Cross Country Train travel blog

Main Library Building


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Today was scheduled to be an easy day. Drive to Chicago, drop off our bags at our hotel, drop off the rental car by 3 PM, have dinner. No problem.

The drive was scheduled to be about 3 hours 15 minutes. We left the hotel in Terre Haute at 10:30. We wanted to stop along the way, once for lunch, once to stretch our legs. Figuring that, we should be OK.

Miss Google took us along a highway that ran almost straight between Terre Haute and Chicago. It became evident along the way that this part of Indiana has precious little besides cornfields and soybean fields. When driving along an interstate you get these exits every 10 miles or so where you can get gasoline and lunch. This road had crossroads, an occasional traffic light, and very little else. About an hour and a half into the drive, we turned off when we saw a gas station, and a convenience store. We filled up the car, and decided to move on after walking around for a few minutes. Continuing on, we came into a bad rain storm. Very hard rain for about 10 minutes. Slowed us down a little. The weather cleared and we were back up to speed. The good thing about this road is that there was very little traffic, and only a few trucks.

As we got closer to Chicago, we had not seen any place for lunch, so we were planning to have an early nice dinner in the city. The time was getting close, but then the clock in the car changed from 12:45 to 11:45. We had an extra hour! We drove into the city and headed for the hotel. Once again it started raining pretty hard, and we drove up to the hotel. No canopy. A man came out to greet us and ask if we were going to need help with our luggage. I told him not until the rain let up. After about 5 minutes the rain almost stopped. We got our luggage out of the car and placed it in the luggage cart he brought out. We checked in and went to our room with the luggage. It was now about 2:15 or so. Still had time to get to Hertz. Hertz had sent me a note on Saturday, confirming we were to drop the car off at Union Station Hertz. We put the location into Miss Google and followed her directions. She led us to Union Station, but we did not see Hertz. We drove around the block twice, and on the second time, expanded to the next block with a parking deck. There, we saw a sign saying Hertz Drop Off at the entrance of the deck. We drove into the deck and looked, and looked for Hertz parking spaces. Couldn't find one. We saw Avis and Budget, but no Hertz. We decided to park the car and go to the desk, and ask them where to park. Hopefully they would say to leave it where it is.

We looked for the office, but found none. I suggested we go into Union Station and look there. Maybe the Hertz office is in there. Turns out Union Station is really big. We walked around for a while and finally asked someone from Amtrak if he knew where Hertz was. He did! He gave us directions. We followed them and noticed a desk for Hertz but no big sign on the front. We went to the desk and asked for a Hertz person. A gentleman with a Hertz badge came over to us. We explained what was happening. He said that Hertz no longer had a location here. We should have gotten a note from Hertz explaining this. I told him that I did indeed get a note from Hertz two days ago, telling me to return the car to Union Station. I showed it to him. He kind of said "wow!" He then told we would have to drop it off at another convenient Hertz location. He gave us directions, and a pass to get our car out of the deck.

We drove around once again but did not see the office where it should have been. I pulled into another parking deck, and we got out and walked to find the office. We missed it by about a quarter of a block. We went in and a gentleman greeted us. I told him we needed to drop off the car, and we were supposed to drop it off at Union Station. He said it wasn't there anymore. Cheryl gave my hand a squeeze to keep me under control. I said we would move the car and come back. We found the Hertz parking spaces in the deck, parked the car and went back to the office, which now was full of three other customers waiting. It was now 3:20. The young lady behind the desk asked if we were waiting to pick up. We said it was a drop off. She took us right away and explained that the computers were down and she would have to take our information and input it later. Explaining that it was late, I said I didn't expect to pay late charges due to the issues we had. She said her manager would have to decide that when the computers were up.

I was not happy, and Cheryl and I started the 30 minute walk back to the hotel. By now the sun is back out. We walked down State St. and stopped to read a panel telling about some of the historic and artistic buildings we were seeing. One building caught my eye. It was really unusual. Looking at the panel. we discovered it was...The Chicago Public Library (can we pick them out or what). We had to stop and check it out. The Harold Washington Library Center was opened in October 1991. It is a full city block 8 story building. It was another example of what can be done with money and space. We noticed that they had a maker spaces for kids, teens and general population. The main space was small. They had a very nice kids area, with a couple of programs going on, some artwork, but on the whole, Cheryl and I were more impressed with the outside of the building than the inside. Moving on, we chose to have dinner at a place called Bergoff. German style food. I had sauerbraten (very good) and Cheryl had salmon (not bad). After dinner we walked back to the hotel, and turned in.

Tomorrow: Explore Chicago.

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