Bean There. Done That.

I am already learning as I compile the first few entries of this blog that it’s difficult to recall memories three years after-the-fact.  What started as our first overnight vacation has become the day-to-day as husband and wife – with plenty of uncomfortable moments on planes, trains, busses, cars, bikes, and (of course) our soles to write about.  We’ve learned a few things about packing, credit card rewards, travel websites, flyer miles, cures for driving boredoms and what experiences give us the most bang for our buck.  Trials, errors and our love for each other have brought us pretty far since 2013.  Nevertheless, I shall attempt to share our discoveries the best I can in order from travel day 1.   

Chris and I had been dating a few months (maybe 5 or 6) when like most newly dating couples we got super-stoked on the idea to take a weekend trip somewhere… anywhere… Chicago.  There was nothing there in particular we were aiming to see.  We just knew we weren’t serious enough for a honeymoon or anything and Chicago was a 4 and ½ hour drive from where we live.  This was the first time we got the bright idea to cash in our credit card points for a hotel (which I’ll elaborate on in later entries, but this is an excellent travel incentive if you can keep a zero balance on those credit cards…not for everyone!!!).  We scored a night at the Allerton Hotel (with points) and only had to pay for parking!  (

Along with other firsts, Chicago was the home of our first argument.  Yes, that wasn’t a typo.  I said argument.  Most people say they can’t picture the two of us arguing.  Luckily it’s rare.  Chris is pretty much the most easy-going guy on the planet and I have about a 4 second turn-around rate where I forgot what you said that hurt my feelings and my A.D.O.S. (attention-deficit-oh-shiny) takes over.  If I could recap, it went something like I wanted to wear tennis shoes for comfort (we walked a lot) but it was 90 degrees so I wanted to take along some flip-flops just in case.  A backpack seemed like a good idea, complete with water bottle, camera, keys, phones, … and my flip flops.  Standing by the car in the parking garage, a moment of hesitation overtakes me and I decide to scrap the tennis-shoe/backpack idea because that’s just too much trouble.  Chris then says “I’ll carry the backpack” and I say “I don’t need my tennis shoes, let’s leave the backpack.”  Then he says “Really, I don’t mind” and I say “Really, I don’t need anything and the backpack will just weigh you down…blah blah.”  Then I offer to carry the backpack so he doesn’t have to and he persists…  We ended up leaving the parking garage (no backpack) and sitting silently for a few minutes at Starbucks trying to decide if we had just argued with each other and why (Yes, and a backpack for those of you that are skimming).  Then we talked and a few minutes later everything was normal again.  Chris had clearly just wanted to be helpful, but I’m pretty stubborn (and independent).  Now he just knows that so we don’t argue over backpacks… but what a funny thing to put your foot down over.  Like I said, we’ve come a long way since then.

Here’s what we learned:

We recommend indulging in a Chicago (hot) Dog and delicious Giordano’s pizza.  The architectural boat tour was better than expected (from someone who is anti-tourist attractions) and Navy Pier really wasn’t anything to write home about but it’s a city staple.  We visited “The Bean” in Millennium Park which is also a staple, but a better one.  Go see The Bean.  Don’t waste your time shopping on the Magnificent Mile because you can shop anywhere and Chicago has such great culture to be enjoyed elsewhere!  We had never used Divvy at this time, but decided upon leaving after all the walking it would be a great way to get around if you’re just there to take in your walkable surroundings.  Taking our own bikes might’ve “bean” (see what I did there?) something we’d consider if we were staying several days.  We also heard of a beach nearby, but our trip was short and we decided to save the beach for next time (which we totally did!).  🙂

Our little overnight adventure began the making of memories outside of Kentucky for us.  Back then we didn’t have a yard to mow and a house to renovate, so we were mostly content biking around town or playing cards at our condo in Louisville … but we knew from the beginning that we loved discovery, and we loved each other.  A recipe for sole mates.

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