Day 5: July 22, 2015
Dixie's Done

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Just a few miles after restarting at the Arche Fountain, I was surprised to find this delightful mural. This is in Homewood and I was aware of and looking for the park in the second picture but not the mural. I've since learned that the town has two more Dixie Highway murals which I missed. The brown metal sign was erected in 2003. The white one was put up just this year in connection with the Dixie Highway's centennial. Although they won't permit reading of all the fine print, closer photos of the signs are here and here. The Dixie Highway name remains on quite a few streets in the area which leads to some cool directional signs.

There are a few more open spaces to pass through but downtown Chicago comes up fairly quickly. It's congested but not terribly so. In fact, reaching the beginning/end of the Dixie Highway seems almost too easy. But there it is. There's Washington & Michigan. I roll through the intersection and the 5,786 mile long Dixie Highway is clinched at last.

ADDENDUM: Aug 12, 2015 - I don't want to mislead anyone. The official terminus, if there was one, was most likely at Jackson Boulevard & Michigan Avenue. That's where the 1916 Scarborough guide and others place it. The us-highways.com directions use Washington & Michigan as did some early tours. Adams & Michigan was also used. By ending at Washington & Michigan, I drove through all the possibilities.


I pull into a parking garage and head to Millennium Park. The park opened in 2004 but this is my first visit. One of the few things I know of in the park is Cloud Gate, a.k.a. The Bean. It is near the Michigan and Washington intersection and I've jokingly equated getting to The Bean with finishing the Dixie Highway. It is visible from the street and my first Tweet after the clinch was a Lewis and Clarkish "Bean in view. O the joy". I snapped this picture of it as I entered the park but I saved actually approaching it. Other things grabbed my attention...

...such as the projection screens/fountains/wading pools...

...tall buildings and sculptures and the amphitheater where a rehearsal for the evening's classical music concert was in progress.

At last I made my way to Cloud Gate. Though there was a sneak peek at the park's 2004 opening, the polished stainless steel sculpture was not revealed in its entirety until 2006. I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like with no other people present but visitors and their interactions with the curved reflective surface are part of the attraction. It really is like one big fun-house mirror. The artist, Anish Kapoor, got his inspiration from liquid mercury. After taking a number of photos, I paused at the nearby cafe for a beer. As I sipped my Goose Island Blue Line pilsner, I couldn't resist just one more shot of The Bean.

For many, Indianapolis to Chicago is a three hour drive. I'd done it in three days. Actually more like two and a half as it was now just past noon of the third day. I had plans to meet a friend northwest of Chicago but it was way too early for that. A tavern that I'd earlier ruled out, was restored to my itinerary. Less than two weeks ago, Dave, the owner of Boston's Bistro in Dayton, Ohio, told me that he liked to think of his place as the "Maproom of Dayton". I said "What's that"" and Dave told me about the 20+ year old beer-centric bar in Chicago. So, when extra time materialized on my schedule, I was ready. That's nitro powered Porter Joe from the Wisconsin Brewing Company in the glass. The Maproom's website is here.

Then it got even more spontaneous. Tim Steil, who I've known digitally for quite awhile, lives in Chicago but I had no idea where. His response to my "Bean in view" post led to mention of a near-to-him drive-in he thought I'd like. He was right about the drive-in and it was pretty much on the path from Millennium Park to the Maproom to my destination of Elgin, Illinois. There have been some improvements over the years but the Superdawg® Drive-in remains right where it has been since 1948. In 2010, the original Milwaukee & Devon location was joined by a second restaurant just up the road in Wheeling, Illinois. I arrived a little ahead of Tim and grabbed a few pictures. We then toasted our first in-person meeting at a patio table with a shake for him and a Black Cow for me. Tim's treat. Much appreciated.

When we connected in Elgin, my friend, Cort Stevens, had a few suggestions for dinner. We settled on In the Neighborhood where we downed some really good sandwiches while chatting on the patio.

I'm using this panel to share all three selfies I took today which means I'm also using it to show why I don't take more selfies. The first is with The Bean, the second with Tim, and the third with Cort.


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