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Chicago, Illinois.

Welcome to Illinois Google Maps announce! I can only write a little about the drive to Chicago since I had to concentrate on the drive on a five-lane highway. The last time I drove on such a busy road was back in early May, and I am not thrilled to experience it again. I am not a city girl; even before I left on this amazing journey, I rarely visited Manhattan, which is only a forty-minute drive from my residence. But visiting Chicago is about hugging Susan again.

Susan lives full-time in her van; I love how she follows music festivals as she travels. But for the last few weeks, Susan has been staying with her sister, Boots, as she is waiting for hip replacement surgery. Health is one of the most challenging parts of nomadic life. Having the support of friends and family is an immense blessing.

I couldn't think of a better way to end this year than to see all my Joshua Tree girls again. Just last month, I saw Sandra and Carrie, and now Lori and Susan. We all agree it was a magical ten days!

I have only one full day, to explore Chicago. Yes, I know it is not enough, but I am trying to return home by Saturday, and I still have about fifteen hours of drive to cover as I drive through Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania to New York.

We are driving to downtown Chicago to the waterfront. Boots is navigating through some of the Chicago neighborhoods. Seeing such a diverse street is wonderful as we travel on Devon Street. With Susan and Boots being our tour guides, Lori and I get a fantastic introduction to Chicago.

As we get closer to Lake Michigan, the high-rise buildings start to block some of the fluffy white clouds. Who knew Chicago has so many parks along the river. Not doing any research on Chicago leaves room for great surprises. Wow, Lake Michigan is enormous; as we drive along its shore, all I can see is the blue horizon stretching endlessly.

Since Susan is having difficulty walking, we take Chicago's First Lady Cruises to explore Chicago's iconic architecture. Amazing! I couldn't see Chicago in a better way. In ninety minutes, I saw and learned about Chicago more than any research I could do. It is fascinating to see the transformation of the downtown from the industrial era to today and how buildings that used to be warehouses were repurposed into attractive condominium hotels and office buildings.

For not being a city girl, I love Chicago!

We get back tired but so happy from a beautiful day. But there is one more thing to do. I opened my laptop to video chat with Sandra and, hopefully, with Carrie as well. Our little remote reunion is full of excitement and laughter. Carrie, unfortunately, wasn't available.

We are catching up with our travel plans and hope to reconnect again on the road. Then Sandra rang Miriam, who I stay with in Victoria (Vancouver Island), to add her to the party. Yes, it was a fun little party for sure!

It is time to say goodbye and get back on the road again—my last two days of this incredible year of travel. Oh, so many mixed feelings...

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