Monday, March 27, 2017

Back in town

We were out last week looking at colleges. It was an enlightening trip. A few brief observations:

  • If you want to know why colleges have become so expensive, go visit a few. The amenities at the schools we saw were top-notch. The dorm rooms at the schools were nicer than many hotels and the food service is quite good. You might see deferred maintenance and crappy food in some places, but the collegiate experience is quite pleasant these days. It's also unrealistic, because the real world isn't nearly so well scrubbed.
  • I'd never been to St. Louis before. You can see the trouble from the highway in some places, but the areas around Washington University and and Saint Louis University were really quite nice. The prices for food and drink were also noticeably cheaper than in the Twin Cities. 
  • On the other hand, Chicago looks worse for wear. The roads were terrible in certain areas we traveled, especially in the Rogers Park neighborhood on the far north side. Touhy Avenue is a major east-west thoroughfare and it had huge gouges in the pavement all the way to the border in Skokie. Make sure you get your shocks fixed before you attempt your passage.
  • The Illinois Tollway system is really annoying. But you already knew that. The latest issue is that you are expected to pay, but there's no way to pay at certain entrances unless you have an I-Pass. I'm expected to go on to their website and enter my credit card to pay a 70 cent toll because I was on I-294 for all of three minutes. Sheesh.
Back to regular programming tomorrow.


R.A. Crankbait said...

I was driving around the St. Louis area a few years ago and from the highway I saw a number of burned out brick buildings spread over the area. So many that it seemed as if there had been a large, catastrophic event. When I asked some folks at the office about it they didn't know what I was talking about at first. When we put it together they said, "Oh - yeah, those have been like that for years. It's just the way it is."

Similarly for Chicago, the roads are abominable - and the tollways have been under constant construction the last three years when, as it happens, I've had to navigate that territory several times. Get off the tollway and you feel as if you're in the Mars rover. And funny, as soon as you get past the City's jurisdiction, everything smooths out.

Bike Bubba said...

Chicago looks bad? Next thing, you're going to tell me that the city has been doing nonsense like confiscating guns from law-abiding people and building Millenium Park instead of taking care of putting crooks in jail and building roads. As if...

R.A. Crankbait said...

My wife blew-off one of those iPass only booths several years ago. I don't think we ever heard from the State of Illinois about not sending in the toll. I suppose they're just waiting for that license plate to come through again and then pounce. Too bad that car, and plate, were totaled 4 years ago.

Mr. D said...

I decided to pay it — I go through Chicago often enough that I’d rather not play games with them. I’ll likely be through there again in a few weeks and potentially more often after that if FM ends up going to college down there. And as an aside, the bill turned about to be $1.50.

Bike Bubba said...

I believe a few years back, the MN attorney general sent a note to the Illinois Tollway telling them to lay off harassing MN residents, and it's mostly stopped. Really, the Tollway is nasty, charging those without an Ipass twice what you pay with one. Illinois hospitality for you, I guess, along with all the warning signs when you enter the state.