegrass & Horse Country
Continuing west, it’s a 130-mile drive from Sandy Hook to Lexington, the region’s largest city in the heart of the state’s northern Bluegrass Country and the so-called ‘The Horse Capital of the World’. Our partly successful forays into rural Kentucky earlier in the day meant it was approaching sunset by the time we rolled into Lexington, not a bad time of the day to brandish a camera in Kentucky’s famed horse country on the city’s outskirts.
– Alistair Cooke, British-born American journalist, television personality and broadcaster
Image ||Ranger tour deep in Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky.
“Believed first explored by native American Indians some 4,500 years ago, to date 27 entrances have been identified & 405 miles (652 kilometres) of fascinating underground caverns & passageways of this ulterior labyrinth have been mapped (as of July 2015 with geologists estimating some 600 miles could still be undiscovered).”
Day 31 || September 27 2016
Route || Lexington to Beaver Dam, Kentucky (via Lincoln Homestead State Park & Mammoth Cave National Park)
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 241 (388)
Posted From || Beaver Dam, Kentucky
Today’s Highlight || Mammoth Cave National Park
More of picture-postcard Bluegrass Country, the rolling karst landscapes of central Kentucky and the subterranean wonders of the world’s most extensive cave system. Above or below ground, it didn’t matter. The state of Kentucky ensured day 31 is up there as one of the most photogenic days of the wider 36-day road trip.
Once was never going to be sufficient so we took another drive around the peaceful tree-lined equestrian nirvana of Bluegrass Country surrounding Lexington this morning, basically retracing our route of last evening. There was no sunset this morning and the lighting not quite as soft, but everything was just as photogenic, par for the course around here.
Lincoln Homestead State Park
We hadn’t planned on visiting Kentucky’s Lincoln Homestead State Park. We hadn’t even heard of it when setting out from Lexington for Mammoth Cave National Park, a 2-hour 130-mile drive southwest of Lexington and somewhere we definitely did know existed. But a sign en route highlighted the existence of the charming little park situated in the centre of the state, somewhere we took a slight detour to get to and somewhere that ably served its purpose of educating us as to the family history of one of the icons of American history.
Kentucky Karst – Above & Below
Meandering as it does through central Kentucky’s karst landscape meant the 90-mile drive from the Lincoln Homestead State Park to Mammoth Cave National Park was rather photogenic. Slow going at times but photogenic nonetheless.
– The American Monthly Magazine (1837)
Central Kentucky’s karst underbelly is not only responsible for the state’s undulating and easy-on-the-eyes landscape. It’s also to blame for the formation of the Kentucky’s most popular natural attraction, the state’s only UNESCO World Heritage-listed site (and national park) and the world’s largest network of subterranean tunnels, the fascinating & aptly-named Mammoth Cave of Mammoth Cave National Park, the 9th & last national park of our wider road trip.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Size: 52,830 acres/214 km². Founded: 1941. Annual Visitors: 2 million. In a state known for its elevated landscape in the form of the Appalachian and Cumberland mountains, it is an inverse topography — the world’s longest known cave system — that is Kentucky’s lone national park. This underground wonder, whose dimensions suit its name, is mapped at 400 miles — a length that increases with ongoing exploration. Here, midway between Louisville and Nashville, this limestone labyrinth with a colorful and contentious (land-ownership) past fascinates visitors.
– John Burroughs, naturalist, “In Mammoth Cave” (1887)
The deep history goes back 10 million years in time and 379 feet into the earth, where ancient human remains and artifacts are legally protected. The modern story includes African American history, such as the legacy of Stephen Bishop, who ventured into unexplored areas and became a guide. He is buried at the park’s Old Guides’ Cemetery. In popular culture, Mammoth has inspired a short story, an early computer game, poetry and rock-music lyrics. Today, park rangers continue to guide cave visitors through tours of varying length, style and level of physical demand — from easy to extremely strenuous. Tours include Gothic Avenue, which has historically significant passageways where 19th-century signatures are preserved. Interior temperatures average about 54 degrees. Bring a jacket or sweater and wear shoes suitable for walking. Above ground activities include hiking and fishing.
