The City of New Orleans

The City ofNew Orleans

July 10, 2011

The City of New Orleans

Fulton, KY, Carbondale, IL, Du Quoin, Il, Centralla, IL,
Effingham, IL. Mattoon, Il, Champaign-Urbana, IL Rantoul, Il, Gilman, Il,
Kankakee, Il, Homewood, Il, Chicago.

406 miles

Unfortunately I was sleeping when I went through Effingham Illinois.  I wanted to get off and ask for some effing ham and effing eggs and how many places is that joke going to work?

And then I slept through Rantoul.  Rantoul was the destination of my first train trip ever back in 1967.  I spent a year of my life going to school there at Chanute AFB, which is the biggest training base in the USAF.  I remember Rantoul as being cold and flat.  I am sure it is still flat.

We were soon back in Chicago and it seems I was just there a few days ago. I was glad to get off of The City of New Orleans because it was not a happy train for me.  There were problems with the HVAC that had the car I was in going from about 90 degrees last night to about 50 degrees this morning.  Of course that did not keep me from sleeping for about 10 hours so the trip went fast.

And after a short layover I had to catch a train going west.  The floods up in the northern plain states have the Empire Builder shut down.  This is impacting the other trains going west so I took the last seat available on the California Zephyr. This is not the worse thing that could happen but it means I am traveling a bit faster than I want to. But I do that often.

The California Zephyr

Chicago, Naperville, Princeton, Galesburg, Burlington, IA, Mount Pleasant, IA,   Ottumwa, IA, Osceola, IA, Creston, IA, Omaha, NE, Lincoln NE.

555 miles

I had a walk around Chicago for a bit and then settled in for some red beans and rice in Union Station fixed by an oriental man.  This country definitely is a melting pot.  As long as the pot has red beans and rice in it  I am good.

I was entrusted with the care of Elizabeth by her son so I had to see to it that she got on her train to Grand Junction.  At pretty much every boarding I adopt someone or they adopt me.  I have become something of an expert in negotiating these trains.  Elizabeth promised to buy me a beer in Grand   Junction and that is all I need to carry someone’s bags.

And then we were off across the ethanol fields and there are a lot of them in western Illinois.  They are situated on rolling hills and are rather pretty.  At least the vistas have lengthened since there is not so much vegetation that is right up against the
tracks. And I am reading ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and that has proven to be quite the conversation starter.

We crossed back over the Mississippi and entered Iowa.  More Corn. But we passed through Ottumwa which is the home town of Radar O’Reilly from ‘Mash’. That was special. But we kept getting behind freight trains that travel slower but since they
own the rails we were obligated to stay behind them which put us further and
further behind schedule.


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