I love train travel and have always wanted to travel through/across the USA via locomotive… So from Niagara we taxi’ed back to Buffalo to catch the midnight train to – not Georgia, but Chicago. It was due at midnight, but this train is notoriously late, so we didn’t end up boarding until 1.30am.
We were treated to a waiting room of people all in the same boat which became a fascinating study of human behaviour. There was the random group of people who were all going on their annual trip to Chicago. They were obviously excited because they couldn’t sit still and were loud enough for the whole waiting room to hear every intimate detail of their conversations. One of them was in a band and regaled his mate’s new girlfriend with photos on his phone of him dressed up in different costumes – presumably for the band(?)… there was another one who professed to throwing the best parties this side of the Mississippi…. there was an older gentleman who was dropped off by his daughter, who hung around at the station for hours – at that time of night, even though she wasn’t going on this trip. She kept making random statements to nobody in particular like, “I’d really like to try fried green tomatoes.” I was loving listening to all their goings on – It was like a theatrical play was being performed in front of me, however given the time, I was a tiny bit beside myself and when the train finally pulled in, I thanked all the gods that we had booked roomettes in the sleeper car. So it was on the train and straight to nigh nighs for us. The movement of the train contributed to one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had on this trip – no wonder babies like to be rocked.
The roomettes consist of two seats facing each other that then lay down into quite a comfy bed. There’s also a second bunk on the ceiling that lowers down for a second person to sleep on – we didn’t take this option because we couldn’t physically fit both of us in the roomette at the same time, so the second bunk was used for bags, etc…. You also get your own private toilet and fold down sink on this train. Yes, it’s convenient, but also – Yes, it’s a little gross.
We passed through (Holy) Toledo (Batman!) around breakfast time..
Because we were so late leaving, we arrived in Chicago late as well, so our plans of walking around the city down to the river and up the sky tower were changed to walking a few blocks away from the station for some lunch before we had to be back onboard the next leg.
Union Station in Chicago is a beautiful old building, but it was covered in scaffolding and plastic sheeting for renovations. You can get a bit of an idea though…
We both thought Chicago had a nice, friendly vibe about it – in the 2 blocks we walked.
We found a whole street of food trucks that were obviously very popular amongst the locals.
There was all sorts of things – dumplings, toasted sandwiches, Mexican, Korean, pizza, hotdogs, burgers and all were doing a fairly roaring trade. Such a great idea!
It’s a shame we couldn’t spend any longer in Chicago. It will have to go on the ‘next time’ list of places to go back to. So with only an hour to spend, we headed back to the station to wait for our train. Our second sleeper leg that would take us to Denver, Colorado.
This time we were on the top floor which proved to be a bit bumpier than the first train… and there were no toilets in your roomettes – which I was happy about.
There’s still not a lot of room to change, turn around or manouvre…. but it beats sleeping sitting up!!!!
The scenery has changed from inner city suburban to corn fields as far as the eye can see to cattle stations, to wind farms.
Most of outer Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska is all flat ground…
… that is until you hit Colorado. How’s them majestic mountains right there?
Everyone keeps telling us that the best scenery from the train is on the west side of Denver – so we still have quite a treat ahead of us.