From The Washington Post – The Essential guide to all 59 U.S. national parks.
– UNESCO commenting on Mammoth Cave National Park
Image ||Bill Monroe’s Old Homeplace in the hills of Rosine, Kentucky.
“Today, our final day in The Bluegrass State, was all about bluegrass. The music. A magical day of musical pilgrimage started with a visit to the so-called Old Homeplace, the revered birthplace of that All-American musical genre in the captivating hills over Rosine…”
Day 32 || September 28 2016
Route || Beaver Dam, Kentucky, to Bloomington, Indiana (via Rosine & Owensboro, Kentucky)
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 190 (306)
Posted From || Bloomington, Indiana
Today’s Highlight || Bill Monroe’s Old Homeplace in Rosine
Today, our final day in The Bluegrass State, was all about bluegrass. The music. A magical day of musical pilgrimage started with a visit to the so-called Old Homeplace, the revered birthplace of that All-American musical genre in the captivating hills over Rosine, before a visit to the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro on the border with Indiana. Some twenty-four hours removed from a return to the skyscrapers and fumes of cacophonic Chicago, we left the sublime serenity of the wooded hills of rural Kentucky, the last bit of rural respite we’ll get to sample on the trip. We’ll not be forgetting that for a long time.
The staging point for our assault on the bluegrass bonanza of Rosine, not to mention our overnight location for Epic US Road Trip day 32, Beaver Dam is somewhere we drove to yesterday evening after surfacing from the depths of Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park some 50 miles to the southeast.
We swung by yesterday evening when the gate to Monroe Country’s Old Homeplace in the remote, wooded hills above Rosine, Kentucky, was closed. Returning today we found it open, and we had it all to ourselves. Just the latest highlight in a 32-day-long string of highlights, this was to prove to be one of the highlight highlights.
Bill Monroe & Bluegrass Music
As a singer, songwriter, bandleader, showman and instrumentalist, no individual is so closely identified with an American music style as William ‘Bill’ Smith Monroe (1911-1996), a.k.a. The Father of Bluegrass Music. For more than half a century, he shaped bluegrass with his forceful mandolin playing, his high lonesome singing, and mastery of his band, the Blue Grass Boys. In doing so, he gave older country sounds new life, gave the mandolin a new role as a lead instrument in country, pop and rock, and set standards for musicians as diverse as The Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley, George Jones and rock star Jerry Garcia.
The Old Homeplace
Brilliantly restored & presented today by The Bill Monroe Foundation, a non-profit organisation with the mission of creating a memorial to the Father of Bluegrass Music and preserving the source and heritage of the original American art form that is the Monroe style of bluegrass, Bill Monroe’s Old Homeplace is a magical attraction in a magical setting, something I imagine it would be even to non-bluegrass music fans.
– Reproduced from text on display in the grounds of the Old Homeplace
Away from the hills of the Old Homeplace and in the sleepy settlement of Rosine itself (population less than 100) there is, of course, more bluegrass-related sights to see.
The bluegrass bonanza wasn’t done for this day. Oh no. Less than 40 miles north of Rosine is Owensboro. Straddling the state line with neighbouring Indiana, the city is also the location for the International Bluegrass Music Museum. We left it late in the afternoon to drop by but still had time to take in all the awesome one-of-a-kind showcase of bluegrass had to offer.
A second drive over the Owensboro Bridge spanning the Ohio River and out of the state of Kentucky brought us to the state line with Indiana, the penultimate state of the road trip.
