So established is Circle K Midwest that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
Every two years, the United States and Europe deploy an army of their 12 best professional golfers to do battle in a team match-play format at a venue that alternates between the two sides of the Atlantic. For the 2012 Ryder Cup event, Team USA captain Davis Love III and Team Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal will lead their teams into an intercontinental duel on the links at Medinah Country Club in Illinois. Perennial stalwarts Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, as well as 2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson, will headline the United States team as they try to avenge a 2010 loss to the Europeans at Celtic Manor Resort. Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, current world number one, leads a European team attempting to build upon a recent streak that has seen them win four out of the last five Ryder Cup events and successfully complete five out of their last six human pyramids.
Discount Tire’s professional technicians install and service a vast trove of tires and wheels to keep wagons rolling safely. Experienced, trained mechanics manage an inventory replete with tires by brand names such as Goodyear, Michelin, and Bridgestone ($60–$100/tire for most vehicles) and a huge range of wheels ($50–$100/wheel for most vehicles). Proud owners of newly outfitted buggies receive advice on how to improve their rubber-road marriages or ability to do donuts on the lawns of rival librarians. Along with recommendations on products and services, tire installations include new valve stems, road-hazard protection, and lifetime rotations.
Bloomingdale Park District's The Oasis Water Park welcomes splishers and splashers with three separate playscapes dedicated to aquatic fun. 'Cuda Cove devotes itself to exercise with its eight-lane competitive lap pool, and the one- and three-meter diving boards that launch human cannonballs or real cannonballs that just want to know what it's like to be a human child. More leisurely pool-goers can saunter over to Mango Bay, where they'll find a zero-depth entry pool complete with geysers, spilling buckets, and water slides that send guests careening into the pool below from heights of ten stories. Otter Island invites tiny fun-seekers to run wild in a safe playground complete with water cannons and pint-sized slides.
For more than 40 years, the Bloomingdale Park District has been creating safe and healthy spaces for active families and energetic children. The park district oversees more than 160 acres of open space, as well as 2,400 exercise and enrichment programs for children, seniors, and Dorian Grays in need of a new hobby. Its central hub, the 21,000-square-foot Johnson Recreation Center, teaches agile arts of gymnastics and dance while hosting the furious bouts of roundball on four basketball courts.
With more than 175 locations nationwide and more than 35 years in the business, Car-X Tire & Auto has earned a prime spot in the parking garage of quality car care and customer service. Started in 1971 by a team of seasoned muffler-shop owners, the service centers have blossomed from their beginnings as specialty exhaust shops to providers of nearly any repair or maintenance service imaginable, from installing performance-enhancing accessories to treating cars to therapeutic trust falls. In addition to promoting safety and long, healthy engine life with brake services and speedy oil changes, Car-X reaches out to the surrounding community with regular philanthropic activities, such as recycling drives and participation in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk.