On a Train They Call the City of New Orleans

Summer Vacation 2013

Week One

Woo Hoo!

School’s out for the summer! And since we have been living in exile the past 4 years in New Orleans, riding out the Great Recession, my summer vacation means that it is time to spend as much time as possible in the ‘Home Triangle’ of Chicago, Detroit and Northern Michigan. Can anyone say another summer of Planes, Trains and Automobiles? I’m feeling a bit of a squeeze to get in all that I want to accomplish. I started with 10 weeks of summer vacation in 2010, had 8 in both 2011 and 2012, but am down to only 6 this summer, and so whenever there is a window of opportunity to head to the Home Triangle, I’m there. Case in point, this past week.

Teachers last day at my school was last Friday and I took the 1:45 PM City of New Orleans train out on Saturday, June 15. Riding this train has been on my ‘to experience’ list and now I can check it off. I rode coach and thanks to vacation season, it was a full train, so my space was cozy. I took full advantage of the observation car for a big chunk of the afternoon and early evening, however, and ate dinner in the dining car so I didn’t get claustrophobic and cranky.

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Sleeping in my coach seat, even with it’s leg rest and ability to put the seat back, was not the most comfortable night’s sleep. I had a window seat, but sat next to a rather unfriendly woman.  I was able to catch enough sleep, however, and when I arrived in Chicago at 9AM, I was ready to throw my belongings in a locker at Union Station and spend the day wandering around downtown, enjoying the beautiful Chicago waterfront.

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I eventually met my good friend Carol for a late lunch/cocktails at the Weathermark Tavern and caught the 6:00 PM train to Ann Arbor, where my parents picked me up after midnight. I was so grateful to sleep in a bed at their house that night! 🙂

Monday I slept in and vegged a little bit. The big event was going to see “After Earth” with my parents and my sister’s kids. Love being able to go to a matinee! Something about the movie caught me as well and so I rated it higher than I expected.

I borrowed my parents’ car and drove up to the Cottage on Tuesday (4.5 hours) to spend a few days with Grams. Such a welcome relief from the heat of New Orleans!!!! I was able to walk along the beach, kayak, at least get into the water (still quite cold, however!) and enjoy some rest. Grams and I played some heated games of Scrabble–and she made me some of my favorite foods. 🙂

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I headed back to my parents on Friday in time for dinner and on Saturday morning they dropped me off in Ann Arbor a little early so I was able to wander around the Farmer Market and grab lunch from Zingerman’s before starting my reverse train ride back to the South. I had a 3 hour layover in Chicago which was just enough time to meet up with dear friends Grace and Carol at Pegasus in Greek Town before catching the 8:00PM City of New Orleans.

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I got a window seat for the train ride home and so had a front seat to a beautiful full moon. Didn’t sleep much for the first leg of the trip to Memphis, but was able to the second leg when the woman I was sitting next to got off the train. I just might have to try the sleeper car at some point… We arrived in New Orleans as the sky opened up and it poured down rain. Crazy how within 15 minutes my pictures go from bright sunshine to downpour! We were an hour early which was nice.

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The high point of my day: Terry made me crab cakes for dinner!!!!! 🙂

7 thoughts on “On a Train They Call the City of New Orleans

  1. I absolutely LOVE train travel…..not too fond of train stations in the US, but love the trains. Cool “sun” windows that curve around above the regular windows. I did shell out for sleeper car on Siberian Railway–way more comfortable! Loved the pics–bright, morning sun in Chicago, beautiful views at cottage (why haven’t I visited you there??), wet, swampy views in the South! When do you return north? We leave for Peru next week.


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