Planned Route – Week 13

Day 86 – Fri 27 Sep – Petersburg, VA to Lewes, DE (via Virginia Beach and Ocean City)
Day 87 – Sat 28 Sep – Lewes, DE to Sharpsburg, MD (via Gettysburg)
Day 88 – Sun 29 Sep – Sharpsburg, MD to Parkersburg, WV (via Harpers Ferry)
Day 89 – Mon 30 Sep – Parkersburg, WV to Louisville, KY
Day 90 – Tue 01 Oct – Louisville, KY to Bloomington, IL
Day 91 – Wed 02 Oct – Bloomington, IL to Chicago, IL
Day 92 – Thu 03 Oct – Chicago, IL to Chelsea, MI
Day 93 – Fri 04 Oct – Chelsea, IL to Norwich, ON
Day 94 – Sat 05 Oct – Norwich, ON to Toronto, ON

 

Getting my kicks

Well, I hadn’t seen anymore of Chicago than I had last time, but then that wasn’t the point of this visit. I had come to visit Jason and I couldn’t think of a better way than re-visiting some of the highlights of my last visit. Give me a beer, a burger, good company and good music, and I’m easily pleased.

The other point of visiting Chicago was to begin my journey to the west coast along Route 66. Established in 1926, the “Mother Road” starts in Chicago and runs all the way to Santa Monica in California, where it meets up with another road I wanted to ride, Highway-1 up the California coast.

Now I must confess to being rather skeptical about Route 66. The road itself doesn’t exist anymore. It was removed from the US Highway System in the 1980s, and what was left of the old Route 66 was renamed and incorporated into other routes, often frontage roads for the Interstate that has replaced it. In places, the road has simply gone, like the section I saw in the Painted Desert in 2011, where only the telegraph poles remain.

From Arizona

In order to follow Route 66 now you need to try to piece together the patchwork of Historic Route 66 that still exists. This sometimes means hopping onto the Interstate, going along for a few intersections, before you can pick up the next section of the Historic Route. To complicate matters, Route 66, when it did exist, was re-routed on numerous occasions and numerous places, with new bits added and old ones taken away, so that now in places, you have a choice of at least three different routes to get from A to B which could all be designated as old Route 66.

My skepticism is also fuelled by the tacky tourist kitsch associated with Route 66, some of which I saw in Arizona and New Mexico in 2011. This skepticism is one of the reasons that Route 66 didn’t even figure in my plans for my first tour of the US.

But having said all that, I’m was going to be in Chicago and I needed to get to the west coast to visit Graham and Sarah, and to ride again Highway-1 and through the redwoods, so what other route could I possibly take. Even if it turns out to be pure tourist kitsch, I’m sure there will be some beautiful scenery along the way and I will be able to say “I did that!”

And so my day started in Chicago with the customary loading of the Trooper and then trying to find Route 66. I set off down Lake Shore Drive again with the intention of turning onto Jackson Drive, but the all the roads across Grant Park were closed to traffic. It looked as if they were setting up or taking down some kind of festival, perhaps it had been part of the 4th July celebrations. Anyway, I don’t use sat nav on the bike, and with my pre-planned memorised route thwarted, I had to improvise. I knew I had to head south-west out of the city, so I keep taking right then left turns where I could until I ended up on Archer Avenue, which I vaguely recalled ran south-west all the way out of the city and came close enough to I-55 (the modern equivalent of Route 66 out of Chicago) for me to pick it up. Any notion of riding all of Historic Route 66 all the way to California was now dashed. I wasn’t going to sweat it, nor attempt to turn back and start again. I’d just ride those bits of Route 66 that I could find and that were convenient, and if I ended up on the Interstate at times then so be it.

Not too far along I-55, I saw a sign for Historic Route 66. At last I thought and pulled off the Interstate. Interstates, like the motorways at home, provide a way to get from one place to another quickly, but they are so boring to ride. Riding as much of Historic Route 66 as I could was going to take a lot longer than blasting all the way to California on the interstate, but it was going to be so much more interesting, taking me through small town America.

From Illinois, July 2013

At Wilmington, I pulled in for fuel. I was going to take a photo of the Gemini Giant at the Launching Pad, but a young guy named Nick, started chatting to me about where the licence plates on the Trooper came from, and then was interested to here about my journey and how I got the bike here. Chatting to Nick I somehow failed to take the photo, so I’ve borrowed someone else’s. Hey Nick – if you are reading this don’t worry about me missing the photo, there are plenty others on the internet, I’d rather have talked to you in any case. It was real nice meeting you.

