How To Drive All Over Chicagoland Without Seeing A Thing. Almost.

You people never cease to amaze me.

I slipped a little somethin’ somethin’ into yesterday’s post, wondering if anyone would catch it, and I was thrilled when I got Sue’s comment:

“The most perplexing part of your post was this: ‘most of which were closed (I didn’t check hours and such before we got on the road)’ You are the organized travel/event queen! Could there be a chink in your armor?”

Well SUE, of course there could be! I’m not perfect, you know!

Here’s what happened. It was a Friday in the summer, a couple of years ago. Julesie was not working that day, and so we arranged to take the boys on a field trip, hitting a few Chicagoland fun spots that we hadn’t tried before. Like an idiot, I PLANNED (see, Sue knows!) a great itinerary that would start us on the north side of Chicago and eventually get us to the south side.

NOTE: Don’t try this at home.

First stop? Superdawg, for lunch. (“Hiya!”) Yum.

And yes, Superdawg was open. We enjoyed our delicious all-beef hot dogs and french fries, served to us in our car by a very friendly car hop.

After lunch, we headed to a magic shop further into the city. Traffic was a…bear. (Friday, you know.) It took us forever and a day (<---slight exaggeration. Maybe only half of forever and a day.) to get there, and when we finally found it, it was open, but we couldn't find any parking. None. Nada. Zilch. So we ditched to go on to the next thing, which was The Boring Store. (Yes, you’ll have to click it. So cool.) We were really, really excited to check out this place because it’s a supplier of spy gadgets and other such awesomeness, all sold in plain brown packaging supposed to be pretty boring.


The great news? We found parking right in front.


The bad news? We practically ran to the door, grabbed the handle to open it, and couldn’t budge it. Closed.


Silly us: we thought it was part of the ruse and tried to find a secret entrance, but alas, there was none. The store was closed.

So let me do a recap.

Superdawg for lunch: check!
Lots of traffic.
No parking by the magic shop.
Lots of traffic.
The Boring Store is closed.

By this time, we had one activity left, and it was all the way on the south side. This was poor planning. It was Friday, and the place might as well have been in Europe. I don’t remember exactly how long it took us to get to the Original Rainbow Cone, but I DO remember that we were in standstill traffic on Western Avenue alone for at least ninety minutes.

I had a work meeting that evening and I was totally stressed out. (Did I mention that, in the morning when we left, I was worried that I sped by one of those interstate speed cameras and thought I’d be getting a $300 speeding ticket in the mail two weeks later? No? Well, there you go.)

You know it’s been a bad day when your kids are in the back seat saying, “Mom, really, we don’t NEED ice cream. We can go home!”

It was too late. I felt like Clark Griswold (NSFW!) when he went berserk in the car (though I wasn’t taking anything out on my kids!). I was determined that we would get a freakin’ delicious ice cream cone if it killed us. We were too close to turn around for home.

In the end, we got that freakin’ delicious ice cream cone, and it was one of the best I’ve ever tasted. We ordered them to go, and after a whopping ten minutes out of the car, we headed towards home, arriving there about ninety minutes later, exhausted and in disbelief that we drove all day to eat hot dogs and ice cream.

At least it was memorable, right?

Oh, and one more thing. What I wrote in yesterday’s post about how “most” of the places were closed?

1. It only seemed like it.


2. That was not the first time that summer that we headed out to have fun and realized I didn’t check hours. It was the third. You’d think I’d learn.


©2010 Suburban Scrawl


  • As Cape Cod Turns

    That did sound like a trip to Wally World, but unlike Clark, you are a planner. It wasn't your fault there was traffic and the people at the Boring store were too bored to open. I would go on a road trip just for hot dogs and ice cream 🙂

  • Dawn

    Sorry, but the story about the kids saying that they really didn't NEED ice cream you and saying that you were getting ice cream cracked me up! Kinda reminded me of the time you made that ABC scrapbook and had it all planned for Disney before you left and knew what to take pictures of for each letter. You forced the boys to ride Dumbo and to smile whether they liked it or not. Too hilarious!

  • LceeL

    Planning has its place, I suppose, but I like spontaneity. If it's closed, it's closed. Actually, this drives my wife nuts. She calls it my "If She Dies" attitude – and it makes her crazy. She, too, is a planner.

    I, on the other hand, am like the REALLY old guy in the joke – the one that marries the really young woman and then, in answer to questions about what will happen when they make love, says, "If she dies, she dies."

    Besides – you haven't forgotten that trip, now have you?

  • Katie

    That boring store website is the COOLEST ever! I just wasted so much time there. LOL. If I'm ever in Chicago, that will be a must-visit!

  • Tara R.

    It's good to know I'm not the only one to do this. I keep forgetting that living in a tourist town means there is such a thing as "summer hours." That can mess up an itinerary too.

  • Heather

    I really can't say a word because we drive 2.5 hours for Portillos at least once a month. No joke. hahahha. And we do it ON PURPOSE!

  • Momo Fali

    Is it weird that I thought it would be fun to sit in traffic with you? Though…it would be better if there weren't any kids in the back, and we had a driver and margaritas.

  • Michelle

    I love it. I haven't seen Vacation in far too long…. You are far more ambitious than I am though. I can't do more than one or two locations in a day. And all the way north side to south side? Wellllll maybe that's why I'd never heard of Rainbow Cone 😉