Last year I did not really have the time or money to go on a trip just for my self. I did want to go to Vegas or camping somewhere however with work and classes getting in the way I had to crap those plans. This year I wanted to make it more about myself and what I wanted to do. It is safe to say I have alot more going on this year than I have in prior years. I have two weddings to go to this year, one of which is my brothers, and classes and work are taking up more of my time. One big event I really wanted to attend was my best friend Siera’s college graduation on Sunday May 3… in Hancock Michigan. That’s right, back to da UP. I must say timing was on my side because her graduation also landed on the best weekend for nerds this year, May 2. I call it the best weekend for nerds because of everything that was going on: Avengers Age of Ultron came out on Friday May 1, Free Comic Book day was on Saturday May 2, and Monday May 4 is ofcourse Star Wars Day. I decided that to make it a real vacation was to stop and stay in Chicago for all the fun events for each of these days. Best decision ever!

So starting with the most obvious, on Thursday April 30th I started the long drive to Chicago at about 11pm if not a bit sooner. I always like driving during the middle of the night because there is the least amount of traffic on the roads and I can just sail through major areas with little delay. I finally needed to pull over in Ohio at about 10 am and took a quick two hour nap before heading back out on the road. If you do enjoy roadtrips as much as I do then be sure to get an EZ pass, the thing is gold and I was able to use it on every road from here to Chicago. Anyways I finally got into Chicago about 2:30pm local time so I had to wait around for my hotel room to be ready. Since my hotel room was a good 30 miles outside the city I decided to stay where I was instead of trying to venture into the belly of the beast during rush hour. Anyways once my room was ready I took another quick nap and then went out and got my self a deep dish pizza which was delicious, cant remember the name of the place but it was close to the hotel. After my pizza it was time to go to the midnight showing of Avengers Age of Ultron!

(Spoilers Ahead)

So Age of Ultron… BAD ASS! By far loved the Hawkeye back story, so glad they made him out to be more of a needed member of the Avengers than just a lacky tagging along. The chemistry between Hawkeye and his wife, so good and I love that Black Widow knows as well. I heard that alot of women were giving Joss Whedon flack about the Black Widow story, come on, he writes women so well and we all know this is kind of the path Black Widow takes in the comics. I think the lov story Black Widow and the Hulk have along with how he wrote Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye’s wife makes this a great portrayal of women both as Heroins and as just women. I must say my favorite part is the reveal of Vision. While it isn’t exactly in line with the comics about his origin, it ties in nicely and he really has some awesome power to add to the Avengers.

Also with it being Marvel, Agents of Shield had some wonderful ties to the movie but I would have loved to see Agent Coulson be the one commanding the Helicarrier seeing how he is kinda (weird work place dynamic) the Director of Shield. I am still waiting to see Tony Stark’s reaction to Agent Coulson being alive and such… Blast I guess I have to wait, hopefully in Civil War. So much winning in this movie and with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I can’t wait for Ant-Man and then the Civil War.

O one more thing, if you didn’t know this,  Black Widow was also able to lift Thor’s hammer in some of the comics. Just loved that little nod.

Anyways as Saturday rolled around I had to find myself a good comic book store for Free Comic Book Day. I finally found one that had both great reviews and looked to be in a nice part of town. First Aid Comics is a nice small shop that is just wall to wall filled with comics, but in a very organized and clean fashion. I absolutely loved the shop and wish there was one as nice closer to me. The two I go to are either really cramped or big and empty with alot of gaps and un-used space. The size of First Aid Comics made it feel like they had a decent amount of comics covering many different universes. Anyways since I was seeing my best friends family for the first time and was staying with a friend of hers I had to pick up a few small tokens of thanks. There was a great selection to choose from this year for free comic book day; I picked up Simpsons, Avengers, Captain Canuck, and Avatar. I also picked up some Deadpool, Deathstroke, and the Civil Wars comics along with two awesome Bart Simpson figures, one with him and his skateboard and another as Bart-Man. So cool. All of that took about an hour and then it was back on the road to the UP.

