Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

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Amtrak for the Holidays, Part 2

February 2, 2012

Aftre doing the whole Home For The Holidays thing for a few days, it was time to start heading back West.  If I was being totally practical, I would have gone back the way I came, taking the Southwest Chief directly back to LA.  Always leery of excessive practicality, I decided to instead go back to LA via San Francisco.  This was partly just to avoid taking the same route twice, but was mostly due to the fact that Amtrak’s Chicago – San Francisco train is called The California Zephyr.  I’ll be honest, the phrase “California Zephyr” is probably what sold me on going Amtrak to begin with.  I’m a sucker for cool place names, and apparently, cool train names as well.

It's kind of like Smucker's. With a name like California Zephyr, it has to be good.

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Amtrak for the Holidays, Part 1

January 28, 2012

As Christmas approached, I was faced with the question of whether I could/should go home for the holidays.  Having recently moved from Ohio to LA, this was substantially more troublesome all the sudden.  “Going home” used to entail a short hop down 75 followed by some state routes, etc.  About 180 miles in total.  I was now looking at over 2,200.  I took a lot of math classes in high school, all of which told me that 2,200 is more that 180.

I weighed the costs and benefits of making the trip (i.e. dithered), looking at expense, timetables, etc.  Eventually, I decided that I had time and money enough to make the trip.  Now that the if was answered, it was time to answer the how.  By this point, it was already early December, and plane tickets would have run over $1400.  Out of the question.  A cross country Greyhound trip on a tight schedule, while something everyone should do once, wasn’t something I was looking forward too after the last time (subject of another post perhaps).  I thought about driving, but I’ve kind of been there and done that.  It finally occurred to me that we have this thing in America called Amtrak.

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Day 1 – From BG to Milwaukee

October 6, 2008

[Note, I’m actually posting this, and the next several posts, on the evening of day 6 of the trip. This is just the first time I’ve had access to a Wi-Fi signal.]

Day one started a rather late (didn’t get on the road until about 1:15) and consisted of the drive from Bowling Green to my friend Barb’s place on the south end of Milwaukee’s urban sprawl.

‘Pretty uneventful, but as my mind tends to wander while driving, I did come up with some random thoughts that you’re about to be stuck with:

1. Whoever developed the speed limits along I-90 in Indiana needs to be wapped in the face with a dead fish. Really? It’s necessary to bump the limit down to 55 at random intervals for absolutely no reason? I hate people.

2. When heading into Chicago, make sure to check your gas gauge before leaving Indiana. If you don’t, you may do the following:

a. Pass the weird “Oasis” McDonald’s, pay your three dollars to get on the Skyway, and then look down at your gauge and say “son of a flaming turd nugget”, or something along those lines.

b. Take the first exit, find a gas station, and pay $4.09 /gallon when it was $3.60-ish in Indiana.

c. Wander around South Chicago, making various legally questionable maneuvers in the faint hope of finding a way back onto the Skyway.

d. Find an on ramp, only to realize too late that it’s Southbound instead of Northbound.

e. Pay another three dollars to get back on the Skyway in the wrong direction.

f. About seven seconds later, pay another three dollars to get back on the Skyway once again, this time in the correct direction.

g. Punch yourself in the face four or five times.

h. Drive through Chicago.

(More after the jump)

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