An electric Valentines Day in Noosa.

I electrocuted myself this morning with the blow dryer. I wish I was kidding. I only have myself to blame. I was using my blow dryer from home and it clearly says you cannot use it on a lower voltage. But I’ve been using it this whole time fine, but not today.
Caitlin 5 – Aussie 6
We left Byron Bay (south of Brisbane) & headed back up the coast. We kinda are doubling back from Brisbane, but the only day we could get booked for our Fraser Island (north of Brisbane) tour was for the 16-18th so we had to head down to Byron’s, to get that out of the way so that we’d have enough time to make it to Sydney before Erika goes home on the 22nd.

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First we stopped and stocked up the van with some goodies at Coles (supermarket). FYI : they don’t have escalators here with stairs, instead they’re flat, which makes it very hard to stand on if you have any type of luggage. Except it’s pretty cool when you have a shopping cart on it because it locks it from moving until you’re ready to get off. What’s not so cool is how expensive shit is here: see below for a good laugh.

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Ummm no I don’t think that’s correct:

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This is also the largest box of Oreos you can buy. Incase you were also wondering, they don’t carry sugary cereal here, so no lucky charms.

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After that adventure we made or way to Noosa Heads. We made a quick detour to Ninbin, which everyone is claiming to be the Amsterdam of Australia. They are all dumb. It’s nothing like Amsterdam. You cannot buy weed “legally” in the stores and it’s one street with about 5 shops with a buncha aborigines trying to sell you pot in the alleyways. It was cool to see I guess, but I don’t think it was worth stopping for, since it put us 2 hours out of the way. Anywho here’s some shots we snapped from around the town:

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Next stop Noosa. Mom you would have loved this place. The town was so pretty, every tree they had light up at night and they had killer shopping. Expensive, but honestly it wasn’t that much more than Byron Bay & it was 10x nicer.

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Not to mention they had the most killer sunset;

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truly living up to the name of the Sunshine Coast

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Me & Erika scored an amazing parking spot which is where we slept, here is a view from out our back window:
Caitlin 6 – Aussie 6

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Since it was Valentines day, we got all dressed up and decided to go out for a nice dinner.

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butttt of course we didn’t have a reservation so we ended up just getting sushi. Again we attempted to go out but instead fell asleep because we are beach bums. Tomorrow we get another day in Noosa and then head to Fraser Island.

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I’m pretty sure this is what Woodstock was like.

We did it. We slept in the Arts Factory lot without getting any fines 🙂
Caitlin 5 – Aussie 4
After celebrating our victory, we went and explored the Arts Factory. When we were walking around the only thing I could compare it to would be Woodstock. Obviously I didn’t experience that, but the way the hostel was set up that’s what if felt like. Instead of rooms, you slept in teepees and huts, every inch of every building was painted with colorful graffiti, and all of the people there were wearing the most hippyish attire.

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They’re was a ton of campers parked in the lot and luckily we were able to secure a “legal” spot for the night, which gave you access to their facilities & bar.

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Unfortunately for me, my ear started hurting again. Out of drops that Colin gave me, I gave in and went to the hospital. Everyone we asked said if I went to the ER it would cost me a lot, so when I went in I lied and said that I already saw a doctor and that I spilt the drops he prescribed me. They believed me and sent me over to a local physician so he could just rewrite me the script. They had an immediate opening and I was seen in 10 minutes by the most attractive doctor in all of Australia. He gave me a quick check and told me that my ear was more infected and I needed a more intense drop than “the other physician” prescribed me. He said it was going to be a very expensive script, but I didn’t have any options so I just took it. The visit cost me 60$ which wasn’t too bad for not having insurance here and after, we headed to the chemist (pharmacy) and happily found out that their expensive script only cost 30$!! Go Australia for having affordable health care.

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Next we finally made it to the beach at Byron Bay !!!!!!!$&@!!$@@!!

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Where I proceeded to get sunburnt (note the legs) because I was too cheap to spend 25$ on the cheapest sunblock they had. Which ended up costing me more because then I had to buy aloe.
Caitlin 5 – Aussie 5

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We went back to the arts factory, showered and got dressed to go out. We stopped and chatted with a travel agent for a bit who tried to convince us to return our camper early and book a flight after our trip to Frasers island to Sydney instead of driving. She was so intent on telling us that the drive would be to much for us. If I’ve learned one important thing about traveling it’s this : Talk to everyone you can, listen to what they say, but no one knows what’s best for you, no matter how much they try and convince you other wise. So she gave us a good laugh and told us to check out the Light House which ended up being absolutely beautiful. So she wasn’t completely useless.