Cortesy of the Route 66 Association of Illinois
From Illinois, July 2013

Riding further south, I couldn’t help but compare southern Illinois to Iowa and eastern Nebraska – almost completely flat, full of corn fields and every 10 miles or so, huge grain silos. I don’t mean any disrespect to the inhabitants of these states, and they are certainly perfect for growing crops, but the landscape really isn’t very inspiring. I grew up on the outskirts of East Anglia in England which is also incredibly flat, but ever since I have yearned to live somewhere with more features in the landscape. I love the mountains, forests and the sea, and this is perhaps one of the reasons I feel so at home living in Scotland.

From Illinois, July 2013

I had more trouble keeping to the Historic Route a little further south. The road was closed for road works and a diversion was in place, but when I got to the end of the diversion there was no sign of which road was the old Route 66, so I just headed south. At a rest stop, I got to chatting with another biker, Rick. He was heading up from Tampa, FL to spend the summer fishing in Wisconsin. He was going to head back to Florida in the fall when the weather was cooler.

From Illinois, July 2013

I got into Springfield around 7pm. I’d chosen my hotel because it was the closest to a recommended biker bar, the Knuckle Head. Unfortunately the bar was closed on a Sunday evening, so I ended up with a take-up burger and a couple of tinnies in my hotel room. Not the evening I had planned, but at least the gas stations in Illinois sell beer.

 

Chicago reprised

After my fun evening with great hosts, Brian and Roo, it was time to press on, but even so I had a lazy start chatting again out on the porch over several cups of coffee. I timed myself loading the Trooper, it took half an hour! But then I was chatting to Roo and Brian at the same time.

My original plan at this point had been to head down to Indianapolis to visit my good friend Max, but he’d already left Indianapolis and headed down to Austin. I just had to hope that I’d be able to catch up with him later in the trip. So instead of Indianapolis, I was going to go to Chicago a day earlier than planned. This wasn’t a bad thing as it would put me a day ahead of schedule, and I’m sure I’d be able to make good use of the slack to get the Trooper serviced.

But right then I had a more pressing requirement. I needed new boots. Brian was kind enough to write out directions to the next two nearest Harley-Davidson dealerships along my route on a post-it that I could slip into the map space in my tank bag and off I set.

The first dealership was Buffalo Creek H-D, just off I-94, and they had just what I was looking for. I’m now the proud owner of new shiny waterproof Hustin’s. I put my old boots in the box the new ones had come in, and told the sales assistant to put the box straight into a toxic waste disposal bin. After the soaking they had had the previous day, they absolutely stank!

From Michigan, July 2013

With my mission accomplished, I got back on the Interstate. Not the most interesting of rides but it was getting me to Chicago and a reunion with Jason as quickly as possible.

As I crossed the state line into Indiana, the sky grew black and the temperature dropped noticeably a few degrees, a sure sign of rain. I pulled off the interstate at Michigan City to refuel, and as I was pumping my gas, the heavens opened. Since the gas station was covered, I decided to sit on a bench and wait it out. As I sat there smoking a cigarette, it occurred to me that I had pulled off at this very same intersection nearly two years ago to put on wet weather gear as the rain started as I approached Chicago. I wondered if it always rains here.

My reminisces were shattered as 8 sports bikes pulled on the forecourt with throttles screaming. Perhaps to let cars know they were there, perhaps to make some other statement. All the riders were wearing cuts with club colours I didn’t recognise, and all were black. They pulled their bikes up around the Trooper, and jumped off to talk urgently.  It was an odd sight seeing the Trooper in the middle of their huddle. I sat on the bench and watched on, hoping they weren’t going to start messing with my machine. I must admit I didn’t feel entirely comfortable. I wondered whether I would have spoken to them if they had been white MC members? Race in the US is an odd thing, at least from the point of view of a Brit that doesn’t live in an inner city area with a large racial mix. Clive had talked about race and racism in Milwaukee last time I was here. I’ve also formed some of my own views from the sidelines. I’ll post about some my impressions on race and racism in the US when I have more time, but for now I’ll leave it there. As it happened, the other bikers didn’t hang out to shelter from the rain, they set off a few minutes later the same way they had come in – with throttles screaming.

