Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Quickie in Chicago and on to Madison

Train delays did us in and we were 3 1/2 hours late getting into Chicago. There was no way we would have time for a trip to the art institute or any other sightseeing.  The one part of the Chicago plan that I thought I might be able to salvage was Sprog's request to try Chicago style pizza. A frantic web search from the train turned up a place that was not only less than three blocks from the station, but also took orders online.  I ordered our pizza when we were about 30 min out and then fervently prayed for no further delays. The timing was gonna be close.  We arrived in Chicago and dashed to the first class lounge to drop off our bags. So far so good.  Then out of the station to find our pizza. And that's when serendipity struck. To get to the pizza place we would walk right past the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower.  Not enough time to go inside but a short pause to stare up, open jawed at the tallest building in the US  fit into the schedule just fine.  Our luck held and the pizza was ready on time allowing us to get back to the station in plenty of time.  We boarded the Empire Builder and headed to our next stop, Madison, Chicago pizza in hand.

We spent two days in Madison, WI with my brother-in-law, James and his fiancĂ©, Meg who both work at the University of Wisconson.  Thursday was my birthday and started out with a hearty breakfast and visit to campus so James could take the Sprog to see his chemistry lab. Then I got to spend the middle part of the day canoeing on lake Wingra. We then went for drinks at The Terrace overlooking lake Mendota. Apparently this is an obligatory activity when in Madison. But obligatory or not the combination of peach cider, live bluegrass music, and a lovely view of the lake made it wonderful spot to relax and have a good long chat.

The Sprog and his Uncle James both deep in contemplation.  

Friday started with a bit of a logistics issue trying to get a flat tire fixed on Meg's car. But once that was taken care of the rest of the day was much more fun. We got to visit Meg's part of campus in the art department where the Sprog was scanned for a 3D image!  Some afternoon shopping and then it was time to return to the train station. 

The train station in Columbus, WI (closest station to Madison) is one of those itty bitty places that time seems to have forgotten.  Look at the details on the solid wood benches that have probably been here since the station was built in 1906. 

Nothing high tech here. 

We got ourselves settled back onto the train and spent the remainder of the afternoon watching the world go by. This will be the longest leg of the trip scheduled at about 25 hours when it runs on time. Fingers crossed...

The Mississippi River. 

Being on the train on the 4th of July turned out to be a lot of fun. We spent the evening in the observation car watching fireworks on the horizon and we arrived into Minneapolis/Saint Paul just in time to catch part of the fireworks displays there too.  Then off to bed. 

Sleeping on the train is a bit odd. On the one hand there are interruptions during the night as the train makes stops.  On the other hand the rocking and white noise make for very restful sleep and our compartment is actually one of the coziest places I've ever slept.

Morning in North Dakota. It's flat. 

With occasional outcropping as we went further west. 

But mostly flat. But look at that sky!

It's been a quiet restful day on the train. We've filled the hours with meals, games, knitting, and staring at the landscape go by.  If all goes well we'll arrive in Glacier in a few hrs.  

1 comment:

  1. That looks like fun! love the bench in the train station. Rail travel across the States fascinates me. xxx