USA Arriving and Chicago

We had a pretty bumpy ride over to LA from Auckland, neither of us slept.  Even though we left Auckland at 4:30pm, we arrived in LA at 9:30am on the same day!  We had a room in a hotel near the airport booked for a night of good sleep, but neither of us slept well again.  Everything gets so much harder to accomplish when we are both so tired.

So LA was a bit of a blur, blue skies, cool wind, palm trees and homeless people.  We got a decent walk in but that was all.

Back to the airport the next day for a flight to Chicago.  That was a 4 our flight and went quite quickly.  We were picked up from the airport by a driver who was not quite the full quid.  He drove us and the other passengers very badly and it’s a wonder we got to our hotel at all.  We arrived at our hotel at about 8pm.  Driving into the city was amazing-it seemed so futuristic compared to Auckland.  Such tall buildings, bright lights and so many people.

We had 2 nights at the Palmer House Hilton which was a great place to stay, a beautiful historic building and centrally located. It was the city’s first hotel to have elevators and electric lights and telephones in the rooms.  Potter Palmer built the hotel for his new bride and it opened in 1871, but 13 days later it burnt down in the great Chicago fire.  He borrowed 1.7 mil, the largest loan in history at the time and rebuilt it.

Our 2 nights in Chicago was really about getting internet and phones set up, and getting accounts setup with the bank.  This all sounds straight forward but social security numbers or tax numbers are needed for everything here and we don’t have and will never have those as we are not here to work.  We got there in the end but it took all day.

We also need to buy a car to tow behind our RV and Stuart has researched the best one to be a Chevrolet Eqinox.  We are very limited to the car we can tow and want a nice one as we will be using it a lot while we are here, and will have it for 10 years.  Stuart has spent lots of time researching where these cars are being sold from and that also took his time up when we were in Chicago, so I did lots of exploring on my own which was most enjoyable.  These are some of images I took with my iphone camera while out exploring.

We left Chicago today-Fri 19th and picked up our rental car and drove out to a couple car saleyards.  We have seen one possibility, but are looking now at another option but it’s half way up the eastern side of Lake Michigan, which is where we are now, in Allendale, which seems to be primarily a university town.

This area is very green and pretty with lots of spring growth and blossom everywhere.

Sat May 20.  We bought the car today.  The team at the Cooperville car yard were fantastic-such positive and friendly people, it really was a pleasure to deal with them.  We don’t pick the car up for a week as it needs to be fitted with the towing equipment.  They thought they might be able to deliver the car to us in Pontiac Illinois, then we can get rid of the rental, otherwise we might have to drive back up there.  Pontiac Illinois is about 4.5 hours from where we bought the car.

We are now in Chesterton Indiana, at the bottom of Lake Michigan.  Tomorrow we drive to Pontiac and on Monday we get to see the coach.  We are excited about that.

My general summing up of the US so far:

Very friendly people

Terrible coffee

Lovely spring blossom

Great interstate highways made of concrete!

Big food portions, so we are sharing meals

Everyone here wants to go to NZ and wonder why we are here, although they are not really sure where NZ is, someone thought it might be somewhere near Scotland.