State Nickname – The Hoosier State. State Motto – The Crossroads of America. Admitted To The Union – December 1816 (19th state). Population – 6.6 million (16th most populous state). Area – 36,400 sq miles (38th largest state). Capital – Indianapolis. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 2/1. Famous For – The Indy 500; farmers, farmland & corn; the NCAA; . State Highlight – The architecture of Columbus. Indiana Titbits – The state’s name means “Land of the Indians”, or simply “Indian Land”; Indianans are called ‘Hoosiers’ but no one really knows why; the state has two time zones; Hoosiers like their hoops – Indiana has produced more NBA players per capita than any other state; attracting some 250,000 people every, the Indy 500 is said to be the largest single day sporting event in the world.
Image ||Completing the loop by the windswept shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago, Illinois.
“… we’ve three days left to get to grips with Chicago, but today, and once we’d completed the 5-hour, 300-mile drive from Bloomington, Indiana, to the Windy City via a stop at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, signalled the end of the wider road trip, the completion of the loop. What a ride it has been.”
Day 33 || September 29 2016
Route || Bloomington, Indiana, to Chicago, Illinois (via Indianapolis, Indiana)
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 282 (454)
Posted From || Chicago, Illinois
Today’s Highlight || Completing the loop in Chicago
Today, day 33, was the last day on the road. Yes, we’ve three days left to get to grips with Chicago, but today, and once we’d completed the 5-hour, 300-mile drive from Bloomington, Indiana, to the Windy City via a stop at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, signalled the end of the wider road trip, the completion of the loop. What a ride it has been.
Bloomington To Chicago – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Although we were only passing through, we wanted to see something of the state of Indiana, if only briefly. So we decided to swing by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Located in a suburb of Indianapolis, the state capital, it was a 60 mile drive north from our overnight location of Bloomington, or about 24 laps of what is probably the world’s most famous motor racing circuit.
Bloomington To Chicago – The Indiana/Illinois State Line
We didn’t take the most direct route from Indianapolis to Chicago, a 180-mile drive north via Interstate 65, instead opting for a 300-plus-mile route via eastern Illinois. We needed to be sure of getting the last state line picture of the road trip.
State Nicknames – Land of Lincoln; The Prairie State. State Motto – State Sovereignty, National Union. Admitted To The Union – December 1818 (21st state). Population – 12.9 million (5th most populous state). Area – 58,000 sq miles (25th largest state). Capital – Springfield. National Parks – 0. National Scenic Byways/All-American Roads – 5/2. Famous For – Skyscrapers (first sprung in Chicago in 1885); flat farmland; Route 66 (it starts in Chicago); having an Abraham Lincoln obsession. State Highlights – Chicago. Illinois Titbits – Illinois’s largest city, Chicago, is the third largest city in the US; it’s a coal state – over 200 billion tons of coal are estimated to lie under the surface, having a total heating value greater than the estimated oil deposits in the Arabian Peninsula; the world’s first nuclear reactor was built on the University of Chicago campus; three US presidents have claimed Illinois as their political base – Abraham Lincoln (born in Kentucky), Ulysses S. Grant (born in Ohio), & Barack Obama (born in Hawaii).
Chicago – An Introduction
We arrived (back) in Chicago mid-afternoon, the city a big change of pace to the previous few days. Utilising the car for the last evening we can, we drove to the shores of Lake Michigan before calling in on Wrigleyville neighbourhood in the city’s northern suburbs, the location for fabled Wrigley Field, the home of the city’s much-loved Cubs. Lots more to come from Chicago. We’re only just starting to get to grips with the Windy City.
Image ||On deck. Wrigley Field, Chicago.
”As a baseball fan, a visit to Chicago’s Wrigley Field (yes, it’s named after the gum), home to the city’s beloved Cubs & one of professional sport’s most iconic theaters with a string of unique features, was at the very top of my Chicago must-see list. And by doing so earlier today I’m pretty confident that I did my bit to help break the 71-years-and-counting Curse.”
