The drive from Niagara Falls to Cleveland only took about 3 hours. We rolled into Cleveland at about 2 p.m., had some lunch and then looked for parking near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Unfortunately for us, there were 2 concerts going on that day right near the Hall of Fame and parking was kind of ridiculous. We finally got into the Hall of Fame around 3 p.m. and started exploring. It was like a gigantic Hard Rock Café but with tons and tons of memorabilia – clothes, albums, handwritten lyrics, photographs, videos, interactive displays, set lists – so much stuff! We thought that 6 hours was PLENTY to explore the RNR HOF, but when we closed the place down at 9 p.m., we realized we could have easily stayed several more hours. Outside, Ted Nugent had begun his free concert and there were bikers everywhere. Harleys as far as the eye could see. We caught a few songs from “The Nuge”, but his new material lacked it’s 1970’s explosive brilliance, so we left the show. We decided to drive as far as we could that night since we were en route to Chicago to visit my aunt and uncle. We made it to Toledo around midnight, but couldn’t go any further. We actually stopped at a bunch of motels on the way, but we could not seem to get a budget room anywhere. One fleabag motel in the middle of nowhere actually wanted $75 for a room. Something about a cow-tipping contest going on nearby (ok, not really – but it was some sort of event of that caliber). We finally ended up at a place recommended in our guide book that was only about $30 a night. By this time in our trip, we had determined that asking for a single room and sneaking Tom in was the way to go to save a few sheckles. The bed was always at least a full size so it worked out fine. This particular motel was very “Shining-esque” and incredibly eerie. Throughout the night, I repeatedly woke up, worried that someone was going to break into our car. No one did, but anyway, it was a little sketchy. We got up the next morning, bright and early headed for Chicago to visit family. We got to my aunt and uncle’s fabulous condo in Geneva in the early afternoon and then headed over to my cousin’s house to spend some time with his wife and 2 kids. Unfortunately, my cousin, who was like a brother to me growing up, had been called to active duty in the military and was in an “undisclosed location” defending freedom so he was not there during our visit. But, we had a lovely bbq with his wife and 2 adorable children. The following day, much to my Aunt Patti’s chagrin, all we wanted to do was sit around the house and relax. She was eager to show us around town, but we were exhausted from the heavy travel and sightseeing we’d been doing essentially since DC and were really looking forward to some down time at her house. At some point in the late afternoon, we finally motivated out of the house and walked around Geneva. That night, Pat and CH generously treated us to a delicious dinner and then we finished the night off with a game of Apples to Apples and watching the Olympics. The next day was our big sightseeing day in Chicago. We got up, took the train into town (which is about an hour ride) and hit the sightseeing circuit. We had lunch, saw the Sears Tower, took a (free) trolley tour around downtown, saw the Water Tower and “The Bean” – a really cool stainless steal bean shaped art piece, and went to the modern art museum. Lucky for us, it was Tuesday, the free day at the museum. However, not so lucky for us was the fact that some of the art on display was literally porn – not quite what we were hoping to see with my conservative aunt and uncle. But, at least we all got a good chuckle. We parted ways with them at the museum and stayed a little longer to catch a free live jazz show on the patio of the museum. Next, Tom and I grabbed a quick dinner and took the metro to Wrigley Field to catch a Cubs game. We thought that finding last minute tickets to the game outside the stadium would be a simple affair, but it turns out there are at least 20 different vendors who scalp tickets for a living. So, while tickets were available, Tom and I were NOT willing to pay $75+ per ticket for a team we don’t really care about. We tried unsuccessfully to haggle and eventually ended up at Harry Caray’s place just down the street from the stadium and watched part of the game there. We thought we could wait it out a little and that prices would drop a couple innings in, but we weren’t that lucky. The prices never seemed to drop low enough to make it worth our while. But, at least we got to see the exterior of the stadium and we watched part of the game. We headed back around 8:30 to catch the train to Geneva, but the metro was delayed so we waited about 30 minutes for the metro, missing our train to Geneva. So, then we had to wait another 45 minutes for the Geneva train and by the time that hour ride was over it was about 11 p.m. and we were exhausted. The public transportation debacle reminded me of some unpleasant experiences in San Francisco with BART and MUNI and made me happy that we were moving to Tahoe after the trip instead of to SF. The following morning, we had breakfast with the family and then packed it up and headed out for South Dakota. It had been a lovely visit and we thoroughly enjoyed the comforts of being with family, but the Peterson train needed to keep moving west. Next post – South Dakota!