• Indiana Dunes

On Day 3 of our trip, we started in Indiana at our hotel close to the Indiana Dunes National Park. We went there after a somewhat subpar continental breakfast at our hotel. The Dunes Park was pretty cool, with lots of sand and a view of the lake. It seems like a beautiful recreation area for people who live nearby. You could see Chicago across the lake.

It was interesting how people sat close to the water, which you would not see at an ocean beach due to changing tides. However, as Riley points out, the lakes are deadly with lots of rip tides, making it dangerous to go out in the water. The lifeguards seemed happy to just leave you to die, as we overheard them on the way out. There were sand slides near the beach, which would have been fun to slide down with waxed boards like we did at the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.

We left the beach to head to Chicago, which we could see 40 to 50 miles across the lake. The traffic around Chicago was worse than we’ve seen in our travels so far. We passed the baseball and football stadiums and parked underground in a garage at Millennium Park. The Cloud Gate was right there, with all kinds of people around. Apparently, they had just reopened it.

  • Chicago

After Millennium Park, we walked to a vegan restaurant called Native Foods. Riley got a not-made-of-shrimp po’ boy, and I got a not-made-of-chicken sandwich. They were pretty good overall. We had come about halfway to Willis Tower by walking to our lunch location, so we finished the walk there. We got last-minute tickets for the Sky Deck, went up to the 103rd floor, and looked out on Chicago. You could see everything, even looking down on buildings that are 30 stories tall.

There’s a glass box that you can walk out in, standing over the city with nothing but glass below you. I was kind of freaked out, and I’m not sure if Riley was too. We got our picture taken there, which was cool. Then we walked back towards the car. On the way, I saw the Route 66 sign, marking where it begins in Chicago and runs to LA. It was neat to see.

Finally, we headed to the Chicago suburbs to the Galloping Ghost Arcade, the largest arcade in the world. When we parked outside, it looked like a simple storefront with not much to it. Riley and I were expecting to be completely underwhelmed. But when we went inside, this place was so densely packed with all kinds of arcade machines; it’s absolutely crazy. There are five separate storefronts that have been hollowed out and simply filled to the brim with all manner of arcade games, classic arcade and otherwise. It was surprising to see it all packed in there.

  • Galloping Ghost Arcade
  • Galloping Ghost Arcade
  • Galloping Ghost Arcade

We played games for probably a little longer than we had originally intended to stay there, but that was really fun to see all the classic stuff and get some high scores, which they graciously allowed by resetting the machines. So we were early to achieve some of those high scores. Some of the high scores on the games they posted on index cards above each game were really, really high, and I can’t imagine sitting there and playing a game so much that you get that good at it.

After the Galloping Ghost Arcade, we headed to Wisconsin Dells, our next destination, to visit Wizard Quest. The traffic out of Chicago was horrendous—I suspect that’s what traffic looks like in Chicago regularly. We hit that spot around rush hour, too, which didn’t do us any favors.


On the way north to Wisconsin, there was a rather large storm front, and some of the weather lately has been causing floods in the upper Midwest area. So, in the interest of not sliding off the road, we pulled off at a BP for a little while and let the rain, the majority of the rain, heavy rain anyway, pass by. And I think as a result of spending too much time at the arcade, hitting the Chicago traffic, and pulling off for the rain to pass us by, we would not have made it to Wisconsin Dells in time to do anything beneficial there. Unfortunately, we missed our Wizard Quest stop and didn’t get to see the Dells.

Ultimately, we pressed on and made it to Black River Falls, where our Comfort Inn was. And we pulled in there around 11:30 local time. So you can see how late we were in getting there. But it was a comfortable hotel. The woman at the hotel desk had called us during the day to make sure we were still coming because there were people, I guess, who were trying to get out of the flood areas and were looking for a room, but there were no vacancies to be found. She called and left a message to make sure we were still coming, and we called back to tell her we were. It was a good thing we did, or we might not have had a room to stay in!

Ultimately, we settled down for the night, had a good sleep, and rested for our trip to the Mall of America and the big old ball of twine. We are looking forward to what comes next.