31 May 2011

Curves and angles

This has been our longest travel day of the trip both in time and in distance.  Dearborn -- Hyatt Regency just off Michigan Avenue -- to Chicago -- Embassy Suites Downtown, mostly on I-94, almost 300 miles and nearly seven hours, including a one hour time change.  I did some writing aboard the coach in my last row nest, along with some pretty serious napping. 

Looking across the
Hyatt's atrium at the
open corridors
I am surprised by the fatigue I am experiencing.  One would think that not having to drive or to plot the route would leave me rested.  But, that is not the case.  At the moment, however, despite the length of the day, it seems as though I walked out of a curvy hotel one minute and into an angular one the next.
Detail (in black and white) of the circular six-story light fixture
in atrium of the Hyatt Regency, Dearborn MI

The Embassy Suite's open --
and straight-sided -- atrium
See what I mean?  Spacious, more airy and open than Dearborn.  Not as soft or as enveloping. I find it intriguing that, when I walk into either one (or a charming B&B or a nice Hampton Inn for that matter), I respond very positively.  Which do I like better?  I would be hard-pressed to say.  For tonight, squared-off is good.

The ceiling/roof of the Embassy Suites Downtown, looking up and toward the elevator lobbies.  The pattern is distinct, making locating the building with Google Earth a snap.

Our in transit hours, though, were not without highlights -- beyond the napping and writing. 
  • Our lunch was at an Olive Garden in the vicinity of Kalamazoo.  Our experience, Tal's and mine, with that chain is that service is slow.  But, not today.  A staff of five was standing by when the coach pulled into the parking lot.  We were seated in a reserved dining room, ate sumptuously (salad and their signature bread sticks for me) and were back on the interstate in slightly over an hour.
  • Despite still sitting on the left side of the bus, I spied two intriguing signs -- also while we were near Kalamazoo.  The town of Portage MI declares itself "a place for opportunities to grow."  I'd like to know more about that.  And, I also spotted a sign for the Air Zoo.  That I have since looked up -- an aviation museum and amusement park (located where? why Portage, of course).  It boasts an impressive array of aircraft, including a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.  I could be convinced to go exploring ...
  • Since we were, on the original itinerary (on Plans A and B, in fact, the bus adventure being Plan C) supposed to spend a day at Mackinac Island, near the intersection of Lakes Michigan and Huron, we watched an hour+ long DVD, "Ice Bridge," about the three-mile span of ice that some winters allows islanders to pass to the mainland.  This link will take you to a minute and a half preview of the DVD if you'd like to take a look.  We didn't get to spend the day and the DVD didn't really help with the attendant loss, but the show was truly lovely. 
  • I wrote in my journal "3:35 ...  Lake Michigan."  I don't know what our precise location was for that first view and I don't know what time zone it was.  From that sight, however, its vastness was evident.

As I watched from the corridor outside our room, a couple
of teenagers coming from the pool stopped by the table
where an adult they knew was sitting, leaving their wet foot-
prints on the stone/tile/slate floor. 
 So, we're in Chicago.  I'll sign off with two final images, other views that captured my attention after our arrival.

The view from our room is north.  Through a canyon of tall buildings and over several parking garages one can see the tower (with flags flying) of the Montgomery Ward Memorial Building at Northwestern University.

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