First, in honor of the weekend, a Scavenger Hunt that I did years ago in Chicago, after a 4-mile walk down the Lake Michigan shoreline with Ad and W. I had a couple of reminders about that trip while I was in Chicago this last time, so it seemed fitting that I would do a Throwback Thursday Scavenger Hunt featuring it. I tried to find the posts I wrote about the trip in Kink & Poly, so I could reference it for anyone was interested in reading about it, but that was a little too deep down memory lane, and I gave up. In any case, the memory of these pictures makes me happy. It was a trip where W and Ad and I had brought W’s granddaughter’s moose stuffie along with us and took pictures of it everywhere, so he could share his travels with her. And where, when we stopped in front of the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, and looked up at it towering 196 feet above us, I knew I had to get a Scavenger Hunt – and make a new location.
Okay, on to Chicago, this time around.
First, to set the stage: My friend R is from Madison, Wisc. We met 7 or so years ago during her – and our – first Tryst (a kink camping event in Indiana.) We hit it off immediately and spent a lot of time together at that one and then successive Trysts, a MadTownKinkfest, and a Spanksgiving. Every time it was like we had just hung up the phone the day before, rather than gone almost a year since seeing each other. We are friends on FB, and we comment on and support each other there, and occasionally chat, but not a whole lot. This time was the same. She had made an offhand remark about the “Tilt” tourist attraction at the observation deck on the 94th floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago. “Who wants to go?” she posted. “Me me me!” I responded…and then we actually did it. She has a friend in Chicago that she stays with and that was willing to host us, I had frequent flyer miles, we bought tickets for Tilt and Groupons for a Korean spa, and we met in Chicago for a fast and furious weekend of touristing, talking, reminiscing and friendship.
The first wonderful thing was bonding almost instantly with R’s friend, T. We have many things in common: crocheting, a love of dogs, a lover who had recently passed unexpectedly, even playing Pokemon Go! And after that it was all blue skies – even after R had car trouble that could have sidelined all our plans. But we found a garage that was nearby and that could make the repair that day, found a show store to browse in (only browse – these shoes were $800+!), a delicious Mexican restaurant to eat in, and a Crate & Barrel to wander around and dream in while the repair was being made.
Once we had the car back, we realized we didn’t have time to go to Tilt. I called them to ask about a refund since we had missed our ride time, but they said we could come anytime – they weren’t just for that day. We shifted our plans to do it the next day. Pondering what to do with our free time before the play party that night, we Googled stores with tarot cards, because R was lamenting having left her cards behind. We found one very nearby and headed there. I ended up with set of beautiful new cards, and we found a place to read them in. R did an overview of the cards for me, as I am new at reading them, and then did a very spot-on reading for me, after which I did a mini layout for her and she did a reading for T. Then it was time for the play party!
We had decided to attend a singletail workshop that a friend of R’s was giving. He turned out to be a charismatic storyteller, and was, as expected, quite the whipmaster. And, somehow, out of everyone present, he called me up from the back of the crowd to help him in one part of the demo. You should have seen me looking around..”Who, me?…” “Yes, you, the little redhead in the back…” LOL It was fun. No actual contact with the whip, just a little demonstration of fearful anticipation in a bottom. And of me turning bright red in front of a crowd. Because, crowds. None of us actually played that night, though R had brought her needles in the hope of doing a needle scene with me. But I’d been up since 4am and was running on nervous energy by that time, so we shelved the idea.
The next day we went up to the 94th floor Observation Deck in the John Hancock building, which was fantastic! Tilt was only so-so, but I loved the observation deck and could have hung out there for hours. (Oh, did I mention that we somehow lucked into free parking everywhere we went? Even in downtown Chicago! The parking fairies were with us.) That was also the day that, in our travels, we drove right by the mural that W and I had walked by on one of our Chicago trips. It sent a jolt through me when I saw it, and all the memories flooded my mind, but they were happy memories, and I was glad to have the mural bring them back. (Heh…was that the trip that we bought my nJoy Eleven…? Very happy memories then…) It’s getting better every day, and as I revisit some of the places we’d been before, I am finding only joy in remembering those times with him. Joy and gratitude that I had those times.
And in a spooky coincidence, the day I got back from the trip, this picture I took of Ad and I and W on the Ferris Wheel trip came back up in my “memories” on Facebook. Coincidence, or not? The machine knows all, no doubt.
Anyway…the conclusion of our trip was a visit to a “Korean Spa” – I’ll try to describe it, but you really have to just experience it to get it. It is a huge building, with numerous soaking pools, hot and cold, places to scrub yourself with oils, a steam room and at least 6 or 7 different kinds of saunas, from an “Ice” room (just what it sounds like) to various temperature rooms with different crystals and “healing properties.” There is a meditation area and an oxygen room, and a restaurant, lounging chairs and couches, a place to play board games and a dormitory-like room with loungers that lean all the way back into something like a bed – where, for a fee, you can actually sleep overnight. R and I spent a delightful 3 hours there, before I had to head back to the airport and home.
But I wasn’t quite done…at the airport a fellow traveler pulled up a stool beside me at the bar where I was having a glass of wine before my flight, and we proceeded to talk about everything and anything: love, loss, careers, bad decisions and good ones, travel and boyfriends and divorce and family. Just everything, until both our flights were announced. It was an amazing 90 minutes, and I confess to googling her afterwards just to learn a little more about her. (I didn’t learn much, and left it at that. I’m not a complete loon. lol)
So whew! That about wraps up my trip. I do hope it doesn’t have to hold me over for another two years before I can see R again!