I waited another 30 minutes or so until the rain had died down to almost nothing, before venturing a few hundred yards up the road to a McDonalds to use their internet. I needed to book my hotel in Chicago and make contact with Jason. As I was preparing to leave I’d put my gloves on the dry bags on the back of the bike, and then, like a numpty, I got on the bike and set off without putting the gloves on. So I am now down a pair of gloves. Doh!

With the evenings arrangements made, and the sun trying to escape the cloud cover, I got back on the Interstate. A few miles up the road, I saw all of the sports bike riders pulled over on the shoulder with a police patrol car sitting behind them with lights flashing.

The ride into Chicago was dry unlike last time but I suffered the same problem as last time, in that there isn’t really anyway I could take a photo of the Chicago skyline from a bike on the Interstate. I’d also decided that Lake Shore Drive was the most scenic route for me to get up to the Lincoln Park area where I was staying. As I couldn’t take a photo, I have taken the liberty of posting someone else’s.

 Lake Shore Drive    Courtesy of PBS               From Chicago, July 2013

My visit to Chicago was in many ways a repeat performance of last time, at least Day 3 of it. I was staying in the same area as I did before, I was meeting Jason as I did before, and we went to some of the same places.

From Chicago, July 2013

Jason came to meet me at the hotel at around 7pm, and after a brotherly hug, we headed out. On my previous visit, Jason had taken me to a great burger bar, Kuma’s, where all the burgers were named after rock and metal bands. He said they had opened a new bar, Kuma’s Too, just along the street, but it real busy right now, so we could go for a drink somewhere else first, if I didn’t want to wait. We went to Deliah’s but stuck to a couple of beers this time, rather than whiskey (American) and whisky (Scottish), before venturing back to see if Kuma’s Too was quieter.

Kuma’s Too has a lot less character than the original Kuma’s. It  looks almost like a chain restaurant. There’s no guitars or skateboards adorning the walls, just neat rows of framed pictures, and vinyl albums. But the menu is pretty much the same and the burgers are good, as is the beer. And of course I had to have the Iron Maiden burger again (although I did toy with the notion of having the Metallica burger), washed down with the strong 9% ABV Artic Panzer Wolf. Oh and the background music is superb there too! They played the Trooper within minutes of me arriving.

From Chicago, July 2013
From Chicago, July 2013
From Chicago, July 2013

Planned Route – Week 1

The Google map for these routes isn’t entirely accurate because I’m planning to keep off the interstates where possible, but week 1 looks something like this…

Day 0 – Wed 03 Jul – Edinburgh to Glasgow
Day 1 – Thu 04 Jul – Glasgow to Toronto
Day 2 – Fri 05 Jul – Toronto, ON to Chelsea, MI (via Port Huron, MI) – (Brian?)
Day 3 – Sat 06 Jul – Chelsea, MI to Indianapolis, IN – (Max?)
Day 4 – Sun 07 Jul – Indianapolis, IN to Chicago, IL – (Jason?)
Day 5 – Mon 08 Jul – Chicago, IL to Springfield, IL
Day 6 – Tue 09 Jul – Springfield, IL to Rolla, MO
Day 7 – Wed 10 Jul – Rolla, MO to Tulsa, OK

The idea here is to re-visit some friends and people I met last time, and then to head west on Route 66. Route 66 may be a bit cliched these days, but I need to get to the west coast,  and whilst I touched bits of Route 66 last time, I thought I’d ride the whole route this time so at least I’ll be able to say I’ve done it.

From ChicagoMilwaukee

Old friends in Milwaukee

My stay in Chicago had come to an end. It had been fun, especially as I had made new friends – thank you Jason and Lauren. Now it was time to see some old friends, but first I had a mission to accomplish.

I headed west out of Chicago into the ‘burbs. After getting lost several times – American road signs leave a lot be desired (a topic I’m sure I’ll come back to) – I made it to my goal, Aurora, Illinois! I was almost tempted to get off the bike and ask a passer-by for directions to Wayne Campbell’s house, but fortunately I resisted the urge. If you’re wondering who Wayne Campbell is and what the heck is Aurora, IL then you don’t watch the same movies as me. Check out Wayne’s World.

