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When in Chicago…

Eat a Chicago Dog!

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It was beautiful during my most recent trip to Chicago! Last year I got caught in a little bit of snow.

Lake Michigan has a thin covering of ice in some areas, with the sun slowing melting it away.

 

I had been down to the Navy Pier area before but wasn’t aware of the small park near the entrance. On the water here, there was a thick snow/ice build up. Lots of owners walking their dogs which made for some fun dog watching.

On my first trip to Chicago a number of years ago, I was able to go to a Cubs game in the historic Wrigley Field. As a solo traveler I feel as though my ears are always open to what others are saying, which I guess could also be called eavesdropping… In this case, and most times, it provided me with a unique opportunity so I hopped on the ‘L’ and headed up to to Wrigley. It’s definitely not a new stadium but it has historic charm.

Memphis

One of my favorite parts about visiting the South is sweet tea. It’s a requirement in every restaurant.

I had a quick turnaround in Memphis and was bummed that the one thing I really wanted to do was closed on Tuesdays – The Civil Rights Museum. I should have learned after earlier this year I trekked for miles to find that a museum I wanted to go to was closed… I at least had the good sense to look it up first this time.

As I arrived too late and left to early for dinner at Rendezvous, I did make sure to engage in two other musts.20170207_184728752_iOS.jpg

The first was a visit to the historic Peabody Hotel to see the ducks. The ducks visit the lobby every day at 11:00am and 5:00pm. I recommend stopping by. It’s quick, cute, and free! They lay out the red carpet for these special ducks and reserve a special elevator just for them.

The second must is of course Beale Street. I was there in the middle of the day so it wasn’t as busy as it can get at night. There’s a lot of history and some great restaurants as well. I stopped off at the Blues City Cafe for lunch before heading out again.

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For those Elvis fans, don’t forget to check out Graceland. It is outside of the downtown corridor but definitely worth a visit. They’ve even created their own hotel now!

On my way into town, my uber drive doubled as a tour guide and had us stop at the historic Sun Studios where many famous musicians have recorded.

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Perched and Ready to Go… Almost…

Penguins were always lined up on the edge of the water, ready and waiting to jump in but what held them back? The threat of leopard seals hiding in the shadows.

Sometimes they were on icebergs, sometimes on the rocky shore line.

We spotted a single penguin on an iceberg that kept pacing, unsure exactly how to get off even though it of course had gotten on it somehow. It did finally take the leap!

Types of Penguins

 

There are 18 species of penguins and I was privileged enough to see three of them: Gentoo, Adélie, and Chinstrap.

I was most fortunate to somehow photograph all three of these types on one rock at Gourdin Point. Typically they have their specific nesting areas and while there is some intermixing, it is rare to see all three together.

All three penguin types we saw!

From left to right: A guano covered Chinstrap penguin, a Gentoo penguin, and an Adelie penguin. I was most fortunate to capture all three together.

Gentoo penguins can be identified by their white headphones and red beak. They tend to be more curious and will come and check things out.

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A Gentoo checks out a camera, ready for its closeup, while the Adelies look on.

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The distinctive “headphones” of the Gentoo, with a chick and egg. With the egg exposed, it probably won’t survive unless it is covered up soon.

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Adélie penguins have an all black head with a white eye ring and are a true Antarctic penguin. Unfortunately their numbers are decreasing due to the warming of the ocean, while the Gentoos are increasing. The Adélie were named after a French explorer’s wife.p1050929p1050930

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This Adelie may have been nipped at by something in the water or gotten in a fight with another penguin.

Chinstrap penguins are easily identifiable and I hope that I don’t have to tell you why (they have a black chinstrap). They like to be on the top of rock and they make a lot of noise.P1050810.JPGP1060143.JPGp1050889p1050816