Friday, July 17, 2015

Tuesday, July 14-Thursday, July 16: Melrose Park, IL

7/14/15- Travel Day to Melrose Park, IL

This morning we continued the 520 mile jump to Melrose Park. Since we drove almost 230 miles last night, we didn't have too terribly far to go today.

The state of Iowa won a few points in my book because we discovered that many of their rest areas on the Interstate have RV dump stations. For free!
In your face, Flying Js in this area that don't have dump stations for some stupid reason!

Once we started getting closer to the Chicago area we began running into toll booths. We pulled into the first one and paid the toll, and about 20 miles down the road we pulled into the second one.
I had a very disorienting sense of deja vue, because not only was I asked to pay the same price, but the toll booth attendant looked incredibly similar to the one we had previously dealt with.
For a minute I was very confused, and I wondered if I had just completed a huge circle.
I called Ryan after we left the toll booth, and he told me he had experienced the exact same feeling. Maybe the two women were sisters....or the first woman is really fast and enjoys playing pranks on unsuspecting motorists.

My GPS changed its mind on which route we should take when we were only a few miles from the lot, and we ended up going through a residential area, which made for some tight turns and white knuckle driving.

We got to the lot, right next to the Maywood Race Park, around 5:30 p.m. I remembered playing this same location five years ago with Kelly Miller.

7/15/15- Melrose Park, IL- Day Off!

Our trailers were parked around 11:00 a.m., and as soon as I got my house set up I went out to do laundry.
I drove west of Melrose Park to Bloomingdale, another area I remembered from our Kelly Miller days. There I visited a Half Price Books and an Oberweis, where I had ice cream and picked up some fresh milk.

In the evening I took a two mile walk from the lot to visit Gene & Jude's, which has been voted one of the top hot dog spots in the Chicago area.
In addition to all the usual toppings: mustard, relish, onions, and peppers, Gene & Jude's also tops their dogs with french fries.

On the way to Gene & Jude's I passed by Triton College, which is the home to a circus program and the Triton Trouper Circus.
As I got closer to my destination, I heard 1950's rock and roll music coming from across the river, so after my meal I walked over to investigate.
There were three musicians set up on a stage in a little park having a concert. Townspeople had brought lawn chairs and blankets so they could sit and enjoy the music.

When I crossed over the river I also noticed signs for a Duck Race happening on the Des Plains River on Saturday. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend since the race is happening too close to our first showtime.

7/16/15- Melrose Park, IL- Day Off!

This morning I joined Ryan and his family on a trip up to Baraboo, WI, the boyhood home of the Ringling brothers.

We arrived around lunchtime, and we dined with Corissa, Tatiana's sister-in-law, and her son, Eli.
After lunch Tatiana, Corissa, and the kids headed back to Corissa's house, and Ryan and I headed over to the International Clown Hall of Fame & Research Center.

Unfortunately Greg DeSanto, the Executive Director of the ICHOF, is in MA for the World Circus Summit, but our friend, Neal Skoy, took time out of his schedule as the clown at Circus World Museum to give a tour in the afternoon.
Ryan and I really enjoyed seeing all of the new exhibits that Greg has installed since last year, as well as going through different files and photos.

Ryan, Neal, and I headed back to Circus World Museum where we met up with Ryan's family. We all headed over to the big top to see the afternoon circus performance.
It was good to see our friend, Larry Stout, who is the musician for the show. We work with Larry every December on the Christmas tour.
Circus World has a fun show this summer, and Neal's clowning was as hilarious as ever.

After the show we were able to see our friend, Scott O'Donnell, who is the Executive Director of the museum.
He took us around the park before it closed for the day, and he showed us some of the new exhibits.
We also got to visit with Dave SaLoutos, who is the Performance Director and ringmaster of the big top show.

Ryan, his family, and I joined Scott, Neal, Adrianna and Bobby Parker, and Irina Poema on a trip to the Wisconsin Dells to have dinner at Famous Dave's BBQ.
The food was great, and it was so much fun getting to hang out with Neal and Scott again. It's been 9 years since the four of us were in a Clown Alley together.

After dinner we said goodbye to everyone, but we hope to visit again on one of our other days off in Chicago.

We got back to the lot around midnight, and I was worn out from such a fun, full day.

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