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After, we cooked ourselves a nice steak dinner with our box of free stuff and attempted to go out but instead ended up talking to some French and Italian dudes, with obviously funny accents, in the parking lot for a bit and then went to bed. Tomorrow we leave Byron Bay and head to Noosa Heads.

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It’s not a mini van, it’s a camper..

Last day in Cairns, didn’t really do much. Went back and met with the rental car company to see if we could work something out with the key. No dice; they wanted 550$ for the key unfortunately. After that disappointment, we just chilled at the lagoon until our 16:30 flight. We met up with our Cairns BFF Colin. He hooked me up with some antibiotic drops for my ear, unfortunately he only had literally 2 drops left. I used them last night and now my ear feels so much better. He also hooked us up big time with a car and a trip to Fraser Island, lots of discounts included.
Caitlin 3 – Australia 4

I have also transitioned into a professional backpacker by transforming my duffle bag into a backpack:

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We arrived in Brisbane (Brisbin) & headed to a hostel. Brisbane City Backpackers, it was pretty sweet. This reminded me of living on campus in college, except way better. They had a pool, a cool roof top deck with a view of the city, an awesome kitchen that you could cook and keep your food, and of course a bar. For 26$ a night, we shared a 6 person room, with AC.

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The next day we walked around the city in route to pick up our new whip.

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I have my own University here; CQ University.

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&&& here is our new ride. The Jucy Sleeper, equip with bed, sink, cooler, & a mini cook top. I know, it’s really awesome. For about 70$ a day, your completely covered if anything happens to the van, even if you hit a kangaroo with it.

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While waiting to load up our camper, some guys gave us a box of stuff including a buncha free beer. Caitlin 4 – Australia 4

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We got our stuff and were on our way to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Seriously best zoo in Aussie. Pretty cheap and you can actually interact/ have contact with the animals. I got to frolic in a field of docile kangaroos, what could be better than that?

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& here is a million pictures of me with the kangaroos.

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After our wonderful day with the Roos we got back in the camper and drove down the Gold Coast to Byron Bay. We were suggested to stay at this place called the Arts Factory, but by the time we got to all the hostels all the camper spots were taken. Soooo we had to drive around until 2:00am looking for a spot, couldn’t find one so we just made up a spot for ourselves in the Arts Factory. We were told by the staff that if we were caught, we’d get fined but we didn’t have any options sooo fingers crossed 🙂

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Second attempt at exploring the rainforest

This time we decided on taking a tour of the rainforest instead of leaving it to us to fck something up. We boarded the Barefoot tour bus at 7:30am & were not returning back into Cairns until 20:30. Ear update: It is now extremely painful & I can barely hear out of it. I have also adjusted the standings to Caitlin 2 – Australia 2 because I did get to see nemo and swim with a sea turtle.

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Our first stop was at Lake Eacham that was made by a volcano some thousands of years ago. They served us some local fruit which was awesomeee

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Super tasty. Except I’m an idiot and ate the delicious fruit and then rubbed my sugary fingers on my legs and it was like I was putting extra juices on a medium rare filet mignon for the mosquitos to enjoy.

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Caitlin 2 – Australia 3
Luckily a girl on our tour had some antibiotic cream she got at the medical center because she too was attacked by the bugs

Our next stop was rock hole named “the crater” named because of its depth if 80 meters (262 feet)

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So on the tour they let one person throw a rock into the crater, throwing away their bad energy. Naturally everyone on the tour suggested Erika & I, after hearing our Aussie experiences thus far. So we got to throw our bad vibes into an endless crater

After that, we made our way to the waterfalls.

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Next we stopped at this tea farm where they have this trust system at their store; they leave a jar of money and tea on the side of the road and if you buy tea you just leave it in the jar. Clearly that would never fly in the States.

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Next we played in the waterfall that the Herbal Essence commercial was filmed at; Millaa Millaa Falls.

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Ear update: had an ear plug to protect it, but didn’t have it the first time we went into the falls. Hearing after swimming is now nonexistent in left ear. We returned to Cairns and had some dranks then went to bed. The next day we fly to Brisbane.