Wayne's World

Wayne and Garth

Aurora, IL is a lot like the other suburbs of Chicago. Not really a disappointment, I wasn’t expecting much, but just thought I’d pop by since I was in the neighbourhood.

From Aurora, I headed north and managed to take a wrong turn and ended up back in Chicago somehow after riding nearly 60 miles. Those pesky US road signs – or lack of them. Damn it, I won’t get a GPS!

Once I’d managed to get myself back on the I-94 again, the ride up to Milwaukee went smoothly. I kept off the toll-road and traveled Hwy-41. I’d spent too much time on Interstates so far and I intended to spend more time on the smaller highways to see a few more towns.

Harley-Davidson Museum

Harley-Davidson Museum

As I rode into Milwaukee, I could the Harley-Davidson Museum to my left, but that could wait until tomorrow.

Marquette Interchange, Milwaukee

The Marquette Interchange, on Milwaukee’s south-side is fair impressive as you ride into the city. Apparently, they constructed it around the old one, and then pulled the old one down once the new one opened. It was also completed ahead of schedule earning the contractor a $4 million bonus in time for the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary in 2008. Perhaps the prospect of 200,000 bikers descending on the city for the lakeside celebrations with Bruce Springstein helped to focus the city’s and the contractor’s minds. Maybe a few hundred thousand bikers should have descended on the Scottish Parliament Building or the Edinburgh Trams. Actually, if a hundred thousand bikers descended on the Edinburgh Trams, it would be to get rid of the bloody things. The metal tram lines are lethal to all 2-wheeled vehicles.

Milwaukee Art Museum by the lakeside

After my unintentional detour back into Chicago, time was running short. I checked into my hotel, took a quick shower and then headed out for my dinner date with old friends.

Thomas had sent me a text during the day asking what I wanted to eat – Thai, Canadian, Mexican, etc.  I replied that the local speciality would be cool, so Thomas suggested we meet at AJ Bombers  – a peanuts, burgers and beer joint on Water Street. At this point in the journey, I haven’t had enough of those mighty fine American burgers – but I’m going to have to watch it or I’ll have to start buying a size or two bigger clothes. I later found out that the traditional local speciality is German food, not burgers – but then Thomas isn’t a native of Milwaukee and has only started working there on weekdays recently.

Thomas and Travis were waiting outside of AJ Bombers when I arrived. It was like I’d only seen them yesterday, yet Travis had left Edinburgh before Christmas. It was good to see them again.

When I walked into AJ’s, I thought at first that the floor was covered in wood shavings, but it was peanut shells. You are greeted to your table with a bowl of shelled peanuts, and the shells just go on the floor. If you run out, more peanuts are delivered by Peanut Bomb!

I followed Thomas’ recommendations for food and ordered the signature Bomber Burger – a cheese burger and a stuffed ‘shroom stacked together, with a side of Poutine. Poutine is a Candadian “delicacy” – it’s skin on fries, with cheese curds and gravy – cheesey chips ‘n’ gravy to us Brits, but the cheese curds are pretty much paneer rather than cheddar. Thomas confessed to putting on a good few pounds as a student because of poutine, and I can see why. I’d definitely need to be watching for the expanding waistline if I carried on eating this kind of food.

Within ten minutes with those guys, it was as if no time had passed since I last saw them. Travis immediately fell into mimicking my accent – a habit he fell into in the Black Bull in Edinburgh and one he’s rather good at.

Thomas is a Canadian whose has made in home in the Mid-West. Travis is LA through and through. Thomas had been having endless hours of fun trying to shock and horrify Travis with tales of Mid-Western life. I wondered whether Travis were more of a fish out of water in Milwaukee or Edinburgh – it didn’t take me long to realise it would have been Edinburgh. I smiled remembering some of the local Edinburgh pubs I had dragged Travis around. The one place Travis found in Edinburgh that was vaguely familia,r I hated. It was Saurabh’s favourite haunt on George Street – Tiger Lily’s/Lulu’s. I’d always found it to be full of pretentious knobs. As we sat reminiscing about their time in Edinburgh, it stuck me how much like chalk and cheese Travis and I are – we are complete opposites in almost all ways- Travis is my stereotypical image of young and successful LA. Yet I really liked the guy, which made me realise that he’s not really my stereotype – he is a really gracious guy. I have never heard one word of compliant from him, even when I’ve known he isn’t happy. He is just a really nice guy who likes different things from me.

