Sunday, October 9, 2011

Horsin’ Around in Chicago

While I do wish that more of my friends from college lived near me, one of the fun things about having friends spread out around the country is that we can travel to see each other! Time becomes more of a scarce resource as we get older, but the three of us have tried to meet up at least once a year. Sandy has made the trek over to the West Coast many times, so this time Jenni and I flew back to Chicago for a weekend of gourmet feasting.
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(Wildberry and tiramisu pancakes from Wildberry Café)
We’re splitting up the posts about this trip, and if you’re into food, you should eagerly anticipate some of the upcoming posts. The weekend was a mesh of gourmet eats and cheap college favorites. Jenni and I got in close to midnight, so our first meal was a 24-hour Steak and Shake. Frisco melt! The next morning, we went to the nearby Wildberry Café, where we had some very yummy pancakes and French toast.
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(left: banana bread French toast, right: horses at Chain O’ Lakes State Park)
Afterwards, we made our way to Chain O’ Lakes State Park to do some trail riding. It was a little chilly as we waited for horses to become available, but it warmed up and ended up being a nice day. Jenni was probably missing her warm California weather, but the blue skies were a welcome change from the continuous September-to-June Seattle rain. It was very peaceful to ride through big, stereotypically Midwest cornfields, and the park felt like a pretty retreat from the suburban area we were staying in.
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(cornfields and grass fields in Chain O’ Lakes State Park)
Much to my dismay, there was a sign saying that all trail rides were at a walking pace only. However, this and my 20+ year old horse did not stop me from trying to trot. The horse really wasn’t interested in exerting himself (I can relate), but I did figure out that when he was very willing to trot when going uphill, probably to get it over with quicker. Of course, as soon as my horse trotted, the horses behind mind followed suit. I’m guessing the ride leader wasn’t very amused. Next time we’ll have to find a place that gives us a little more slack. We’ve ridden near Seattle and near Chicago, so that leaves San Francisco… They were strict with their horses, too. Some of them had buckets over their mouths to keep them from eating!
(riding in a line)
We had an early dinner that day, so after riding, we had a really small lunch. White Castle! :D It’s funny what we end up missing when we move to other areas of the country, isn’t it?
~N (pictures are from all three of our cameras)

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