Actually finding nemo

8:00am We boarded the boat to go scuba diving for the day on the Great Barrier Reef. We toured on the Deep Sea Divers Den, was a fun tour, got to see nemo & a sea turtle. It was really sad to see how much of the reef was dead. But besides that it was really amazing. The wildlife was awesome and the water was so clear. I did however fck myself when diving; didn’t equalize correctly so I got water in my ear &&& now I can’t hear out of it.
Current standings: Caitlin 0 – Australia 2.

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Hanging with a sea cucumber.

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If you dislike me & get enjoyment out of my demise, you’ll enjoy reading this:

So in Australia is extremely easy to rent a car. With 40$ and a drivers license you can rent a car for the day. We got a hideous red compact Hyundai and were off to drive on the wrong side of the road.

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Here’s a fun fact: Australia is home to the oldest rainforest in the world. So that’s where we decided to drive to. About 2 hours north of Cairns (cans) is the Daintree at Cape Tribulation. It’s also the only place in the world where the rainforest butts right up to the beach.

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Sucks for us, but it’s currently the wet season here so naturally the road flooded out so we couldn’t make it all the way up the coast.

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We instead went to Mossmans (Musmons) Gorge (1.25 hours above cairns) and went to check out the rapids that are in the forest.

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A very nice couple who unintentionally fcked us, suggested we leave our trainers behind since the dirt path was flooded. So we took their advice and wanted to murder them for it. A 1.5 mile hike into the rainforest without shoes left us with no other option but to tie leaves to our frigging feet in an attempt to spare us some pain.

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We finally made it to the gorge bridge (which was awesome despite the constant torrential downpour) && stopped for some pics. & that’s when I really fcked up.

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I managed to allow our rental car key to slip through my fingers. It fell perfectly into the bridge hole & down into the deadly rapids.

I sat in the crouched fetal position for about 2 minutes in disbelief while all Erika could do was hysterically laugh. I too started to become hysterical and we trucked back through the down pouring rainforest, still barefoot. On our decent down to the visitors building panic started setting in. In Australia, everything closes on Saturdays pretty early. It currently was 13:00 and there was a chance the rental shop would be closing. Alone, in an Australian rainforest, no car, no money, no passports, no way to get anywhere, we ran to the visitors building hoping to god the car rental hadn’t closed yet. The Aboriginals at the visitors center were so kind and took pity on two stupid Americas. They let us use the phone and helped us find the rental agency’s number. By the grace of god it was open and they had a spare key. Unfortunately they had no way of getting it to us. Again, no money, no way of getting anywhere. We meet this really nice guy in Cairns who we booked our scuba trip with, and remembered he gave us his cell number incase we needed anything. We’ll Colin, our hero, managed to find a bus company who was coming up, to drive us the key. 3 hours later, we got the key. We were saved. Made for a great story and a lot of laughs, but it cost me 400$, since that is the cost of replacing the key. Could have been 10x worse so I’m starting to cope with that financial blow. Day 2 in Australia, I’d say successful.

25 hours later… & a lot of rain.

We left out of JFK at 6:45pm, made out way to LA, had an hour lay over and then a 13hr flight to Brisbane. (Pronounced Briz_bin, apparently they don’t like sounding out the letter “r” here) We got a lot of free alcohol on the flight which was a big plus; flying Quantas was really awesome, big seats.

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After the 13 hr flight into Brisbane, we rushed to catch another flight via Virgin to Cairns (pronounced Cans) Upon arrival we were welcomed by a Monsoon.
After we got our bags, we bought the first bus leaving the airport, which happened to took us into city center. When we got into the center of town we walked up to the first travel agency we saw. Had them book us a hostel for 17$ a night and made our way from there.
TRAVELERS NOTE: do not go into the travel agency’s that are close to the bus stop. If you walk a couple of blocks down, you’ll find better deals.

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⬇️⬇️Erika swinging in a tree ⬇️⬇️

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Their money is pretty sweet: it’s made of plastic so it’s water proof & it doesn’t crease when you fold it.

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It’s also see through in parts to prevent counterfeiting.

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Also there’s kangaroo scrotums everywhere for tourist like us to buy

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Naturally, Erika bought one.

