That Time We Went on an RV Trip to the Midwest: Week 2: Illinois and Wisconsinย Week 2 is over, 2 states in a week, 500 miles under our belt, 21 places visited and 2 campgrounds and 2 hotels explored! ๐ŸšŽ๐Ÿ’จ๐ŸŒ‡โ›ฒ๏ธ๐ŸŸ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿง€๐Ÿฅ›

Week 1 was a busy week as we journeyed through NY, NJ, PA, OH, MI and IN…We left Indianapolis and began our journey to Illinois!

Most of the driving we do is under 3 hours so it’s very doable with the kids. โœ”๏ธWe decided to head to the land of Lincoln first- Springfield, Illinois. Obviously you have to pay your respects to Abe! ๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

We stopped for a peak inside the Springfield, Illinois Capitol building and then set off to explore.

Near the old Capitol building we stumbled upon Senator Tammy Duckworth’s Senate office and we stopped inside for a quick chat.

If you didn’t know who she is: “Duckworth was the first Asian American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first disabled woman to be elected to Congress, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand. An Iraq War veteran, Duckworth served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot and suffered severe combat wounds, losing both of her legs and damaging her right arm. She was the first female double amputee from the war.”

I wanted to my girls to hear about her story and we were so lucky that her commander was there and came out to tell us the story of the day she was shot down. Basically she was the pilot of the Black Hawk helicopter and she was flying in Iraq doing a mission. A rocket was shot at their helicopter and a one in a million Chance flew right inside their helicopter and landed on her lap and exploded. “She lost her right leg near the hip and her left leg below the knee[12] from injuries sustained on November 12, 2004, when the UH-60 Black Hawkhelicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents.” He told the story with tears in his eyes and it was really incredible to listen to. The other pilot was able to land the helicopter in enemy territory, even though they thought she might have been dead they continued on to save her. There was another helicopter flying with them who landed with them. They transferred her and the crew into the other helicopter and headed for safety. She was put into a medical coma and then eventually transferred to Walter Reed where she stayed almost a year. She eventually ran for Congress and won and then in 2016 she was elected as the junior Senator in Illinois!

Then we headed to the Old Capitol to see where President Lincoln used to hear cases.

The next stop was the Lincoln Museum where the kids got a really good history on President Lincoln and his family.

We ended the day by visiting his house and going to the cemetery to visit his tomb. ๐ŸŽฉIt was a pretty incredible moment being a few feet away from the tomb that holds this historic significant figure.

The views of the Illinois farmlands were so beautiful and GREEN! ๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒณ

How could I have forgot? The Illinois County Fair that we went to last night. ๐ŸŽก๐ŸŽข๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ–

It was the first time I really felt out of my element, when we visited the livestock area. I found out that a lot of farmers show their animals and then oftentimes the animals are sent to be slaughtered after this. That was really sad, but we admired all the cute animals.

Ok so the next morning we were finally heading to CHICAGO!

I was very excited for this highlight and also looking forward to changing things up in a big city! Fun fact do you know that Route 66 starts in Chicago? It ends on the Santa Monica Pier!

We were lucky to find an RV parking lot at McCormick Lot and we taxied over to the downtown area. ๐Ÿš– We started the day at the Art Institute of Chicago. ๐ŸŽจ

I gotta say my kids actually really enjoyed it. We always play a game in art museums where we start at the gift shop and the kids each pick out a set amount of their favorite paintings. Then we race around the museum seeing who can find all their painting first. Their instinct is just to run and run but I remind them that part of playing the game is to 1. Make sure they look at every painting because they may miss theirs 2. Stop and admire a painting of they like it 3. Notice the techniques, colors and themes 4. Try to read their artists names as they whiz by. I was shocked to see how much Shane enjoyed the game even at 4 years old! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ We saw some Picassos, Monets, Van Goghs, Pollacks, Manets and more…

After the art museum we headed over to Millenium Park where we checked off some famous sites: the Bean, the Crown Fountains โ›ฒ๏ธwith their interacted LED screens, and the Pritzker Pavillion for shows.

Then we headed to Maggie Daly park to test out their scooter track. ๐Ÿ›ด

After a late lunch we headed uptown for a long walk. We past over the Michigan Street Bridge and had our first views of the Chicago River

and had the unfortunate opportunity to see this dreadful Building littering the skyline.

and headed over to Navy Pier. ๐ŸŒ‰

At that point we were exhausted and it was PERFECT timing to relax in the sun on the Architectural Boat Tour of the Chicago River. ๐ŸŒ‡โ›ด

The tour was incredible, spectacular and really opened our eyes to the unique and beautiful modern Chicago skyline.

