Sunday, August 14, 2016

Geoca - CHI - ng on the Mag Mile!

Hey, guess who geocached in Chicago recently? After GeoBash, I had a few hours to shower, pack and head to the bus for a 4-day work conference on the Magnificent Mile!

First stop was the beautiful, historic Intercontinental Hotel! Located next door to the Tribune Building, it is simply one of the most stunning hotels I've ever visited with a phenomenal culinary staff. The history alone is an entire blog post: the Ethel Merman/Johnnie Weissmuller swimming pool, the largest Baccarat chandelier in North America, the exotic decorations on each floor and each half floor. I was lucky enough to be booked in the older portion of the hotel in a private room overlooking the Mag Mile and the Chicago River. 

Honestly, I thought my almost-5 year cache a day streak was at an end. I had a very booked schedule, but Day 1 found me with almost 4 hours of free time. Rucksack over my shoulder and a fully-charged phone in my hand, I headed back to one of my favorite Virtuals (and now an Earth Cache) about a half mile up the road to the Chicago Water Tower. 

Made in Joliet GC65Q98
I admit that I'm not an Earth Cache fan (some of those verification questions can be so ambiguous), but I do enjoy one involving architecture like the Masonic Temple in Detroit and the Hurstville Lime Kilns in Iowa.

With my goal completed and a visit at the nearby Hershey store, I turned down East Chicago Avenue towards Lake Michigan. Grabbing a few more caches and Pokemons, it was a LOVELY way to explore the streets and parks of Chi-town. I took the pedestrian tunnel to the beach and headed towards Navy Pier.

Oh, that water felt SO GOOD on my hot feet. Did I mention the record heat factor? Not much for geocaching here, but I did nab about 30 new Pokemon overall on this trip plus one tasty hot dog!

Cannot go to Chicago and not enjoy a Chicago-style dog!

Heading back to the hotel, I found myself in the middle of Streeterville and passing the statue of George Streeter himself. It was quite a challenge finding the nearby cache in Muggle-central!

Another 'hot dog'!
Last cache of the day found me taking the stairs beneath street-level of the Mag Mile and feeling up some fencing next to the famous Billy Goat Tavern. I still regret that I've never stopped in - I've heard it's delicious.

BG-YO @ the BG GC44M0W
After the opening ceremonies at the conference, many of my coworkers either headed to their rooms or across the street to the 16th floor outdoor patio for drinking at the Trump Tower. Neither seemed appealing - how can you be in one of the most exciting cities in North America and not explore!?!

With a quick change, I was out the door again heading to Navy Pier. I knew the only cache on Navy Pier was disabled so I enjoyed a leisurely ramble snapping pictures and people watching. Wow - so hard picking just a picture to share - I took over 700 on this trip!

The Tall Ship Festival was just a few days away!

View from my hotel room
I was lucky, after all, to find myself with at least an hour of free time each day to continue my caching streak and sitesee. No need to roll out of that very comfortable bed at 5 am each morning to seek my daily find. Crazy, I know and accept that.

Very common cache location in downtown
Although I've already claimed this fabulous Virtual last Fall, I had to stop back. My hotel was only a half mile away.

Cloud Gate AKA the Bean GCJZDR

And, to top of my trip, I hosted the Michigan (Ave) Travel Bug Swap and Flashmob GC6NC8H on the plaza outside the Tribune Building. My first non-Michigan swap! I was amazed that, during rush hour in downtown Chicago on a Wednesday that anybody attended! But there was 5 of us total!

CaptainBonesCrew, scrapcat, tankgirrl, and AThrilloftheHunt
Last morning in Chicago, and I still had the urge to go out of a quiet walk before and after closing cermonies. Here are a few pics from my perambulation.

Chicago River

Look at those clouds!

The Gates (of Northwestern Univ) GC4NHY9
Such a lovely and success trip both personally and professionally. I feel so inspired!


The Go Game

Geocaching is my first love, but I do enjoy (when the mood hits) Munzee, Wallabee, and Pokemon GO, too. During our Sales Conference, my company instructed us to download an iPhone app for the Go Game

Using our phones, we were given a series of challenges to complete for points. In essence, it was a way to break the ice as you took selfies with strangers and visited different areas of the hotel. 

Yes, for prizes, they rolled out another location-based game. Was it any surprise that I placed in the top 3 during both competition periods? LOL. My new boss said he's not sure if he should be proud or not that I managed to earn so many points "while I should be working". I replied, "I can obviously multitask!"

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