Jackie and I traveled by train to Chicago, going up Tuesday and returning Wednesday.
I like traveling by rail. It’s is more comfortable and more convenient than traveling by either car or plane, especially if you’re going to want to be downtown (where the train station is) anyway. So, as I’ve written before on Wise Bread, I’m a big fan of Amtrak. On the trip up, though, we did have a problem. Apparently, a freight train had derailed somewhere north of Gilman, leaving the track blocked.
Amtrak hired buses to take us from Gilman on into Chicago. Here’s a picture of where we waited for the buses to arrive:
The passengers who’d been faster getting off the train than us had already filled the first bus and departed, so here the rest of us are, waiting for the next bus. I’m not sure what train that is sitting there. The train we’d been on (the Saluki) had already departed, heading on back south to be ready for the next day’s trip to Chicago, I suppose.
The station itself is that bus shelter structure in the middle of the picture.
We got to Chicago about three hours later than planned, which rather messed up our schedule for the afternoon, but we had a nice trip anyway. Jackie and I went out for some brisk urban walking shortly after checking into our hotel. In Millennium Park, north of the Art Institute, we saw this:
Coming upon it produced the following conversation:
Me: What do you suppose it is?
Jackie: An amusement park ride?
Me: Maybe. Maybe it’s a solar power station.
Jackie: But it’s all shiny. That wouldn’t be very efficient.
Me: I bet I know! I bet it’s designed so that one day a year, when the sun is at a particular point in the sky, all those surfaces work together to concentrate the entire reflected power of the sun on one single point, vaporizing whoever happens to be standing there.
Jackie: That doesn’t make any sense. Think of the liability.
Me: You’re right. I guess amusement park ride is a better guess.
Today we took a bus down to Jackie’s old stomping ground in Hyde Park. We went to the Oriental Institute, the Seminary Co-Op bookstore, had lunch at Edwardo’s, and went to 57th Street Books, before heading back to Chicago and catching the Illini to come home.
A good trip, despite the unplanned bus ride from Gilman.