Travis, Thomas and me in the Red Rock Saloon, Milwaukee

After we’d finished in AJ’s, I suggested another beer somewhere, and just down the street from AJ’s is the Red Rock Saloon. It bills itself as Milwaukee’s first country/rock inspired bar. It’s certainly decked out like you would a imagine a western bar to be. That evening they had live band karaoke on. The place wasn’t too business and our server, Laura, spent a lot of time chatting to us between serving beers. She seemed very keen that we all do a spot on the karaoke, but this was met by much reluctance and somehow just never happened. Thomas and Travis both had early starts the next day, so our evening wasn’t a long one. Before leaving I arranged to meet with Thomas again at the weekend – this time in his hometown St Paul. And one lucky person left with Laura’s number and it wasn’t me.

Chicago – Day 3: Tuesday

Tuesday was going to be my last full day in Chicago. I’d stayed 3 days because Chicago was definitely a city I wanted to see – much more so than New York or LA. And it was good to have a gentle introduction to the country with friendly faces, courtesy of Max – bless ‘im.

I spent the morning relaxing close to Lincoln Park. At one point, I walked across for a Starbuck’s coffee, and a mounted police officer was crossing the lights. It’s not just Stockbridge that has them.

From ChicagoMilwaukee

From lunch-time onwards, I had plans to see a little more of the real Chicago. When I’d met Jason at the Wicker Park Fest on Sunday, he’d told me about an awesome burger bar a little way out of the centre, and we’d arranged to go there for lunch on Tuesday.

Kuma’s Corner From ChicagoMilwaukee

Jason picked me up around 1:30pm and we headed out on Diversey Parkway towards Kuma’s Corner. He mentioned the place was often packed with locals, with a queue stretching out onto the street sometimes. I really don’t like to queue – especially for food – and Jason hoped that by going a little later in the day and on an early weekday we’d be OK. Jason was right, it is popular. We were lucky to get 2 seats at the bar – no tables were free.

Kuma’s Corner From ChicagoMilwaukee

Kuma’s Corner is just my kind of place. It’s unashamedly rock n roll – and heavy rock n roll at that. The ambience was perfect. Good music, good decor and plenty of ink on both the staff and punters.

The burger menu From ChicagoMilwaukee

Kuma’s Corner specialises in gourmet burgers. It also serves a selection of other dishes, but it was definitely the burgers that caught my eye. Every burger is named after a metal band. There are Metallica burgers, Black Sabbath burger, Led Zepplin burgers, Megadeth burgers, and so on.

The Pantera burger From ChicagoMilwaukee

Jason ordered the Pantera burger, and mine had to be the Iron Maiden burger (well, what else could it have been?). Both were excellent – and big! I was left again thinking damn, America knows how to do good burgers!

The Iron Maiden burger From ChicagoMilwaukee

The other speciality of Kuma’s Corner is their beer menu. They had beers from all over the world – including a Boddington’s pub ale – and plenty of domestic brews. Jason recommended a limited edition Artic Panzer Wolf – an imperial pale ale from 3 Floyds Brewing in Indiana . It was superb, but then it had to be a $20 a pint bottle. It was also strong at 9% ABV. We had two!

The mighty Artic Panzer Wolf From ChicagoMilwaukee

America gets a lot of stick in the UK for having weak, pissy beer – but this is just the mass market generics like Bud and Miller. America also has some fantastic beers – stuff that CAMRA would be proud of. There is a really blossoming craft and micro brewery scene in the States, and it’s the real deal. And if Kuma’s Corner’s beer menu is anything to go by, it ain’t weak or pissy – it’s noticeably stronger than most of it’s British contemporaries – in fact the weaker beers on the menu were the British ones. The average ABV was somewhere between 6% and 7%. For me, it’s all about the taste, not the alcohol strength – but it certainly dispels any notion of weak, pissy American beer. Unfortunately, after the Artic Panzer Wolf, the Innis and Gunn Original from Edinburgh that I chose for Jason to try seemed rather too sweet.

When Jason had picked me up, I’d been sitting outside my hotel jotting down notes about the trip in a notebook, which meant I still had my messenger bag with me. Since I was planning on making a day of it with Jason, I had to lose the bag before I really lost it. We headed back to my hotel to dump the bag. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to let Jason try some real Scottish treasure and I cracked open the bottle of Bowmore that I had bought from duty free.

