Five states, three days. Day 18, 19 and 20.
Our final full day in Chicago, so what is there to do for a couple that has seen all the sights? We lounge around eating leftover stuffed pizza and watch countless episodes of Bar Rescue, where Jon Taffer, a raging bar expert fixes up bars and restaurants across the US. Very entertaining. We relax, knowing that by the end of the night we will be eating at one of the best restaurants in the country, and the world.
Alinea. The number fifteen restaurant in San Pellegrino’s Worlds best 50. Words cannot describe how excited I am, and of course, Josh is bouncing off walls. We dress up in our finest, Josh even tucks his shirt and grabs a tie. As we arrive we are greeted by the doorman and told to enter. Instantly the smell of freshly mowed lawn hits my nose, where is this coming from? I didn’t see a park in the taxi ride here. I look down, we are actually walking on grass as we head down the hall, I now know that this restaurant is original and cannot wait for dinner.
Alinea is unbelievable. From the decor, the food, service, wine and even the bathrooms, I can understand why it is ranked the way it is. I could spend all night telling you about it but I know Josh would do it more justice, so if you are interested head on over to Alinea’s review. The night comes to an end and we slip comfortably into our food coma.
The next day arrives and its time to say goodbye to Chicago. We have absolutely loved our time here and can understand why so many people love it and why so many choose to stay. Time to pick up our rental car, this time it’s a nifty ford focus (dad would be proud) complete with GPS and sunroof. There is something on my bucket list that I can finally cross off, that’s right, I stick my body through the roof and cheer!
We drive. From Illinois, through Indiana and then arrive in Ohio. Even though this drive is long, the scenery is much better than LA to Vegas. Trees, grass, even some flowers at one stage, it’s beautiful and makes the travel so much quicker. We stop at a rest area plaza for some Burger King and head back onto the highway. Traffic is stopped up ahead. The scenery is looking just a little toomfamiliar for us. This is Walking Dead country now. We feel as though we are in a scene from the show, cars stopped on a freeway, tall trees on either side and barns off in the distance. We lock the doors. Scan the roads. Thank god traffic is moving again! Cleveland is off in the distance. We sleep well tonight because there are still two states to cross tomorrow.
Rain wakes us up this morning and we decide to push on. Before long we stop for fuel, for the car and for ourselves. Waffle House! Yeah that sounds exciting so we walk in. This is old school diner at its best, red booths and bar stools, black and white tiles on the floor and friendly faces behind the counter. For Josh it’s a Texas toast with Philly cheese steak and for me, a cheese, bacon and egg wrap. We both decide to add a hash brown. “What would you like it scattered with?”…. “I’m sorry what??…” So here in Ohio you can add anything to an authentic hash brown, I go simple and say cheese but Josh is the adventurous type. He chooses sausage gravy, a gelatinous, peppery gravy cooked with sausage fat and onions.
We now drive through Pennsylvania, after watching a tv show called Amish Mafia all I want to do is find some Amish people and visit an Amish village, or at least catch a small glimpse. Josh pushes his foot down on the accelerator, at that moment I know we are not stopping until we reach Niagara Falls, New York. And there it is, we see Niagara river as we cross the bridge. As we drive closer to the hotel, the water turns white, fast rapids sweep past us as we turn off towards Seneca Hotel and Casino. We’re saving the falls for tomorrow.
This hotel is amazing, Indian artwork and decorations, friendly faces and the bright lights of poker machines everywhere. We lose a quick twenty bucks and head to shop. And there’s no where I’d rather go than Walmart. Imagine the best store in the world and then times that by 100, add a lot of bulk items, a pharmacy, electronic store and plant nursery and you have reached Walmart. We shop for an hour, get a trolley full of groceries, make up and other wonderful things for fifty dollars, did I mention everything was like two bucks, and head home to veg out, eat two minute noodles and twizzlers.
Tomorrow we journey to the largest waterfall in the world.
Jess and Josh