Day 21: Chicagoland

Still wrapping up the suburbs of Chicago.  Tomorrow, we  should finally, really, enter Iowa.  Time to start prioritizing and calculating soon I’m afraid.  I glanced at my Iowa stack today and it looks like I could spend two weeks there alone but I only have about 10 days left on this trip. Plus I do have to spend a day in Cincy and get back home to NYC.

It was a fun but fairly unproductive day.  The fun part was definitely not the traffic — road construction mostly.  Plus, of course, there was more rain.  I saw the aftermath of two car accidents today and was glad not to be part of them.  I also saw two arrests — cop cars everywhere and arrestees standing with their hands on walls and cars.  I was really in the outer suburbs — newly developed so not a hope of being surprised with running into any old stuff.

To break up the monotony, I scheduled in several dog parks.  In the morning, just to take the edge off, we stopped at a nice big human park in Morton Grove.  Big signs saying dogs must be on-leash. So we went to the furthest corner and kept an eye out for rangers or any park-users that might be annoyed by us.  One of the nice things about the Chicago area is that they have carefully protected lots of natural space called “preserves”.  North of Chicago, there are more than a dozen spaces specifically for dogs.  We  all wish there was time to check out all of them but I made a point to get to two today.  These photos were taken at the amazing Libertyville Dog Exercise Area which had foresty trails and an enormous lake.  It was well-fenced but not enough for naughty little Grem who squeezed through for about ten minutes of chipmunking.
http://www.lcfpd.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.details&intObjectId=23892

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Superstar, Petunia, Boobanooski, & Edith (the names I call them frequently instead of Gripper, Gremlin, Sputnik & Fix)

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Much later, we went to the Schweitzer Woods dog park in West Dundee.  No lake but plenty big and fenced.  Foresty trails towards the back and this time Grem went missing for about 15 minutes.  I put the three others in the van and figured we might be spending the night there with me screaming her name incessantly while hoping she wasn’t all the way off in another state.  But then she came charging down a hillside at top speed — maybe she heard the van doors slamming and thought she’d better catch up to us?

Here’s one to add to the previous barber shop sign photos & discussion on this trip.  I can’t say if these two barber shop signs in Chicago were operational — too early in the day for them to be open.  Note another of those classic rooftop steel sign things supporting the rooftop sign.  Maybe they did use these things for all kinds of signs.  But they sure seem funny now when they have cheap, lightweight plastic signs hanging from them.

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This sign doubles as bird nursery.  At Scot Cleaners in Evanston:

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I have never seen a wrap-around arrow sign like this before.  Unfortunately, the stores in this little strip mall were as updated and boring as could be.  Had to chop them out of the photo.  In Skokie:

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So, ordinarily, I don’t put the pet cemetery photos here in the blog (and probably some of you wish I’d leave them out of Flickr as well!).  But, since this was a low volume photo-day… and since I got to talking to one of the groundskeepers at the Aarrowood Pet Cemetery and thought it might make a good topic.

As I was wandering about taking my photos, I noticed a car pull out and a hunched over woman who must’ve been at least 90 go to a gravesite.  She took some measurements with a fabric tape and then got back in the car.  I then noticed the driver couldn’t have been much younger.  Slowly off they went.  The groundskeeper guy said that she comes about once a month.  He said there are several people that come every single day at the same time.  “Tippy’s” owner comes every day for a visit at 2pm:

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I don’t think I would have the inner strength to keep such a vigil over a gravesite.  I find it fascinating and moving that other people do.  I could not deal with death and loss on a daily basis.  I have no plans to bury my own dogs and I don’t believe in heaven or hell.  But as for communing with my doggies’ spirits once in awhile — yeah, maybe.  I don’t know where our loved ones’ souls goes when their bodies die.  I do like to think they hover about us and give us guidance and protect us now and then. 

Well then.  Hopefully, I’ll be writing to you from Iowa tomorrow and the sun will be out.

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