So it took me two hours to get out of Chicago on a Saturday at like 11am… so much fun… because of that what should have been a 7 hour drive turned into 10 hours. I was so tired but it was time to see my best friend and meet her family officially for the first time. I had met her father once before for a brief moment but this time I got to spend time and talk with all of them. It was nice talking to someone about military stories and things I have found during research. Her younger brother was also really cool and enjoyed alot of the nerdy things I do so talking about that stuff and making Siera feel out of the loop was a bit funny. After dinner with her family and her fellow RA, we went to go see Avengers Age of Ultron. I have no problem seeing a great movie several times in theaters. First off its different watching a movie in a theater surrounded by people than watching it at home on a tv by my self. Second is that showing patronage to a good movie helps show that the movie is good and that more should follow. Since writing this post I have now seen Age of Ultron four times now, the first in IMAX 3D and the others in regular.

The next day was the big day, Siera’s graduation. I was so ecstatic and proud of her. She was one of two people graduating with two degrees. I was glad I decided to make the trip to watch it in person and be there. It meant the world to me to see her finish school and be able to move on to the next part of life. She is a wonderful person and I know she will do well in what ever path she takes.

It was interesting since one of the speakers was Mr. Anderson, an English teacher of mine back when I was at FU. He was retiring after forty years, wow. His speech made me consider my current path, is it the safe one or the adventurous one. Alot of thoughts have been running through my mind since that speech and I have much to consider as the year comes closer to an end.

After the graduation I went and saw a few friends and then met back up with Siera and her family. It was nice to spend so much time with them and get to know them. We drove out to the breakers, about 15 minutes away from town and hung out for a bit. Siera’s father and brother wanted to roll a large log that washed up on to the rocks back into the water. A large branch as a lever, brute strength, and about 30 minutes later we got it into the water. Boy was that an accomplishment and makes for an interesting story. Of course Siera was there watching but decided not to take any pictures till after it was in the water haha. I had a great time talking with her mom and dad and hearing stories, I can’t wait to spend time with them all again. As the end of the day rolled around it was time for me to get back on the road to Chicago. It was very emotional to say good bye to Siera, I will admit there were tears, yes on my side too! I do wish I had more time to spend with her but soon enough I will.

It took me about another 7 hours to get back to Chicago but as I got in to the hotel at 6 am I was ready to pass out for a bit. I had an alarm set for 11am so I could still spend part of the day exploring. I first off went and checked out the Museum of Science and Industry. That place is awesome and if you go to Chicago be sure to check it out. Be warned parking is $22 and then its like $30 to enter, still worth it though. They have a U-boat in the museum that you can climb through and see the inside which is very cool. One very interesting exhibit is they have a hatching station where you can see baby chicks hatching and climbing out of the egg. They have alot of other great sights including a very large train layout, several planes and trains and even a large room with a tornado. Another exhibit I enjoyed what one that showed all the systems in the human body. I thought it was really cool to see all the different systems of the body broken down. They also have a video and large wall that shows how a baby is made and grows inside the womb. If I ever have children, this is how I am going to have the talk with them.

After exploring the museum for more than 2 hours and picking up some gifts it was time to move on. I love the tv show Chicago Fire and I wanted to drive by and see the fire station. It is a real working fire station that they use and it is just interesting to be there in person. Unfortunately they have already finished shooting episodes for the season so I missed that but maybe next time. I also wanted to go to the Lego store, Navy Pier, and Apple store in Chicago and just take a look. As I got into down town I was having a problem finding parking and then it started to rain. I had to call off that plan and head back to the hotel. Even though I did not get to celebrate Star Wars day in the Lego Store and buy that new Tie Fighter lego set, I ended up relaxing in my room watching Star Wars Return of the Jedi.

After another brief nap it was time to get back on the road and head to DC. I left Chicago at about 2 am and made it all the way to DC with out any delays. It was once I hit i270 I was in traffic for the next 2 hours but made it home by 6pm. All in all a great trip and one I would do again in a heartbeat. I love driving and seeing all the different sights and with the cost of driving being about the same as if I flew every where it was well worth the time.

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