Chicago, hiking, and knees, oh my!

What an excellent [tag]Spring Break[/tag]. Three days traveling, four in front of my computer, all with WO.

As promised, we drove up to Chicago on Monday. We got a late start due to poor planning on my part, but we made it by early afternoon. Unfortunately, due to the state of my knees, WO took on some of the driving.

Not “unfortunately” that he drove, because he’s a good driver, but because I planned a big ol’ trip and couldn’t drive it all by myself.

As for the knees, they’ve been increasingly messed up for the past couple of weeks. It started when I picked up biking pretty heavily a few weeks ago. It’s a severe fatigue that becomes pain where my quads connect to the knee joint, and is triggered by holding my knees in bent positions. Both knees are in a pretty bad state right now. I can still run, but long-term walking/running, sitting, or driving is hell. I’m frequently applying a corn bag to my knees, and while that soothes, the condition is only getting worse.

Anyway, we went to Chicago:

Flat face

WO and I spent a couple of hours at the [tag]Art Institute of Chicago[/tag] looking at things we knew we’d be interested in. After that, I dragged the poor hungry guy up and down Michigan Avenue to find a [tag]Moonstruck Cafe[/tag] while we were assaulted by homeless men and were tempted by the scent of, like, 700 Thai restaurants.

Yum, chocolate. We bought truffles, baby.

We then ate Thai just up the street from our parking garage:

Thai food.  Yum.

We drove to Chesterton, Indiana that night and set out hiking at the [tag]Indiana Dunes[/tag] Tuesday morning. We set out on a peaceful, 3.75 mile trail labeled “moderate” in difficulty. Jokes about fanny packs and trail mix abound.

Frostian

About a third of the way through, though, I got a chance to show off my newly-acquired mad hiking skillz. We reached the first blowout–think places where there should be sand and isn’t, resulting in steep sand cliffs–and WO was so tired and clumsy that I had to save him thrice from his own tendency to fall off the narrow ledge.

Three times! With my bum knees, too.

Holy hell.

There was a second, much less scary blowout a little further down the trail, and the awesomeness of a snake. On a muthafuckin’ trail.

On a muthafuckin' trail!

He was grumpy, though, so we just let him slip on away.

At this point, WO had the camera, so in the posted photos, you’ll note there are plenty photos of me. WO made it his goal to get me comfortable being on the wrong stide of the camera.

Tired, laughing.

Wednesday was [tag]Potato Creek[/tag], just east of the Indiana Dunes. It was less awesome than the Dunes, largely because there was nothing as scary as navigating that blowout. By that point, too, my knees had become pretty bad, so we stuck to short, easy trails and took things slowly.

The beginning

Licking!

Maybe we should have kept walking…

That afternoon, WO drove us home.

Sexy driver

The rest of the break was spent playing Monkey Island adventure games and reading from the stack of books we checked out from the library. Oh, and watching too much television.

No email for eight days. No school work. So fuckin’ relaxing.