We left off in Memphis, roughly 2,000 miles into the trip. We were finally out of the dessert South and as soon as we drove North just the slightest bit it was all humidity, humidity, humidity. Following some TN barbeque and a visit to Sun Studios we left Memphis for
This is the only stop on our trip that we didn’t have a friend to stay with so we Air BnB’d. It was awesome and crazy affordable. We were only here for one day and one night and while we say the arc (which is insanely beautiful) and ate T-Rav what we really cared about was The City Museum. Trying t describe it friends upon our return feels almost impossible. It’s not really a museum most of the time. No, most of the time it is a 10 story building that houses a playground for adults. Except kids are invited too. It’s not like Disney Land or even Six Flags where everything is about precaution and plastic and padding. I’m a grown woman and I ripped my T-shirt, bumped my head (an embarrassingly large number of times for someone as short as myself) , bruised my knees, and scraped my entire back. There is so much. We spent around 5 hours there and truthfully, we left because we were exhausted not because there was nothing left t do.
Highlights include: an old fashioned Ferris wheel ride on the roof, standing inside a real school bus that hangs precariously off the building, climbing the underside of a dome to come out of the top, going down a 10 story spiral slide (from the roof to the bottom floor) , playing vintage video/pinball games, finding ourselves walking out of the mouth of a life-size whale, climbing through a maze of caves that run below the building, scaling a metal fence to reach a small airplane suspended in mid air, and then walking on the wings of that airplane and then finally a giant ball pit with giant balls (see photo above). I encourage you to check out the website and for god’s sake go visit. It is maybe one of the coolest things in America.
After St. Louis we headed to Chicago. Chicago was the first city that felt remotely close to NYC. We took the subway the entire time we were there and we walked so much (read: many blisters). It was a great change of pace from all of those driving cities. We explored Wicker Park and Lincoln Park and had way too much fun at The Bean. I fell in love with the water: walking the paths that surround the rivers, taking the water taxi along the river, dangling our feet over Lake Michigan – it was just magical. I also was mesmerized by the architecture. The city is a veritable playground for architecture lovers and while I’m no student of the skyscrapers, I know when to be impressed. Architecture boat tour is the thing to do.
Our last and final stop. The landscape changed and we knew we were close to home. I loved how mountainous this city was. It made me feel like we were in San Francisco. Something about this being our last spot made both Michael and I a little bit more adventurous. My favorite area was definitely Southside Flats. It’s a funky little stretch of street that has a Brooklyn feel but everything is half the price. Lots of vintage, charming cafes, grimy delis, aging antique stores. The Southside slopes lay above the flats and they feel completely separate from the busy buzz of Carson St. It is all mountains thick with trees and winding roads. If we lived in Pittsburgh we’d play on the flats and live on the slopes and pretend we lived way out in the country.
P.S. My favorite vintage place was Yesterday’s News (I bought beautiful leather boots for $25!)
So that was it friends. Across the country in 16 days. We loved, we learned, we got lost, we stayed up late, we woke up early, we saw a double rainbow and thought we might die in a thunderstorm, we listened to a LOT of Malcolm Gladwell books-on-tape, we fought, we played, we laughed and we drove straight for a very long time. I still can’t believe we actually did it.
Now we are home, and isn’t home a lovely place?