Vacation: Day 7

I made it to Chicago safe and sound!

I also have free wireless internet access (though, I’m learning that a MacBook dual 1.83 with 512 MB RAM is much slower than a Power Mac G5 dual 2.5 with 4 GB RAM. Still, I’m updating the blog, as promised.

I didn’t update yesterday for a couple of reasons: first, I did nothing other than pack and prep for my trip, a relatively boring day; second, I didn’t want to unpack my laptop at my parents’ house (where I slept, so my sister could drive me to the airport this morning) just for the sake of posting a quick iWeb update. There were enough computers in the house to satisfy my web browsing needs.

Upon my arrival in Chicago, I immediately drove to my hotel -- the Baymont Inns & Suites in Hoffman Estates, Illinois -- to find where it was and see if I could check in early. I couldn’t, so I spent the next hour driving up and down Barrington Road/Rt. 58 to get a sense of the area. I eventually checked in, got everything set up and got completely unpacked. I’m going to be here for 10 days, I may as well get comfortable.

I watched the Cubs-Cardinals game in the afternoon, then went to the Woodfield Mall in the evening, before returning to catch the tail end of the White Sox-Orioles game (btw, when I say “watched” I mean on Comcast SportsNet, not in person. I will be going to a Cubs game at some point next week. I won’t be attending a White Sox game, since they’re on the road until I leave).

So, let me sum up my first day in Illinois with some pros and cons:

PRO: Picking up my rental car was easier than expected.
CON: The car is a tan Chevy Malibu.

PRO: That Chevy Malibu is actually nearly brand new (less than 1,000 miles on it) and runs very smooth.
CON: It has no way for me to hook up my iPod.

PRO: The Woodfield Mall has an Apple Store, at which I was able to purchase an iTrip to solve the above “no way for me to hook up my iPod” problem.
CON: I bought an iTrip.

PRO: There are plenty of places to eat within a reasonable distance of my hotel.
CON: I hadn’t quite anticipated how much I’ll probably be spending on food on this trip.

PRO: It’s very easy to get around here, with pretty much everything on main roads and very accessible highways.
CON: I-90 is a toll road, and not only that, the tolls are unmanned.

Wait, this deserves more of an explanation. See, when I left the rental car place, they did inform me that I-90 was a toll road. No problem, I figure, I’ve got $200 in cash in my wallet (normally I carry almost no cash, except what I need to buy dinner at the ESPN Café). Of course, they fail to tell me that I need change. Actual coins. Because the exit tolls are completely unmanned. Well, I got to one and had just the 20 cents I’d gotten as change for the entrance toll. So now, I have to go through Illinois’s stupid system to mail in my payment for the toll I was forced to go through, despite the fact that I had enough money in my car to pay for me and the next 400 cars through, because the state is too cheap to pay for manned toll booths. This would never happen in the northeast. Could you imagine the Garden State Parkway or the Jersey Turnpike without a manned tollbooth. That’d be retarded.

Oh well, I’m past that now, and just looking forward to Slay-a-thon on Saturday. Go Buffy!