Vacation Week 2017!

Well that wraps up a vacation for 2017.   I’ll do my best to post a decent write up on how the vacation went.  I’ll separate it out by each day and what we did.

So before we went on vacation we had Shereen’s birthday to celebrate.  She’d been wanting to go to PF Changs’, and since it was her birthday, that’s where we went.  I’ve only been there a couple of times.  Well 3 to be exact.  First two were work functions, and this was the third time.  The food did not disappoint.  Mikayla got Orange Chicken, Shereen got Sesame Chicken, and I

got Pepper Steak.  All three of us got fried rice, and of course we started out our dining experience with some Lettuce Wraps.  Man those things are good.  All the food was pretty amazing.  We all shared our main dishes family style since that’s kind of how it’s served anyways.  After our dinner, Shereen got a free desert so Mikayla and I decided to indulge ourselves and got dessert as well.  I got the biggest slice of chocolate cake (pictured on the left), Mikayla got some sort of cake thing which she enjoyed as well.

After dinner it was back to work for me for the next couple of days until our vacation officially started.

  On Tuesday we decided to go to Chicago to do some stuff.  Driving there was interesting because I really don’t like long car rides.  I get super fidgety and my legs start to get achy, and most of the time I start to get really tired for no apparent reason other than boredom.  Which in itself is kind of funny because I can sit at my PC for an entire day and play games and work on stuff just fine, but being in the car drives me nuts.  The trip to Chicago was no exception, other than the falling asleep.  I never really felt like I was going to fall asleep on the way there.  When we got into Chicago the traffic was incredible.  It was just as the lunch hour was ending, so there was still quite a bit of traffic.  It was extremely stressful driving because people just do what they want to do.  Somebody wants to turn into your lane right in front of you? Well not only does that person do it, but two others also attempt to do it just to be jerks.  So I made the executive decision to park the car and leave it (especially since it was minimum of like 18 dollars to park somewhere and leave the car there for the day and just take Ubers everywhere since it would probably be easier than A. trying to drive in that insanity, and B. trying to figure out parking at every single place we went to along with the extraordinary cost to park everywhere.  The first place we went was

to this pizza place called Gino’s East.  I had never tried Chicago style deep dish pizza, and there was two choices to choose from, according to all my friends.  We chose Gino’s East because of where we were trying to go

for the day and it seemed to be located at a pretty easy to get to location.  Also, I couldn’t remember the name at the time that everybody else had mentioned. (Giordanos).  The waiter that served us was especially friendly considering the drive in that we had just had so I was refreshed and glad right from the get go.  He asked if we had every been there before and when we told him “No”, he proceeded to give us the rundown of the

joint and told us a brief history of the chain, and that their deep dish pizzas took about 45 minutes to cook.  We were starving at that point so we promptly ordered some Hummus since that looked pretty good on the appetizer menu.  Finally the pizza came out and he served out the first slices for all of us.  As some of you may know I’m a smells person, so my first instinct was to lean forward and smell it.  I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting to smell, but what hit my nostrils was nothing what I expected.  The pizza almost smelled rancid.  I was quite shocked by this, so I asked the two ladies with me, and while Mikayla agreed with me, Shereen didn’t seem to notice anything.  After about 5 minutes of letting it cool down while sniffing it I finally decided to taste it.  I was a bit nervous to taste it, considering how awe full it smelled to me.  Never-the-less I took my first bite and didn’t really stop until I was done with my 2nd slice, only taking a break to grab the second slice!  The pizza tasted just fine, so I’m not sure if it was just because I’m used to the sweeter sauces that I work with everyday or what.

