Monday, October 17, 2016

via the train... the middle part

IN which our plucky heroine continues on the journey...

Chicago is the rail hub for the USA, so almost all major rail lines terminate there, and when going cross country, my trip always includes a layover in the Windy City. This is probably my favorite view inside Union Station:

In between arrival in Chicago, and my next leg of the journey onward to Boston, it was necessary to acquire some dinner... guided by my new clever phone, I followed the map to find "Pierogi Heaven" which was only a few blocks from the station across one of the many bridges. An assortment of tasty stuffed dumplings acquired, and a stop at Baba's Village for a mango lassi, and I was fortified to continue my travels!

in Chicago, I saw this mysterious weed growing in several places on "vacant" land. The seed pods were about an inch across. Didn't see any blossoms to help identification...
Aha... my guess of something in the nightshade family was entirely off! It turns out it is likely an introduced Asian mallow known as Velvetleaf

This building has a most clever decorative panel, with a map of this portion of Chicago, and the building itself marked in red. As a designer, I was impressed. However, it was quite hot out, just over 80F, and the intense humidity began to turn into actual rain, so time to head back to Union Station..

The first class lounge in Chicago was recently entirely rebuilt, and the womens rest room also includes two shower rooms, a new and civilised amenity. This is shower room #1.
The way it works is after you have shown your ticket to gain admission to the lounge, you can then exchange your drivers license for a cardlock to one of the two private shower rooms, and a packet of bath towel and washcloth. The facilities are brand new, immaculate and very spa-like, including a dispenser for shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Our plucky heroine was delighted, impressed, and much refreshed. Another chapel of the Holy Hot Running Water!

::: spent almost three weeks visiting family; photography took a back seat :::

Much too quickly, it was time to return to the Left Coast.My carry-on baggage also makes a good place to put my legs up for a few moments, before settling in to the compartment...

The Lake Shore Limited is the route that goes between Boston and Chicago. I am less fond of the eastern trains with the bathroom actually inside the roomette, but the folding sink is amusing. It always reminds me of the bathroom in Firefly.

Folding sink in position for use. (Underneath it is the in-compartment commode) Having the bathroom in the roomette narrows the one end of the bed to something more like a mummy bag configuration. Our plucky heroine is short so this is not a problem. YMMV

Every time I saw this sign, the glyph for helpful cleaner looked more and more like a demon, complete with pitchfork and horns.

sunset on the Lake Shore Limited (I think this was the Schenectady stop)

probably the most spectacular sunset of the trip (I think it is Schenectady and the Mohawk River, but I may be mistaken)

The eastern legs of the trip pass through a lot of industrial scenery

Once my train arrived in Chicago, my first thought was to acquire some lunch*... Rather than return to Pierogi Heaven, as tasty as it had been, I wanted to try Lou Mitchell's, a diner that has been in business since 1923, only a block away from Union Station, and at the beginning of Rt 66 on Jackson Blvd.
* the food on the Empire Builder is so much better than the Lake Shore Limited, and my breakfast had been... disappointing

What can I say... some very graceful neon. But I wanted the full sit down experience...

My Chicago lunch: a BLT on house baked dark rye, a glass of milk, and a relic from my childhood, a "black and white" for dessert.


  1. Love your comments and "take" on your journey!

  2. Such visual richness you've shared with us the last few days! I thoroughly enjoyed it all.