Monday, February 27, 2012

On My Way Home

Time for me to head back home.
South Station, Boston. I hung around the lounge for a while and was surprised by my Aunt Alice who managed to evade all security protocols and enter the lounge area. It was good to see her before I left.
I never spent much time in this part of the city.
On the way out of Springfield, MA, looking at Memorial Bridge.
The pictures I tried to take of the sunset all came out blurry, but take my word for it, it was amazingly beautiful. Like some of the best Hudson River School paintings.
I talked for a while with a guy on his way to a wedding in NY, he sells smoking devices in a store in Providence. Says that they sell many pipes made in Oregon, which is no surprise to those that know the state.
We stopped for a couple of hours in Albany, NY to pick up the rest of the train. I had dinner with a well heeled couple who were on their way to Arizona for the winter. We had a long conversation about many things. He collects Marklin trains and Swiss watches, which should tell you something about his income level. They had a bedroom in the sleeper, which is the apex of luxury.
The velcro that holds the curtains in the roomette was not functioning well. Again, I’d prefer not to have a toilet next to my bed. The Lakeshore Limited just isn’t as magical as the Empire Builder.
I have no idea where this is. Breakfast was spent with a Puerto Rican non-denominational evangelical minister. Nice guy.
Nor this. Somewhere between Albany and Indiana…
The Chesterton Indiana water tower.
2012-02-02_09-48-07_783 We arrived in the late morning in Chicago, I had about 4 hours to kill so I walked around the city. If I had known the train would be delayed leaving (by about two hours) I would have tried to take in the Art Institute, but I didn’t think a couple of hours would do it justice.
Under an overpass.
Yes, I wandered around in alleys. A bit of industrial archaeology.
I guess it’s an attractive building.
This was impressive architecture.
I hung around on bridges as well.

This is why I don’t live in the city. Noise and stink. Nice saw though!
The Sears Tower was in the clouds.
Being a hick I took a picture of the automatic toilet seat covers in the lounge restroom. Wave your hand in front of the sensor and the plastic tube advances around the seat.
On the train, on the way out of the station. The train was delayed for two hours leaving. I met a nice woman from Seattle in the lounge and we passed the time chatting about a variety of things. She was thinking of studying Food Psychology, which is a thing I guess. We also were partnered up for dinner as well.
The dinner was interesting as our companions had just taken the Wolverine train which derailed when it hit a freight truck on a crossing. They were somewhat traumatized. Ironically the one guy was a Syrian from the embattled city of Hama (or possibly Homs, I couldn’t completely follow) where life was arguably safer than on a train in the middle of America.
The stewards on this leg are peppy!
There was a family in two of the roomettes, three kids and mom & dad. They were moving from New Jersey to the wilds of Montana. They actually had a family cheer, “To a new home and a new life, Montana!”. It was touching to see that sort of optimism.
Some sort of insane asylum or school for mutants.
Ready for lunch.
North Dakota. The furrows go on forever. Apparently there’s a beautiful woman behind every tree. I had lunch with a peripatetic drywaller who sounded and looked a lot like Sam Elliott.
There was a wine & cheese tasting in the afternoon. I actually tasted the wine which I regret as it was terrible. Everyone agreed. The cheese wasn’t much better although I enjoyed it more than the rest. My companions were a farm couple from Illinois and another oil rig worker.
Sunset. At some point one of the coach passengers went crazy and had to be hauled off the train. It isn’t as bad as Greyhound, but there is a small percentage of lunatics riding the rails nonetheless.
Dinner was with a couple from Whidby Island, although the wife was from Wales originally. The other man, somewhat of a glum character, said, “You always catch me with food in my mouth” as he was interrupted by questions for the umpteenth time. You have to be social on the train.
A couple from Montana suggested blacking out the curtains in the roomette as there was a 3/4 full moon as we went through the rockies. I did that and it was about as classically magical a train ride as you could imagine. Just the moonlight reflected on snow and the lights of the train curving around the mountains.
It’s sad to end the trip…
Breakfast failure, akin to the dinner failure on the way out of Portland. If I go again I’ll definitely take the train from Seattle so I can enjoy the dining car. At least the coffee is good.
I have no idea what fruits these were, but I stopped eating them. I think the pink ones are papaya.
The mighty Columbia.
I art-tarted up these two pics as they were all washed out and blurry. I chatted with an older woman from Albany, OR. We saw many bald eagles.
Fort Vancouver.
Interstate Bridge.
And so I arrived in Portland and then after a short while boarded the bus back to Albany. Felice and the kids even remembered to pick me up at the station, which was nice. Now back to work!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Civic Opera House in Chicago was designed to look like a giant throne facing NY. Kind of an slap at them. The Sear Tower (which is what I call it) is now the Willis towers. Why? I have theory.
The new, all glass cages let you step out into space on the 103 floor and look down soo, so far to the street below gives you the willies. My theory anyway.

You can see some picture here (and my feet)

Again, Nice blog.