Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Planes, Trains & Automobiles!!: My Cross Country Vacation- Day 2

Day 2

Our second day of our amazing cross-country adventure stared with me waking up around 5 am and more energized and excited than a kid on Christmas Day. It was still pitch black out and I had no idea exactly where we were, (I was assuming somewhere between Cleveland and Chicago), but I was staring out the window to try and get a feel for the landscape and figure out what time zone we were in. As the sun started to come up from the east, I could definitely we weren't anywhere near the east coast anymore…we had made it to the Midland States.

Changing Landscapes in Ohio/Illinois 

Changing Landscapes in Ohio/Illinois 

We made our way down for breakfast before we had to pack all our stuff and arrive in Chicago for our layover before the next train adventure. We sat with another older couple, where at this point we started to see a pattern- Pete and I were probably the only ones in the Sleeper Cars Section that were not either retired or over the age of 55. No bother to us, we just had our breakfast and headed back to pack.

Chicago’s skyscrapers finally came into view from our windows and although it seemed very much like your typical large, capital city, it still had a different vibe. We got off at Union Station, last stop for the Lake Shore Limited and proceed to find the nearest area to drop off our bags and explore Chicago for the limited time we had.

About an hour outside of Chicago

Me viewing the landscape

Chicago!

The problem with being dropped off in a major city, or any city for that matter, is if you don’t know where you’re going… you’re going to lose valuable time and probably walk around in circles like we did. Luckily for us, the couple we had met the night before at dinner, helped us out a lot when it came to directions of finding Lake Michigan and other points of interest. We took their advice and walked down Adams St. towards the “Magnificent Mile”, (doesn't Oprah live there?). While making our way down there, we saw the famous Sears… I mean, Willis Tower with the famous observation deck. Unfortunately, the line was out the door and probably about 2 hours deep, so we decided to save Willis Tower for another trip.

Willis "Old Sears" Tower

Willis "Old Sears" Tower

Me out front of the Art Institute of Chicago
Once we had made it to the “Magnificent Mile”, aka, Michigan Ave, we spotted The Art Institute of Chicago, a beautifully built Art Museum and garden which I’m sure has amazing exhibits inside… but with less than 4 hours to explore, we had to get a move on and once again, save this place for another trip.

We only had to walk about 6-7 blocks before we hit Lake Michigan, a more spectacular sight than I had imagined. I imagined some sort of big lake that you could see the other side, but this lake seemed to go on forever, like the ocean, except a lot less waves and a lot calmer.

Lake Michigan & view of Chicago!! 

Lake Michigan & view of Chicago!! 

Lake Michigan & view of Chicago!! 

Lake Michigan & view of Chicago!! 

After strolling around a couple blocks around Chicago, we headed back to the train station to grab some lunch and wait for the California Zephyr, the next train that would take us to Denver. What was really good about Union Station was the variety of places to grab food, (most being fast food), but we did find a sport restaurant of sorts, Metro Deli & Café, where you ordered food, paid and sat down at a table, so yes, like a restaurant, minus a wait staff.

After lunch, we boarded on the California Zephyr, the Chicago to San Francisco train, to our next stop Denver where we would arrive early Sunday morning. This train was a lot larger in size compared to the Lake Shore Limited with one, rather large difference… this time we had a Roomette Sleeper, a smaller version of the Bedroom Sleeper, which consisted of a bunk bed and two recliners that turned into a bed…a more intimate room so to speak. Although the room was small, it was still much better to have our own space than sit and sleep on a chair for an entire ride.

Smaller quarters than before...lest we had a bed

Smaller quarters than before...lest we had a bed


Smaller quarters than before...lest we had a bed
As we made our way into Iowa, I kept noticing the change of landscape to becoming more flat and farm (I could see how they called the area ‘tornado alley’). It was pretty amazing to see how the land changed and I could only image what it would be like to see the Rocky Mountains and Arizona dessert all on this one trip. We also made it another amazing landmark, the Mighty Mississippi River, which was a quite a sight to behold. One thing was for certain, we had officially made it to the Midwest and the gateway to the Wild West.

Mighty Mississippi River!

Mighty Mississippi River! 

Unlike our last train ride, the California Zephyr had very short stops few and far in between. We did stop off at one area, Galesburg, Iowa for a quick 20 minutes- not much to view but at least it was good to stretch out the legs.

Farms of the Mid West in Iowa (it's very flat!)

Farms of the Mid West in Iowa (it's very flat!)

Galesburg, Iowa

Galesburg, Iowa
Dinner had arrived soon after and once again we really lucked out with the people we sat with. They were a couple who recently retired (again, only young people on the sleeper train adventure), and decided to travel cross country via trains. The guy we talked to was a long time Harley Biker, so he knew exactly where the best spots were to drive when we got to Denver. He mentioned that when we got to Denver and planned to drive to Santa Fe, that we should skip the Interstate and go through Bi-way 24 through Pikes Peak, it would be a more scenic travel. We took his word for it and added the route into our travels.

After dinner it was time to lower the top bunk and get the recliners turning into the other bunk. Space was tight, but we were able to get some sleep before our 6 am wake call to get ready for the next stop on our adventure: Denver, Colorado. 

1 comment:

  1. Because of the small floor contact with the mould, crush ribs may be designed and not using a|with no} draft angle. When even the maximum really helpful wall thickness is not enough Hats For Women to fulfill the functional necessities of a component, ribs can be used to improve its stiffness. Metal threaded inserts may be added to plastic Injection Molded parts to supply a durable threaded hole for fasteners corresponding to machine screws. The advantage of utilizing inserts is that they allow many cycles of meeting and disassembly.

    ReplyDelete