We walked by Navy Pier as he sun was setting.โš“๏ธ

Navy pier is where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan!

We ended our night at the Hampton Social for dinner. It was a loooong day, 7 miles walked!๐Ÿ˜ฒ

The next day, was oddly COLD๐ŸŒซ, which was fine because we spent several hours at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Now THIS was a museum! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐ŸฝProbably the best science museum I’ve ever been to! The kind where you need a few days to cover it all. But we focused on Space๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒ›, Farming๐Ÿšœ, Coal Mining โšซ๏ธ(compliments of Trump) and the exploration section.

After we were tired out we headed to the Sky Deck of the Sears Tower.

It is now known as the Willis Tower and we got some awesome pics standing on the glass Skydeck over 100 stories in the sky! ๐Ÿ”ญ๐Ÿ“ธ

You can see Wisconsin to the North, Lake Michigan to the East, more of Illinois to the South and the direction of Iowa to the West. ๐Ÿ—บ

Then we stopped by Wrigley Field for a pic ๐ŸŸand ended the night eating Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s. ๐Ÿ•

I loved loved Chicago and we probably could have explored around for at least another day and did the museums at Navy Pier. Before we left Illinois we mad a pitstop at the most amazing doll store ever.

Whereas the Doll Outlet had hundreds of brand new dolls and babies, Gigi’s Dolls and Sherry’s Teddy Bears was a used doll, stuffed animal and dollhouse miniatures museum! What should have been a quick stop turned into an almost 2 hour ordeal. They had dolls spanning from the late 1800s to current day with American Girl and Adora Dolls.

Hailey decided she wants to start collecting doll house furniture for a doll house she wants to build.

This place was seriously incredible they must have had at least 30 Shirley Temples ranging from the 1930- to the late 50s!

After lunch at the FIRST McDonalds in the United States

it was time to move on tooooo…Wisconsin!๐ŸšŽ๐Ÿ’จ

It was only a hour and a half drive to Milwaukee which was nice! Since there was no campgrounds nearby we chose to stay at our first hotel Knickerbocker on the Lake. We started our day at the Harley Davidson Museum which was really cool! ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ›ต

๐ŸฉWe spent the afternoon playing on Lake Michigan, which I was surprised to see how much it looks like East Coast beaches: White sand and small waves.๐Ÿ–

Perfect for the kids to let out steam and the boys to wade around in their floaties. ๐ŸŒŠ

The next morning we headed West towards the Capitol of Madison.

Since we were in the dairy heartland of America I decided that it would be a good idea to teach us city folk a thing or two about farming. ๐ŸšœWe had an incredible experience at Hinchley’s Dairy Farm. ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ”The highlight was milking a cow and bottle feeding a 12 hour old new calf. ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฅ›

We learned so much and gained such appreciation for farmers and what it takes for us to get our food that we take for granted. ๐Ÿฅš๐Ÿณ๐Ÿฅ›๐Ÿง€We ended the day by driving through the University of Wisconsin and eating in their college town. ๐Ÿ“š

The college students are so lucky to have a campus surrounded by several lakes!

I decided to take the wheel for my first “long” drive as we made our way to Iowa. ๐ŸšŽ

It was a little under 2 hours and I got the chance to really appreciate the beauty of rolling Wisconsin farm fields.๐Ÿž

We pulled into Dubuque, Iowa just as night fell. One one side of the bridge was Wisconsin and on the other side was Iowa!

We were welcomed by the dazzling lights along the Mississippi River! ๐ŸŒ‰

Wow! It’s the famous Mississippi! We decided to stay at hotel with an Indoor Waterpark called Grand Harbor which we thought would be a fun way to start Week 3 in Iowa! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐ŸŽ‰

One thought on “That Time We Went on an RV Trip to the Midwest: Week 2: Illinois and Wisconsinย Week 2 is over, 2 states in a week, 500 miles under our belt, 21 places visited and 2 campgrounds and 2 hotels explored! ๐ŸšŽ๐Ÿ’จ๐ŸŒ‡โ›ฒ๏ธ๐ŸŸ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿง€๐Ÿฅ›

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