Saturday, May 7, 2016

May 7: Chicago, IL > Memphis, TN

One of the reasons I dislike the Spring season is the unpredictability of the weather. This morning was a prime example. It was 81 the previous night, so why would I think I would need anything warm on the following day?

The walk to breakfast was downright freezing. It isn't called it the Windy City for nothing. Breakfast was at a place called Ann Sather's, a slice of Sweden in Chicago, complete with appropriate decor.

This was the start of the meal:

And the main course. The portions were HUGE. 

Lakeshore Drive was very pretty, even if Spring hadn't quite arrived yet.

The former Sears Tower:

The photo above highlights one of the problems I would continue to encounter: it's often impossible to take good photos while driving. 

The Blues Brother is one of my favorite movies, so being able to drive on some of the same roads they did and see the same sights, like the EL, made me very happy. 

After wandering around Chicago trying to find a place to mail postcards, I finally found my way to I-57 and south, to Memphis.


Illinois is pretty flat once you start heading south. The weather also started to clear up and get progressively warmer. 

I needed to stop for some more supplies for my camping kit, so when I reached Champaign IL I got off the highway and found a Meijer. I instantly fell in love with Meijer. I ended up getting a cutting board, the correct plastic containers for the cooler, some food and of course wine. 

The weather had really started to warm up (low 80's) and along with that warm front came a very impressive thunder and lightning rain storm. I witnessed a horizontal lightning bolt, something I had never seen before. 

I am quite fond of rest areas, and I stopped at Rend Lake, IL to use the toilet. This lake had been built as an Army Corp of Engineers project, and the rest area overlooked the pretty lake.

As the day progressed I made my way finally out of Illinois. Way back in Chicago the signpost said 496 miles to Memphis, and for the entire length of the state, North to South in I-57 there were signs for Memphis, with slowly decreasing miles. It was very depressing. I eventually crossed over the Missouri River.

In all my travels, I had always thought that somewhere along the line I had been in Arkansas. I realized on this trip that I had actually never been there. Cross off one more state!

Heading south on I-55 I saw a very pretty sunset. 

After what felt like an eternity, I finally reached Memphis. 

I headed back into Tennesee at around 8:40 PM, starving. At the recommendation of Steph, I headed directly to Central BBQ.

I was not disappointed in the meal, and that beer tasted damn good.

The original plan was to camp for almost all of the nights, but big cities don't lend themselves to campgrounds, so I ended up at Best Western fairly close to downtown Memphis. I'm glad I chose a hotel, I was exhausted and the thought of setting up a tent and cooking was just too much.