3 States, 4 Stories, and Jumping Out of Planes.

Indiana / Sept. 30, 2012 / by Gelb
3 States, 4 Stories, and Jumping Out of Planes.

Whew. What a week. This has been one of our most busy weeks with Bus 52. It was absolutely crazy. We started our week by heading from Wisconsin to just outside Chicago in a town called Joliet. We had a very busy several days with all sorts of different stories. We find ourselves now in Michigan, having worked in Indiana in the process! Magic, I tell you. Pure magic.

On Sunday we made our way from our campground in Caledonia, Wisconsin to about an hour southwest of Chicago, in a town called Joliet. We sampled some Chicago-style pizza (the kind with the sauce on top, for any of you snobs out there) - I'm not quite sure of how I feel about it. After getting into our campground mid-afternoon, we set about planning the rest of our crazy week.

Monday morning we hopped in the car and re-traced our steps somewhat, heading just over the boarder into Wisconsin to the home of Skydive Midwest (it was only the four of us, unfortunately, Chris couldn't come due to an event he was attending with some old college friends). We were there to do a story on Canopies for Kids - an awesome nonprofit that has just started up that gives skydivers the opportunity to skydive with a teddy bear that is then given to a child in the Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. Because it involved skydiving, Matt, one of the founders of Canopies, asked if any of us wanted to have a jump. Amy Wallace and I were the only sane ones in the group; Steven and Amy Chin were quite keen. 

We arrived and got all of the footage we needed and were able to get while on the ground, and waited for the wind to die down. Unfortunately, it was so windy that no jumps were able to happen. We were invited back at some point during the week - so we took the raincheck. Playing the waiting game added a bit of nervousness to Amy and Steven, which I obviously found amusing.

On Tuesday, we headed out to film the other half of the Canopies for Kids story - at the hospital. We got to see Matt and Taryn (the other co-founder) give out the first batch of bears to kids there - it was very fun and wonderful to watch. Afterwards, Chris and Amy Chin went off to see friends (they apparently know half of the city of Chicago), while Steven, Amy Wallace and I went in search for a Chicago-style hot dog. My two favorite foods are deep dish pizza and hot dogs… Chicago might very well need to make it on the potential move-to list. We found Portillo's Hot Dogs downtown and loved it. I had a chili dog, Steven a polish dog, and Amy a Chicago dog. She and Steven went back for more. I might have helped.

After our adventures, we three headed to a Barnes & Noble to get some work done. I was pretty exhausted and without batteries, so did the rare thing of actually looking ad books. Fascinating things. After picking up the two popularity queens, we headed back to our campground, nearly an hour away.

On Wednesday, one of our stories fell through, so we decided to head back to the Skydiving center to go for the jumps. As Chris was able to join us, he decided to take the plunge as well. He also made the very wise/unwise decision not to tell Helen, his mom, before jumping.

It was great fun watching them come down - it looks like a blast aside from the fact that you are jumping out of a perfectly functioning airplane. All three enjoyed it thoroughly and have embarrassing photos and videos to prove their accomplishment.

We headed back to the bus (after about 2 hours in traffic) to get some more work done.

Thursday, we headed back into town to do our story on Designs 4 Dignity - a fantastic organization that does interior designs and construction for nonprofits who need it most. A simple idea and one that is so much fun to watch take place. We were able to visit a couple of very thankful charities they have helped - it's a really unique idea - I think you'll enjoy the piece.

After taking a drive up to Evanston and then back into the city, the popularity queens went off to meet more friends while Steven, Amy and I headed back to camp. A long week with a lot of driving, it's very tiring!

On Friday, we made our way back into Chicago to profile More Than Milk - an organization that provides Philanthropic opportunities for mothers with babies. There are so many activities they do that are so innovative - we happen to be able to follow them as they were involved in a stroller exercise class to benefit Girls on The Run (another organization). Amy Chin nearly went out of her mind due to all of the babies there.

We headed back to Camp, did laundry and work and tried to get mentally prepared for the craziness of the following day. I knew it was going to be hard, and was not looking forward to the long, tiring drive.

Saturday morning, we left our campground around 10 and headed for Indianapolis. We made it in by 4, and got to work on our next story, The Haunted Angelus - a completely wheelchair-accessible haunted house that benefits the Angelus House, a group home for those living with Cerebral Palsy. A group, largely consisting of volunteers, comes together and scares people in order to raise money for the charity. It was both terrifying and heartwarming at the same time. Perhaps it is best encapsulated in the person of the devil who greets you as you are waiting to go in, his day job, the local pastor.

It was such a great story, and a great mission. I think you'll really like how it turns out! If you are in Indianapolis - be sure to check it out. We were pretty terrified when the lights were all on, so I can't imagine what it would be like when they are off…

After leaving the Haunted Angelus, we grabbed a quick bite and then set off on the next part of our crazy driving day. We drove through the night and managed to get into our campground in Michigan a little after 2:30 am. At the moment, a majority of us is still sleeping - we have nothing planned for a couple of days - I think we all need some recuperation - and the gorgeous setting in which we find ourselves currently, provides the perfect opportunity.

This week we will be in Michigan and then will be heading off to Ohio!