25-26th May 2013
This was a 2 days trip planned with the office colleagues. Almost after one year I had this opportunity to go out of Chicago. The plan was to leave home on Saturday 25th May morning and return back on Sunday 26th May evening. Saturday's plan was to visit Apple River Forest Park by noon and spend some time including Lunch break. Sandip/Vishaka were picked-up on at 8:30am and started our journey to "Apple River Forest Park" It took 4 and half hr to reach the park with one routine break. Due to long construction on the way at I-90 we delayed almost by an hour to the park.
The Park seems calm and scenic. Luckily the park had less vistors hence we could spend our time as per our wish. We saw one family doing fishing in the river. Saw few birds in the jungle. At 3:30pm we started our further journey to Hotel where our rooms were reserverd where other colleague Nitin and his Family were supposed to join us. It took one hrs to reach hotel and seems nice place at first instance the overall area around Missicipi River. Saw few dear's on the way.
After Checking in the Hotel we drove to the River bank close to the Hotel. One can see the Hotel from the bank easily as the Valley is been cleaned for recreational activities like winter sking, sledging and lift. Tanuja was excited to participated in the sledging and car lift inspite of my unwillingness. These service were closed for the day due to the rain. Though we enjoyed the view for some time at the bank and planned for the next day actvities.
Sunday we did a small walk to near by tourist point had breakfast and reserved our seat for the 90 minutes Missicipi River tour. We were enlightened by the information/knowledge shared by the tour guide on the way. Saw lots of White head eagle and some scenic view inspite of cloudy/rainy whether made the tour less attractive from photographic point of view. As soon we reached the tour end point the rain started pouring. Also my daughter went on sleep still Tanuja wanted to take the car lift to reach thew Hotel from the River bank. The lift service was on just due to boat tour participants to get back to Hotel instead of waiting in the boat for the hotel van to take us back. Finally we took that route by car lift since that was enjoyable ride than regular road ride. We pulled the poncho provied by hotel and went on in the rain. It was enjoyable ride but risky with small children as there is no provision of saftey in the seat. I held my daughter close and as tight as possible. It took 10-15 minutes to reach top. Immediately we went to Hotel lobby to get oursefl dry.
After some time by noon 2pm we had our lunch in the car itself and decided to move on the Galena main street to see area. Visited Wine and chees factory shop though the rain started pouring. Baught some wine/cheese from the shop with variety of Cheese testing and started return journey to home around 3:30pm. We took small break the same Plaza where we did on Saturday. Dropped Sandip/Vishaka at sheridian.
For me it was best driving experience and made sure my new car engine worked fine at 80 mile per hr speed. Drove close to 350miles in 2 days. Also pletny of opprtunity for short trails in the area feel future hope that I will explore sometime later. Thanks to Sandip for excellent navigational support and Nitin for initiating the outing plan. It gave me lot of needed fresh air and out of office work thoughts.