Monday, June 8.
We had spent Sunday night in Rochelle. After breakfast, we headed to the Rochelle Railroad Park. Here is a town that knows how to capitalize on its railroad heritage and rail traffic. The Railroad Park features numerous amenities for the casual visitor -- a covered train viewing platform (complete with picnic tables and a radio scanner), interpretive displays, and a small shop. We never saw fewer than 6 or 8 other railfans there during our visit -- even on Monday morning. A few nearby businesses have gotten in on the action as well.
We didn't stay here this time. Maybe next time, though... UP eastbound at Rochelle. BNSF eastbound Z-trainBNSF Rochelle switcher. That's the Rochelle train viewing pavillion to the right. M makes a mockery of the rules. We caught up to the Rochelle switcher again on our way out of town.
This is the first mention you'll read of it, but our trip got off to a bit of a rocky start on Sunday when I realized I had forgotten my cd's (and M's Nintendo DS, as well). Miss C had been nice enough to drive us to the airport, and I left those items in her car while I repacked our carry-on bags. M actually did fine without his DS; I offered to loan him my Game Boy, but he actually spent lots of time reading the books he brought (ones which probably would have gone untouched if the DS had been with us). I, on the other hand, had no intention of enduring the trip without suitable music to listen to. So I upgraded our rental car to one with a satellite radio -- money well spent, IMHO.
It took me a few hours to get the hang of it, but Sirius / XM satellite radio ended up being everything I hoped it would be. In addition to my daily fix of Howard Stern (I hadn't listened to Howard since he left the traditional airwaves), Sirius featured an exhaustive menu of specialty musical selections: outlaw country, classic / traditional country, bluegrass, "Lithium" (early 1990s alternative rock), a station that played only Grateful Dead... really great stuff. I was surprised to hear Dallas Wayne, formerly of north Texas' KHYI, spinning tunes on the "Outlaw" and "Willie's" stations. So that's where he ended up. And I discovered a number of new tunes to add to my itunes library. We drove about 2000 miles during our 9 days in the heartland; the satellite radio sure made the trip a lot more enjoyable.
After leaving Rochelle, we headed back to the city to catch the afternoon commuter rush hour on the BNSF "East End" between Chicago and Aurora.
Lee, Illinois: home of tractors and Zephyrs. back at Big Rock.
Coming next: rush hour on the East End.
np: Ginny Hawker & Carol Elizabeth Jones - "Time is Winding Up" / kid watching "I-Carly" on Nickelodeon
Labels: Big Rock Illinois, BNSF Aurora Subdivision, Lee Illinois, road trip, Rochelle Illinois, satellite radio, Sirius, train photos