August 2nd & riding the rails

We had left Chicago Union Station about 9:30 the night of the first and spent the first third of the trip sleeping. The Mrs slept in the top bunk and I slept on the bottom. The sleeperette bunks have special shaped mattresses ~ they are about the width of a single mattress at the end where you would rest your head and shoulders, but then it tapers to about half that width from the waist down where your feet would be. I slept with my feet on the wide part because we had to balance a 50 pound suitcase right next to the bunk-head-space, and I was afraid if the train ride got rough, it would topple and crush my head… preferred that it land on my feet! Here is The Mrs sitting in the seat after breakfast after the bunks put away. Notice the towering Purple Suitcase of Impending Doom next to her…

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The trip for most of the morning was fairly uneventful. I spent most of the time reading. I had brought a number of books planning to work my way through them over the duration of the entire vacation. So on this, the second day of our vacation, I finished off 2 excellent books by the Irish author, Jean Reinhardt. ( The books are available on Amazon and Amazon.uk).  A Pocket Full of Shells and A Year of Broken Promises (the sequel to “A Pocket…”). The links to the Amazon pages have good summaries of these books. My biggest problem was I only bought 2 of Jean’s books. Then read them so fast! So I am going to order a couple more today…

I was planning to add more of this day’s journey, but I had a blood vessel rupture in my left eye late yesterday morning. Last summer (July 5th) I had blood vessels in my RIGHT eye rupture due to diabetic retinopathy and over the course of a few months had 3 eye surgeries that restored most of the vision… I have an appointment to see my new ophthalmologist to check out this latest eye issue. In the meantime, my vision is compromised, but at least I am not blinded like last year!

The trip begins – August 1st

Our journey began on the 1st of August 2015 when my mother-in-law picked us up to drive us to the Amtrak Station in downtown Springfield, Illinois. We piled 7 bags and the two of us into her little Honda Fit in the morning and off we went.

( stole this picture from The Mrs’ website)

We took the 9:55 am train to Union Station, Chicago. Our journey there was uneventful, other than having WAY TOO MUCH heavy luggage… WHEW! Fortunately, when we got to Union Station (about 2 pm) we were able to stash our bags in the special luggage holding place in the Sleeper Class/Business Class lounge. Because we were taking a sleeper car to Penn Station, New York City. We had time on our hands so we decided to head over to the lake shore area and walk the pathway along Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, the closer we got to the Grant Park area, the more, and more, and more people we encountered… Until we were surrounded by HUGE crowds of mostly young 20-somethings. Seems this was the weekend of a 3 day, 24 hours a day, music-fest called Lollapalooza. One of the headliners was Paul McCartney. TOO MANY PEOPLE! We wandered away from the crowds and found a quiet little area with trees and flowers across the street from an overpriced little bistro. We got a bite to eat and sat at a little table outside relaxing.

Greenspace in Chicago
Greenspace in Chicago

After our break we started back towards Union Station, doing our best to avoid the Lollapalooza crowds…

Chicago buildings
Chicago buildings
River drawbridge
River drawbridge

We walked along the river enjoying the relative lack of people….

Although we didn’t have a mapped out walk this day, we did spend a bit of time stretching our legs for a couple hours since we had little else to do since our train didn’t leave Union Station until 9:52 pm. Our little sleeperette cabin consisted of two seats facing each other (these seats folded down into a single bed), a hidden toilet next to one of the seats, and an upper bunk bed that slid down from the ceiling. The most fun part was we had all our luggage crammed in this tiny space with just about enough room for us to sit… Thus endeth Day 1 of our journey, crammed into a little cubby hole on a train headed to NYC.

New Walks to be added….

Two important announcements:

First – I have reverted to my old Windows OS as Win10 did not like many things (programs and hardware) residing in my computer. I can post again!!

Second – The Mrs & I just arrived home late last evening after about 5 weeks of vacationing. During our trip we had the opportunity to go on walks in 3 different countries… plus we did some mileage over the Atlantic Ocean.  I will begin posting entries of our trip within the next couple days after we get unpacked and I transfer my photos from my camera to the computer.

SPOILER ALERT >>>> At no time during this trip did we step foot in an airport or on a flying craft!