After we got done with lunch, we let things settle down for a bit and then decided to go to the Willis Tower.  I’m not sure if we picked the wrong day, or the wrong time, or they were severely  understaffed or some conglomeration of all that, but we waited forever and a day to get to the top.  We probably waited in line for a total of an hour just to get that elevator ride up to the top.  There was several stops along the way were we got to watch an informative movie about the architect of the (former) Sears Tower, as well as little stops with information about Chicago.  Fun Fact, the elevator tops out at 18 miles an hour on the ride to the top.  That was an experience in of itself as your ears are popping and your crammed into this giant elevator with what feels like WAY more than the safety limit.  You’ve probably hear the expression “packed tighter than a can of sardines”, well as I said that out loud, several people lamented that it was actually worse than that.  But once we got to the top, even I, who has a strong… dislike for heights, was taken aback by the view.  It was kind of funny, because on one side of the building, it was thunder storming pretty hard, and on the other side it was almost a normal sunny day.  I even forced myself to take a random selfie on the see through ledge.  That was pushing the boundaries of my tolerance for heights.  In fact it was well beyond to make an understatement.  The girls tried to get me back on there, but I wasn’t having it.  I about had a panic attack because this kid in the ledge next to us kept jumping up and down and I was starting to lose it.  We walked all the way around and took several pictures.  You can find all the pics that we took on the vacation [HERE] in the photo gallery.  After we were done there we grabbed some fudge to go, and then headed back down to the line, for the elevator back downstairs.  Luckily this wait wasn’t quite as long as the wait to get up, but it still took probably about 15-20 minutes.  Once we got downstairs we realized that it was raining.  We wanted to go check out the Million dollar mile so we decided to hop in a Uber.  Well that turned out to be an interesting decision as the first one didn’t quite put the meeting spot where we were, and since I’m not that bright sometimes, and panicking because I didn’t want to get charged for an Uber we didn’t take, and because I didn’t know the city at all, we ended up missing out first

driver.  He drove right past us after texting me several times.  So we called for another Uber and this time we knew right where to go as the GPS once again placed our meeting spot a bit off from where we were, but in the same time as last time.  He got there and we got in and it was white knuckles until we got there.  I would never be able to survive in that city unless I absolutely had to because I’m not a big enough jerk to cut people off like what our driver was doing, and being done to him.  Interestingly enough we drove past the Trump Towers.  I wanted to stop in but we just didn’t have enough time.  All in all between walking here and there I think we walked some 7 miles in Chicago that day.  After the shopping, we went to the “Bean” at the park, took a few pictures and then decided to start moseying along home.  We decided after much debate to go to the nearest White Castle for dinner as Shereen had never eaten there.  So I picked a random White Castle in/near Chicago that was along the way home and plugged it into the GPS and started heading there.  Well, apparently I picked the White Castle in a pretty rough neighborhood.  We witnessed a couple of drug deals, and some people who almost got punched in the face for saying rude things to my minor aged daughter.  Luckily the food hit the spot and we headed on our way home.  The girls both passed out pretty quickly, so I turned up the radio and jammed out to my music all the way home.

8/2 – 8/4

We had planned on spending these couple of days going camping but it was thunder storming in most of the state.  So we did random things around the city as far as going different places for lunch and dinners.  We went to the Rivertown Mall, and walked that.  We also visited Woodland Mall and walked that.  At some point in these few days we also grabbed some new shoes from Shoe Carnival as we were overdue for some new ones.  We also squeezed in a couple of movies.  We saw Atomic Blond, and Girls Trip.  Both of which were pretty alright.  Girls trip was hilarious if not a bit on the raunchy side.  I feel like we did a couple other things but I just can’t remember for some reason.  Friday night we had dinner at Texas Roadhouse, and then took Mikayla home as she had a trip to take with her friends / family.


So this is the day that we set aside for Shereen to go sky diving because that’s what she wanted for her birthday.  So we drove up to Holland to this placed called Skydive Holland.  Our appointment was for 1:30 if i recall correctly but they were backed up like two hours so it took quite a long time for her to get up.  The first video is of her boarding and taking off in the plane.  The second video is of her skydiving and landing.

After she went sky diving we went to this little restaurant in Holland called Ottawa Beach Inn.  The waitress and hostess were both very pleasant.  We both ordered burgers.  She a Swiss Mushroom burger or something gross like that, and I got the OBI Burger, which is essentially just a normal cheese burger loaded with the fixins.  Both of our burgers were really good, and the fries were great too as they were that “Pub style” fries.  After a late lunch we headed back to Grand Rapids, and relaxed the rest of the evening.  We also stayed home Sunday (after we got home from bringing the kiddo to her freiends campsite in Baldwin.

I’m not even gonna get started on that Game Of Thrones episode Sunday night… Man o man…

Anyways, that was (most) of our vacation of 2017.  Overall I had a great time with Mrs Spalding, and the kiddo.  Again, if you’d like, here’s a direct link to our vacation photos.

Author: peter

Gamer, streamer, techie, social media junkie, tinkerer, father, son, and pizza lover.

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