Friday, August 14, 2009

Chicago Finis

More from June 14: after the Cubs game, we shot a few photos of the Amtrak servicing facility on the south side of downtown, and then stopped for dinner in Berwyn on our way back to Matt's.

Amtrak locomotives - Chicago - June 14

Dad, can we bring this home?

Sunday evening Metra - Berwyn

Monday, June 15: What's a trip to Chicago without a visit to the Sears Tower? (OK, so it's called Willis Tower now... whatever.) Unfortunately, M had gotten sick during the night... we suspected it was a case of food poisoning from the hot dog he'd eaten at Wrigley Field the day before. So he wasn't feeling well, but we made our Sears pilgrimage nonetheless. We caught a Metra train at the Route 59 station near Matt's apartment and rode downtown.

Cheers to the Sears Tower, jeers to Wrigley Field hot dogs...

I remember visiting the Sears on a summer day in 1999 when all we could see was haze. We were more fortunate this time. It was a clear day -- and not too warm or too humid -- so we had a great view.
Looking northeast

Looking northwest

M discovers that the Sears Tower observation deck isn't the best place to sleep off a Wrigley hangover...

Back on the ground, we grabbed some lunch -- Chicago style pizza -- at a nearby pizzeria. M felt better after having some saltines and some cucumber slices. Next, it was back to Chicago Union Station so Matt could head to work, and so M and I could catch a train back to Matt's apartment to get our rental car and drive to the airport.

Chicago River barge

Matt at work (well, almost... his Amtrak train was waiting somewhere outside)

That's about it... we made it to the airport about two hours before our flight's scheduled departure (and about 3 and a half hours before it ACTUALLY left...) It was an enjoyable trip, with generally good weather, we saw two ball games, traveled through parts of four states, saw lots of cool scenery, visited with family and friends, and saw and photographed a BUNCH of trains (and even rode a few). Hopefully we'll return to Chi-town sooner rather than later...


np: Waylon Jennings - "Honky tonk heroes"

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Sunday afternoon in Wrigleyville

Sunday, June 14. We had tickets for the Cubs-Twins game on Sunday afternoon. This would be my first visit to the "Friendly Confines" since 1991. Sure, Wrigley may be a bit run-down and a challenge to get to, but it's still a great place to see a game.

Home of the Cubs, bay-beeeeee!

We decided to park in a pay parking lot downtown and ride a CTA train out to the game... probably a wise choice considering the horror stories I've read about trying to park within a 5-mile radius of Wrigley during a ball game. Before the game, we met up with Matt's friend Erik at Harry Caray's sports bar. I'm not sure it was even noon yet (and on a Sunday, no less!) but the beer was flowing freely.

Matt, Erik, Whiskey.

M was ready for some baseball.

We could feel the energy just being part of the crowd on Addison Street. This season may end up being a disappointment like all the rest, but there was optimism and excitement in the air. "The Cubs are going to win TODAY"...

Addison St Cubs crowd

first pitch: full stands and full rooftops. Oh, did I mention it was sunny and in the 70s... a GREAT day for a ballgame? Too bad our seats were in the shade... oh well, we had a good view, anyway.

Ted Lilly turned in a quality start, allowing just 2 runs in 7 2/3 innings.

Cubs win! Ryan Theriot batted in the winning run with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 9th. Final score..... Cubs 3, Twins 2.

Wrigley Field bleachers and scoreboard.

After the game, we waited in a long line to board a CTA train back to downtown. Then we shot some photos of Amtrak and Metra trains, and headed to Berwyn to meet a friend for dinner. Our vacation was almost over...

Riding the CTA after the Cubs game.

Coming next: a few more trains, a sick kid, and a visit to the Sears Tower. Stay tuned...


np: the Toadies - "Tyler"

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cloudy Indiana, sunny Chicago

Saturday, June 13: We left Kendallville around mid-morning and drove west toward Chicago, making a few stops along the way. We had cloudy skies and scattered light rain, but we expected the weather to improve by the time we reached Chicago.

NS 8933 eastbound on the NS Chicago Line near Wawaka, IN.

BNSF locomotives power an eastbound CSX train at Nappanee.

Nappanee has a significant Amish population. Here, a horse-drawn buggy is seen crossing the former Baltimore & Ohio main line.

Diamonds and tower at Walkerton, IN

After lunch at a Greek restaurant in Valparaiso, we headed to Chicago to meet up with our friends Matt and Brian near the downtown area. The sun came out, and we enjoyed a nice afternoon of photography.

"Engineer Matt" on the Roosevelt Rd overpass, just south of Chicago Union Station

Amtrak train # 3, the Southwest Chief, departs downtown Chicago to begin its long westbound trip to Los Angeles.

Like a scene from The Blues Brothers... we enjoyed a short drive underneath the CTA elevated line through downtown.

Canal Street foam crew: Matt, M, Whiskey

A recently reactivated Metra F40C leads a commuter train departing downtown on the Milwaukee line at Canal Street.

After dinner, we headed to Matt's apartment near Aurora, where we'd be staying for the next two nights.

Coming next: Sunday afternoon at the Cubs game. Stay tuned...


np: "Bad Radio" from Dallas Cowboys training camp - on KTCK 1310 AM "the Ticket"

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