Days 34-36 || September 30 – October 2 2016
Posted From || Chicago, Illinois
The last three days in Chicago were always going to be very different to the 33 days that preceded them. Aside from a 17-mile drive from the city to the airport to fulfill the obligation to return the hire car, we didn’t drive anywhere for the three days and we stayed in the same bed for more than 2 nights, both trip firsts. And while we’d visited sizable cities over the last 5 weeks – Minneapolis & Saint Paul, Salt Lake City & St. Louis immediately spring to mind – none can match Chicago for size, noise or variety. So yes, Chicago, the largest city in Illinois, the third-largest city in the US and a bustling Great Lakes port that extends 26 miles along the southwestern shoreline of Lake Michigan that’s something of an architectural trendsetter & that boasts one of the world’s most iconic skylines, was a very different proposition to what came before it. The infamous domain of one Al Capone in the 1920s & a city whose crime rate is substantially higher than the US average and which boasts the highest sales tax rates in the country it may be, but there’s still plenty to love about Chicago – the city was a great choice for ending (& starting) this 36-day once-in-a-lifetime gallivant around a rather hefty portion of the US.
Image || The Cloud Gate, a.k.a. The Bean, Millennium Park, Chicago.
”Inspired by liquid mercury and the winner of a design competition, the 20-metre-wide by 13-metre-high, 110-ton structure is made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together and polished to appear without any visible seams; try as you may, you won’t find any.”
Day 34 || September 30 2016
Today’s Highlight || The architecture of Downtown Chicago.
I was out on the streets of Downtown Chicago early this morning. It was before 7 a.m. and I was surprised how quite the streets of such a large city were at that time of a Friday. It was also somewhat dank and while it wasn’t raining, it was threatening to. But, and in spite of the hour and the undesirable climatic conditions, I was still feeling the same buzz I invariably get when exploring and getting acquainted with somewhere new. Chicago for me was somewhere new, a city I had wanted to visit for a long time.
– Jeremy Piven, American actor and producer.
Chicago & Architecture
Famous today for its architecture and its architectural diversity, everything from timeless Art Deco towers to classic super-tall skyscrapers to contemporary & elegant hotels to modern & shiny sculptures, Chicago was founded in 1833, thereafter growing rapidly from a population of around 150 to over 100,000 in less than 30 years. Devastated by a fire in October 1871, which burned the majority of buildings in the mostly wooden city, Chicago was forced to rebuild, taking the opportunity when doing so to firmly establish itself as both an architectural trendsetter & a leader in skyscraper engineering and design; the world’s very first skyscraper, a word first coined in the city, pierced the Windy City sky in 1885. While there’s plenty to do in the city that doesn’t involve tilting your neck skywards ogling at various towering architectural forms, suffice to say doing exactly that is an unavoidable consequence of any visit to the city, and it’s about all I did this morning while exploring the city’s Loop, its central downtown business district.
– The Chicago Architecture Foundation
The northern part of the larger Grant Park and sandwiched between the Loop and the shores of Lake Michigan, Millennium Park is the epitome of modern Chicago, a green canvas upon which top architects, artists and engineers have been let loose, collaborating to create an outdoor modern-design gallery, a harmonious blend of public art pieces, pavilions, promenades, gardens, galleries, squares & plazas.
Photography exploits on this day ended after dark back in Millennium Park and back in the vicinity of The Bean in AT&T Plaza. Yes, of course it also looks great at night.
Image || Chicago as seen from 360 Chicago, the 94th-floor observation deck of The John Hancock Building.
”We got up here with plenty of light left on this day and waited… for the twinkling lights of the city far below to come to life and to take over. From late afternoon to early evening & through dusk to nighttime darkness, it was a magical transition towards a magical outcome.”
Day 35 || October 1 2016
Today’s Highlight || Twinkling nighttime Chicago.
A return to Wrigley Field to preempt the ending of a 108-year losing streak and 71-year-old curse; a walk up the swish shopping mecca of Michigan Avenue, a.k.a the Magnificent Mile; and watching the city lights spring into life from 360 Chicago, the 94th-floor viewing deck of The John Hancock Building, one of the loftier Chicago architectural wonders. Three highlights in one day, day two in Chicago and the penultimate day of the wider trip.
