Thursday, April 12, 2012

Springbreak 2012: took the train to Chicago

We dragged the girls on a train to see the Midwest. I don't know if that was cruel and unusual punishment, they did...

But these kiddos have spent their entire lives on the west side of the Continential Divide, up north as far as Idaho, down south as far as Mexico, out west all the way to the coast, up and down the California  and even farther West to Maui.

East of the Rockies, they have been an hour past 1-25 near the Pawnee Buttes. Not acceptable to their mom, not so big of a deal for their father, okay, I kind of dragged him too, but they have roots in the "fly over " states and well it was the last Spring Break that Daughter #1 would be here for, she is off to college in the Fall.

So we boarded Amtrac, in Grand Junction Colorado, it was a four hour drive north to get there and took the scenic train over the Rockies, this is the Glenwood Springs Depot, near the historic hot springs and Colorado Hotel where word is a "teddy bear" was left on Theodore Roosevelt's pillow on one of his visits.
We also went under the Rockies, through the Moffat Tunnel...we were like underground for 15 minutes, thank goodness on the way back I was noozing and Jon did Not wake me up.

We went through Nebraska in the dark, but the sun came up in Iowa, such wonderful rolling hills, trees in bloom and bud and wonderful old farms and a great observation car with big windows and tables to sketch at...

I looked up the word "valley" for its the synonyms....

for valley - a long depression in the surface of the land that usually contains a river.
We have...
vale- a valley
dale - an open river valley (in a hilly area)
glen - a narrow secluded valley (in the mountains)
gully - deep ditch cut by running water (especially after a prolonged downpour)
holler, hollow - a small valley between mountains; "he built himself a cabin in a hollow high up in the Appalachians

I think 9 out of 10 townships we past in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin had one of the above endings, my favorite, Wis Dells- the only Starbucks we found advertised on I-90 or I-94, when we rented a car to head up to my family's "neck of the woods" in Minnesota.

It took a day and a half to get to Chicago... crossing the Mississippi in daylight, thank goodness...

We finally got to Union Station in Chicago and after a "first taxi" ride for the girls...
We settled into our hotel and after freshing up, went out to explore downtown Chicago, the place to start? The Hancock Observatory, of course!
Here is a 360 degree view....

On the way up, the elavator proudly announced it was the fastest in the world- sure made our ears hurt!
Jon's parents both grew up in Chicago in the 20's and 30's, his grandfather worked for Spiegels, a now defunct but well known department store and his mother grew up downtown, spending much of her time in Lincoln Park and family lore has it that as a little girl she went to see the blood splatters the day after the Valentine's Massacre.

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