US Highway 41 seems to be running like an asphalted red thread through GABROEN's life in the United States. For our orientation visit, we stayed in an Atlanta hotel on Cobb Parkway, a.k.a. the local name for US-41, and we looked in amazement at the lack of esthetics in the collection of car dealerships and strip malls along this 8-lane stretch. Our very first house in the U.S. was off US-41, my first work place was off US-41, and our first vacation was to Florida, driving 600 miles south and back north either on or parallel to that very same US-41. And today, the largest part of my daily commute is along Skokie Valley Highway, a.k.a. the local name for, you guessed it......, again that very same US-41. The highway actually runs from Michigan north of us all the way down to Miami Beach.
So it was fitting that we were invited to a surprise party for NanC's birthday, on Chicago's Lincoln Avenue, a.k.a. US-41. Before the party started, GABROEN first explored the neighborhood of Lincoln Square, and enjoyed a bite and a 'flight' of Belgian-style beers from microbreweries around the country - probably none on US-41.
The party was at a somewhat obscure bar called Hidden Cove Lounge, with a defect neon palm tree sign - perhaps a reminiscent reminder of the final destination if you continue following that very road southbound. It brought additional meaning to the surprise party concept, because none of the guests were expecting this place to be the location for a party for the birthday girl. But it is actually the bar where NanC's daughter Jessica regularly performs with her band, and they were playing the roof off with their enthusiasm. And it was still a much bigger surprise for the birthday girl, who innocently entered under the palm tree sign for what she thought would be just a night with the band. NanC has been more and more explicit about her wish for a surprise party, so it was great to see that everyone was able to keep this a secret for her.
The band's enthusiasm was contagious, and it turned out to be great party. Nothing beats dancing to some golden oldies. Happy birthday, NanC!