Wrigley Field – The Curse & The Friendly Confines
As a baseball fan, a visit to Chicago’s Wrigley Field (yes, it’s named after the gum), home to the city’s beloved Cubs & one of professional sport’s most iconic theaters with a string of unique features, was at the very top of my Chicago must-see list. And by doing so earlier today I’m pretty confident that I did my bit to help break the damned 71-years-and-counting Curse. (UPDATE – November 2, 2016: Well I never. It worked! The Cubs have just won the World Series, winning the deciding Game 7 against the Cleveland Indians. You’re very welcome, Chicago.)
After touring Wrigley Field, it was time to return to Downtown Chicago in search of some epic skyline vistas, the sort Chicago is renowned for. And getting to epic elevated highs required a stroll along a mile of ground level magnificence.
The Magnificent Magnificent Mile
Planned as an elegant boulevard in Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago and today the spine of Chicago’s most prestigious residential & shopping district with some of the country’s most expensive rental space, Michigan Avenue is probably Chicago’s most famous thoroughfare. If you’re a high-end shopper then I guess the upscale section of the avenue that has since the 1940s been dubbed the Magnificent Mile is indeed magnificent. Come to think of it, with several landmark buildings – the Wrigley Building & The John Hancock Building to name but two – towering over this particular city artery, architectural aficionados might also find reason to deem it magnificent.
The John Hancock Building
Most make a beeline for the Willis Tower, formally the Sears Tower. I get that – at 1,450 feet (442 metres), it is still the tallest building in the city, the second-tallest in the US (after the 541-metre-high One World Trade Center in New York City) and, as of October 2016, the 17th tallest building on earth. But, and although only the fourth-tallest tower in Chicago, the views from the 1,127-feet-high (344 metres) John Hancock Building on the Magnificent Mile are arguably the best on offer in the city; there’s a reason its 94th-floor viewing deck is called 360 Chicago.
Coming down from the high of The John Hancock Building, I went in search of things – buildings – to photograph. I didn’t find Downtown Chicago all that photogenic after dark (it’s way too built-up with a jumble of light sources spoiling most scenes), or maybe I just didn’t try all that hard. I didn’t put all that much effort into photographing the city’s iconic Chicago Theatre, one of the buildings in Chicago that definitely needs to be photographed at night and one that deserves more effort than I expended when trying to photograph it.
Image || Sightseeing cruise on the Chicago River.
”Today, and ignoring for now the fact that it’s the last day of the 36-day trip, was just like the previous two insofar as it was all about architecture. Another final stroll around Downtown Chicago, and along the banks of the Chicago River…”
Day 36 || October 2 2016
Today’s Highlight || The architecture of Downtown Chicago (again).
Today, and ignoring for now the fact that it’s the last day of the 36-day trip, was just like the previous two insofar as it was all about architecture. Another final stroll around Downtown Chicago, and along the banks of the Chicago River, resulted in more pictures of towers. Towers of all kinds, be they of the drab concrete, shiny glass & steel or innovative & intricate kind.