The whisky found a sympathetic audience and it gave Jason an idea. He knew a rock n roll bar that stocked hundreds of whiskies from all over the world. Sounded good to me. Next stop was Delilah’s.

You’d be hard pushed to find many bars with a more extensive whisky menu. We had a head-to-head tasting of some American versus Scottish whiskies. Scotland came out a head.

The afternoon had flown by and one of the things Jason wanted to show me was the live music scene in Chicago. Tuesday is not usually a good night for live music any place, but we were lucky, Anvil – a Canadian metal band – were playing at Reggie’s Rock Club, along with a handful of other bands, including the local band Bible of the Devil. We headed down to the south side of town.

Bible of the Devil at Reggie’s Rock Club From ChicagoMilwaukee

Reggie’s is a typical rock venue – wide with a stage at front and a bar at back. I felt at home. The bands rocked, all playing mostly original material rather than covers. Bible of the Devil played just before the headline act and I think they were definitely the best band of the night. There’s definite hints of Thin Lizzy there. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t hear from them in the UK at some point. I hope they make it.

Chicago – Day 2: Monday

After crashing early, I woke early again – 6am. I had nothing especially planned for the daytime on the 2nd day in Chicago. Max had given me the number for another of his friends, Lauren, and I was due to meet up with her that evening. It was too early for much to be open, so I tried to catch up a little on the blog before heading out.

From ChicagoMilwaukee

I thought I’d see more by foot, rather than having to watch the road on the Trooper, so I set off downtown alone.

From ChicagoMilwaukee

One of the things  I needed to pick up was a prepaid US cell phone. I’d forgotten to pick-up a UK-US plug adaptor at the airport and my UK mobile phone wouldn’t last more than another day or two. Besides having a US phone would make it easier to make contact with the likes of Thomas and Jason, and I still needed to make firm arrangements with Lauren for the evening.

From ChicagoMilwaukee

I’d seen a couple of cell phone stores on my way to Wicker Park the day before, so I headed straight for them. More than a few of my friends would have drawled over the Apple store, across the street from the phone stores, but I like to think my geeky days are long gone, if they were ever there at all. I didn’t even break stride passing Apple and went straight into the Verizone store. I looked around for a member of staff and when I found one, I said “I’d like the cheapest, most basic prepaid phone you have that will do texts and calls”. To his credit, he didn’t try to up-sell and I left the store with my phone charged, registered and ready to go.

From ChicagoMilwaukee

I spent most of the day just wondering downtown, enjoying the experience. Chicago seems to be a relaxed, cool city – I liked the feel of it. Yet it also feels like the image I have in my head of a quintessentially big American city. It made me think how well the Grand Theft Auto game designers had captured American cities, and the GTA games aren’t even based on Chicago. It’s hard to imagine that in 1830 the city had a population of only 50.

From ChicagoMilwaukee

The Chicago skyline is impressive whichever direction you approach from. I’d heard that it looked especially impressive from the lake. So I headed over to Navy Pier to see if I could appreciate it from there.

Navy Pier, Chicago From ChicagoMilwaukee

Navy Pier juts out into Lake Michigan almost directly from downtown, with the big green Grant Park to the south. If you imagine a bigger, better and more classy version of an English seaside pier then you’ve just about got it. The trouble was it was still touristy. That wasn’t the Chicago I was looking for. I left and headed back for a shower.

From ChicagoMilwaukee

I’d exchanged a few texts with Lauren during the day, but it wasn’t until around 8pm that I knew the time and place of our meeting – 9:30pm at the Goldstar, one of Max’s old watering-holes on Division Street. Lauren arrived around 10pm, I was on my second. It sounded like she had spent the afternoon drinking with friends in town from Oregon. She’s a lovely girl and it was good of her to make the time to meet up with me.

Max had wanted Lauren to show me around several of his old haunts. There was one where if I bumped into a large East Coast guy named Ed, I had to tell him that Max had sent me. I’m not sure what would’ve happened then, I never got to find out. Lauren and I didn’t make it out of the Goldstar. We drank and chatted away, a lot about Max, Scotland and Chicago, then it was midnight. We’d both had long days and decide to call it a day and to head off to our respective beds.