Packing to find Nemo

So I’ve decided to travel to Australia & this time I’ve roped my best Asian into coming with me. I am going for 4 weeks and I have packed the following:

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18 shirts:6 pairs of shorts:3 dresses: 6 bikinis: 3 pairs of shoes

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Squeezed into 5 zip locked baggies

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Shoved into 1 duffle bag: ready to go.

We haven’t made any plans on where we are staying, how we are getting from place to place, the only thing we have planned is a date that we have to get to Sydney by. But don’t worry, we’ve got these sweet modern fanny packs to keep our shit safe:

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They are called Hipsisters, don’t be too jealous. If you are jealous, I’ll be selling them in the store so you can buy them at BanglesnBows.

Quickbook’s hack: Inputing Sales

First and foremost, before I even share this information, you should know I am in no means a Quickbooks expert or an accounting guru. I am a small business owner who had zzzzero experience with accounting/Quickbooks, who wanted to use the power of Quickbooks for book-keeping purposes. This hack is a means of inputing sales into Quickbooks when your POS doesn’t do it for you.

I chose to use a POS–point of sale– system other than the one offered by Quickbooks due to reviews I read stating that if you didn’t have an accounting background that the system was more difficult to understand. While the benefit of using the Quickbooks POS is that it simultaneously integrates with your book-keeping, I found that the detailed sales information given by my software was worth it (or at least that is what I tell myself.) Any who, I had to figure out a way to input the information from my POS’s reports into my Quickbooks for accounting purposes. When scouring the internet for advice, I came up short. I attended a SBA Quickbooks class, which I highly recommend you do as it was very very helpful and it was FREE!!! However when working with the instructor of the class on how to input my info, she was somewhat perturbed that I chose not to use the Quickbooks POS and didn’t have much to offer when offering a solution to my problem of integrating my POS sales info into the QB model. So after gaining the understanding of debiting & crediting, the type of accounts and balancing my P&L, I came up with a solution that worked for me. My hope is that you’ll be able to use this hack in a way that works for you:

Okay so first thing is first; setting up your accounts.

Quickbooks is nice enough to suggest accounts for you per types of businesses. This is nice however I am somewhat anal retentive and like to have more control than that. I selected other for my industry so that it wouldn’t input accounts for me. I found it extremely useful to organize my accounts per my tax forms to make things easier on my accountant (cutting my accounting bill significantly.) I am a single member LLC so I file a Schedule C (Form 1040) Below is how I organized my accounts:

Quickbook Accounts

Quickbook Accounts

 

Like I said, anal retentive. I use sub-accounts so I can see exactly where my money is going when viewing my P&L. How you choose to organize your accounts is your prerogative, however the accounts you must have for this “hack” are:

  • NAME                                      :    TYPE
  • Cash Undeposited                   : Other Current Asset
  • Undeposited Merch Services   : Other Current Asset
  • Inventory Asset                        : Other Current Asset
  • E-Commerce Undeposited      : Other Current Asset
  • Cash Register                          : Other Current Asset
  • Sold Goods                             : Income
  • E-Commerce Sale                   : Income
  • “Your Bank Name”                   : Bank

–If you do not have an E-commerce platform than just ignore those accounts.

When creating these accounts, in the tax drop down select <not tax related>

Okay so what does this mean? To account for deposits into your account you have to denote where they came from. Revolutionary right? Well to someone who had no experience with accounting it was somewhat confusing. So now that we’ve got the accounts lets make some $$$ and I’ll explain the rest as we go along.

***I’d like to reiterate that I am not a Quickbooks expert and I only use a tenth of QB’s potential, this is just how I found to make the software work with my needs.***

Creating a sale is relatively easy… I accept 2 forms of payment; cash & cc, (I’ve taken checks before but I just add them in with the cash) So if you take other forms like paypal or apple pay, you’d need me make another “Other Current Asset” account. In your POS (or if you just old school it) You need to know at the end of each day how much cash/cc will be deposited, separately. Most merchant services deposit funds the next day so when inputting your end of day sales you deposit the funds into your Undeposited Merch Service account to double-check that the right amount will be deposited/ you have entered the right amount that day… BALANCED   Same goes for your cash, deposits will go into Cash Undeposits because I am certain that you are not depositing your cash into your bank account every night. This will allow you to check and double-check the information being entering is accurate and that the deposits are correct. Here are some visuals:

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 9.23.24 AMOn the home screen click on  Create Sales Receipts

Another window will pop up.

