Week 3, Day 6

I apologize in advance for any moan or groans I accidentally type as I am writing this evening. You see, prior to settling down to write my twenty-eighth (eighth, an excellent hangman word if I ever saw one – everyone knows it, but you might not even recognize it after all the letters are known) missive, I walked down to a restaurant which just opened about ten days ago, Antique Taco. It is a new addition to a small (4, I think) chain of restaurants by the same name here in Chicago. It is a perfect night here in Chi-town, about 72, a slight breeze and low humidity. Consequently, since it has a large outdoor (dog friendly!) eating area, it was packed. I ordered to go so I could come back here and write to my beloved peeps.

I got garlic shrimp tacos, creamed elote, and a horchata milkshake. There was a bit of a wait, but I had anticipated the crowd and brought a book, Jackaby, which has been great fun to read. My food was delivered soon enough, and I was on my way. The milkshake didn’t make it home. I knew it wouldn’t.

I started the day out with a bike ride down to my 7am yoga class. On the way back, I grabbed an egg sandwich at a local bakery, and headed home. I have seen signed for a firemen’s memorial along a few of my regular routes, so today I took a detour into the old Stockyards area, knowing that the detour would add no significant time or distance to my trip. As I rode in I saw the Union Stock Yards Gate, which is a National Historic Landmark. Right behind it is the memorial. I was wrong about the time or distance thing. I sat down on a bench near the memorial, and began to eat my sandwich. I continued eating it, but was moved to stand up and walk around the monument. When I first looked at it, the statues looked almost comical: distorted faces and simplistic figures in almost absurd poses. As I looked more, though, the horror on the faces seeped in. It really is an extraordinary monument. Others have recounted the story of the “Fallen 21”, so I shall not repeat their efforts. I didn’t take any photos, although I had my camera. This site has some images which really do the memorial justice.

A little later in the day, I set out to find a new Farmers’ Market, but failed. It is held 4 days a week from 8am to 2pm, so I expected a rather large market, but found no sign of it. I rode around the park several times, but nothing. It is listed in several places, and I rechecked the address and hours, but it is a mystery. The good news is that it is only about a six minute bike ride from the markets I’ve frequented on several Saturdays now, so you know where I ended up. I got some more mushrooms (I’m not sure what variety, but different from last week), and some baked goods. Sadly the watermelon water guy and his son weren’t there this week. I’ll look again next week.

My big trip today was a bike ride to the Lincoln Park Zoo. I accidentally rode past it (the Lake Shore Trail is on the other side of a highway from the park and zoo. I ended up riding an extra mile or so for a grand total of about 20 miles round trip. My legs were tired and I knew I had a long ride back, so I didn’t stay at the zoo long. Plus, it was crowded. I much prefer zoos on rainy days.

I past many beaches as I rode along the trail. Each time, the crowd using the trail grew dense. I got the sense of being in a live video game (the next Pokemon Go?). You are riding along with many obstacles coming right at you: bikers going in the other direction, slower bikers going in the same direction, walkers going in ALL directions, plus the occasional faster biker passing you. I will tell you this: it is completely possible to pass by an active women’s beach volleyball tournament, with thirty or more nets set up, without looking up at it even once. You have to keep your wits about you.

There are six other people staying here tonight. Four are going to the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting tomorrow, and two are here for the Pitchfork Music Festival.

OK, since you’ve read this far, I’ll share a life’s embarrassing moment. It only occurred to me today (after 4 WEEKS of being here, and 16 days since I wrote about Armour himself) that the Armour School across the street and Armour Park and Armour everything else around here is the same Armour as Armour Hot Dogs (remember the ad? I don’t think you could make that one today). In my defense, I’ll just say that I only heard the word Armour in the ads growing up, but don’t remember ever seeing it spelled out. We ate a different brand (in Buffalo, which has its own local brands, you would).

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