Some people get to ride with the Blue Angels before Chicago's Air & Water Show.
Me? I get boat ride.
And love it, for views such as this of Navy Pier.
It's become a ritual each summer to take a boat ride with some staffers from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which is based here.
On Thursday morning, as the clouds lifted, I launched from DuSable harbor with Dana Fennewald and Rob Newsome in a 31-foot Formula.
In part it was to see the new joystick docking technology (formally known as MerCruiser Axius Docking System), but it was also to enjoy a boat ride.
And Chicago may be the finest city to take a boat ride from.
Dana, who grew up in Streator and is now public relations manager for NMMA, has put together these rides for several years.
This year was special with Rob. He grew up in the south suburbs, but learned his boating (a rare mix of sail and power) while vacationing as a kid in Michigan around Sister Lakes and Lake Michigan. He is director of Engineering Standards for DiscoverBoating.
I never tire of seeing Chicago from Lake Michigan. Every day is different, the sky is different, the water is different.
Thursday was no different.
We did the usual stuff, such as exploring the end of Navy Pier, tried out the technology and Rob let the boat rip up past 50. Oh, that baby flies.
Then he said the Blue Moon was in Burnham, probably for the Air & Water Show, and would l like to see it.
I have seen some big yachts docked at Burnham, but Richard Duchossois' 198-footer made those look small. Those are huge yachts dwarfted by the Blue Moon.
Power & Motoryacht magazine listed it at 24 in its 100 largest yachts of 2007 in its piece last year.
Tucked on one of the upper decks is a gorgeous wood boat, which Rob said a rare Italian Riva Aquarama.
I enjoy people who enjoy their work.
It was a good ride with Dana and Rob.
It was time.
The clouds lifted as we circled back around Northerly Island. Docking was a breeze with the new technology.