So for your first time you will have to make your customer & items and after you input it the first time, it will be saved into the system. When adding a customer just start typing the customer name and click “Quick Save”. When adding an item, start typing item and then a prompt will pop up, click “Set Up”.  In “Type” drop down, select Service. In “Account” drop down, select Sold Goods (for Cash & CC items) and E-Commerce Sale (for E-Commerce Items)

You’ll have 3 sales each day (less or more depending on how many types of payment you take) I like to keep things consistent and always have them in the same Sales No. order: Cash-1; CC-2; E-commerce-3. This helps because when I am inputting my sales, sometimes I forget to change where the money is being deposited to and if kept in the same order you’ll realize that it wasn’t changed for the prior sale. Make sure to be depositing to the right account

Sales Rece

I do not denote tax when doing this. The money that will be deposited in your account will include your sales tax money so if you try and take it out prior, it will get all messed up. My POS tells me how much in sales tax I owe each qt so when the time comes to pay up to the state, I just write a check in that amount and then expense the item in my books.

Okay so you’ve created your sales for each day. If you look at your chart of accounts on your homepage you’ll see that you have money that is owed to you that has not been input into your account yet. If you have done everything correctly it should look something like this:

Quickbook Accounts

Quickbooks Record Deposits

So now you went to the bank and deposited your money and your merchant services deposited the money into your account. Next, you check your bank statement and start inputting all your deposits and withdraws. In your QB homepage click on Record Deposits.

 

Deposit them in order according to your statement but theses are how the should be deposited when the time comes:

Quickbooks DepositsAfter the money is deposited into your account, it will no longer be held in your undeposited accounts:

Quickbooks Chart of Accounts

You should tailor this concept to fit your needs but I hope that it will help you backdoor the quickbooks need for their POS.  Again, this is not the intended way to use Quickbooks but as a small business owner without an accounting background, I found this to work with my needs. If you have any questions or if I did not explain something well enough, reach out! I can also send you the Quickbooks template for starting an account 🙂 Hope you found this helpful!

8 more hours, three more states & one more cop encounter.

Once we got up, the first place we headed to see was the pier on Lake Michigan.

Briana stopped to get some quick advice from a shrink. 

After walking around the pier and the river ways we went to go see the famous bean shaped sculpture called Cloud Gate.

It took us for ever to find parking. Chicago is terrible when it comes to finding street parking. The last place we stopped before heading out of Illinois was the great lake, Lake Michigan, so we could put our feet in.

Then hit the road for another 8 hours && headed for Pennsylvania.

Didn't make it too far in Indiana before the cops pulled 
me over. Luckily I got away with a warning :)

Our last state before home.

eye-spy.

One last happy meal.

&& we make it home and are welcomed by some rain.

Katie brought us to Grandview Avenue to see a great view of Pittsburgh.

Our last night of our trip, Katie’s dad Gary make us a camp fire to roast marshmallows on.

It was so nice to stay inside a house since we’ve pretty much been living out of a car for the past 3 weeks. Tomorrow we head back to Philadelphia, && end our trip. 

after 16 hours we made it to Chicago.

After our final drive through the night we made it to Wisconsin. We got tired so we pulled over in Minnesota && slept in a Holiday Inn parking lot. Bri couldn’t sleep so was so scared & I slept with my BB gun in my hand. Katie slept completely sound.

&& then we finally made it Chicago after driving 16 hours & stopping to sleep for 3.

We checked in to our last hotel, which happened to be a Holiday Inn, around 15:00. After showering && resting, we went out around 19:00 to explore Chicago. We had to check out the famous deep dish pizza shop, Uno.
There was a 45 minute wait. So we waked down the block to their other store called Due.

There was no wait. But it takes 45 minutes to cook the pizza. 

After the super delicious pizza, we went and found the closest bar to have a beer && whined up getting some cider instead.

The view from the lake was absolutely beautiful.

Katie had to get her daily ice cream fix, so after the bar we hit up a local ice cream shop that conveniently stays open till 4:00am.

We headed back to the Holiday Inn for our last stay hotel stay around 3:00am and are planning to get up by 7:30 to go see some more of Chicago.