– The Chicago Architecture Foundation
THE UPPER MIDWEST || Wisconsin & Minnesota
DAY 01 139 miles || Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to Madison, Wisconsin
DAY 02 302 miles || Madison to Saint Paul, Minnesota (via Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area & Prescott, Wisconsin)
DAY 03 259 miles || Saint Paul to Bemidji, Minnesota (via St Cloud, Brainard & Walker, Minnesota)
THE DAKOTAS || North & South Dakota
DAY 04 458 miles || Bemidji to Bismarck, North Dakota (via Grand Forks, Lakota & Rugby, North Dakota)
DAY 05 459 miles || Bismarck to Deadwood, South Dakota (via Fort Yates, North Dakota & Badlands National Park, South Dakota)
DAY 06 167 miles || Deadwood & The Black Hills (Mount Rushmore National Memorial & Crazy Horse Memorial)
THE NORTHERN ROCKIES || Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, & Northern Utah
DAY 07 354 miles || Deadwood to Billings, Montana (via Devil’s Tower & Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monuments)
DAY 08 262 miles || Billings to West Yellowstone, Montana (via the Beartooth Highway & Yellowstone National Park)
DAY 09 227 miles || West Yellowstone to Jackson, Wyoming (via Yellowstone National Park & Grand Teton National Park)
DAY 10 280 miles || Jackson to Salt Lake City, Utah (via Alpine, Wyoming; & Montpelier, Paris, & Bear Lake, Idaho)
THE SOUTHWEST || Southern Utah, Arizona & New Mexico
DAY 11 330 miles || Salt Lake City to Panguitch, Utah (via Brian Head & Cedar Breaks National Monument)
DAY 12 273 miles || Panguitch to Page, Arizona (via Bryce Canyon National Park, & Zion National Park)
DAY 13 307 miles || Page (Horseshoe Bend) & Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim)
DAY 14 175 miles || Page to Kayenta, Arizona (via Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona & Monument Valley, Utah)
DAY 15 252 miles || Kayenta to Durango, Colorado (via Monument Valley, Utah, the Four Corners Monument, & New Mexico)
THE ROCKIES || Colorado
DAY 16 348 miles || Durango to Leadville, Colorado (via Wolf Creek Pass & Monarch Pass)
DAY 17 299 miles || Leadville to Estes Park, Colorado (via Independence Pass, Aspen, Berthoud Pass, & Rocky Mountain National Park)
THE GREAT PLAINS || Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri & Arkansas
DAY 18 307 miles || Estes Park to Cheyenne, Wyoming (via Laramie, Como Bluff, Medicine Bow, & Buford, Wyoming)
DAY 19 404 miles || Cheyenne to Burwell, Nebraska (via Scotts Bluff National Monument & Carhenge, Nebraska)
DAY 20 407 miles || Burwell to Kansas City, Missouri (via Spalding, Nebraska; SW Iowa; & Omaha, Nebraska)
DAY 21 286 miles || Kansas City to St Louis, Missouri
DAY 22 322 miles || St Louis to Memphis, Tennessee (via Dyess, Arkansas)
THE SOUTH || Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama & Georgia
DAY 23 308 miles || Memphis to Vicksburg, Mississippi (via Clarksdale, Yazoo City & Bentonia, Mississippi)
DAY 24 336 miles || Vicksburg to Prattville, Alabama (via Selma, Alabama)
DAY 25 297 miles || Prattville to Cornelia, Georgia (via Montgomery, Alabama & Stone Mountain, Georgia)
THE APPALACHIANS || Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia & West Virginia
DAY 26 261 miles || Cornelia to Asheville, North Carolina (via Helen & Brasstown Bald, Georgia & Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina)
DAY 27 200 miles || Asheville to Galax, Virginia (via the Blue Ridge Parkway)
DAY 28 004 miles || Galax, Virginia
DAY 29 354 miles || Galax to Lewisburg, West Virginia (via the Blue Ridge Parkway & Shenandoah National Park)
KENTUCKY & THE GREAT LAKES || Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana & Illinois
DAY 30 404 miles || Lewisburg to Lexington, Kentucky (via Chesapeake, Ohio; Cordell, Kentucky; & Sandy Hook, Kentucky)
DAY 31 241 miles || Lexington to Beaver Dam, Kentucky (via Lincoln Homestead State Park & Mammoth Cave National Park)
DAY 32 190 miles || Beaver Dam to Bloomington, Indiana (via Rosine & Owensboro, Kentucky)
DAY 33 282 miles || Bloomington to Chicago, Illinois (via Indianapolis, Indiana)
DAYS 34-36 017 miles || Chicago, Illinois