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Cross Country Trip:DC-CHI

Washington DC to Chicago

The Capitol Limited was my favorite train on my trip. The service was superior and the train had the new Superliner II equipment. The sleepers are designed basically the same size as the previous equipment but with some improvements. The elimination of that tiny coat closet and just having a cutout with a small bar to hang coats on created much more space. Towels are folded in cubby holes above the cutout. The Call Button is pushed rather than pulled to call the attendant. What I found amusing was the fact that the toilets would flush when closing the lid. Interesting. In my room I received a shower kit in a nice toiletries bag. In it they gave me a razor, shaving cream, shampoo, toothpaste and a toothbrush. There was even a box of Kleenex in the room. I was in room #2, right next to the coffee so there was quite a bit of traffic. There were even a few noisy kids in the deluxe bedrooms who liked to visit the concession area quite often. I had no idea kids could talk so loudl! No wonder my parents always told me to "hush" when traveling. On this train the car attendant kept the coffee going non-stop plus he stocked ice and softdrinks. His name was Wallace, a "cool" kind of guy. The on board chief was Mr. Patterson. I'm not sure if this train was Par for the course, but only coffee was available on the other trains. The Capitol departed Washington DC at 4:45pm, 41 minutes late due to head end electrical problems as well as malfunctioning air conditioning in the last coach car. DC Mechanical had their hands full. The skies were mostly gray and so was the dormant shrubbery as we rolled through the Washington suburbs. What I really enjoyed in Washington was that despite the cold snap, the cherry trees were in full bloom. I've always wanted to see the Cherry blossom s in masses like that. Dinner tonight consisted of Stuffed Trout with German chocolate cake for desert. Excellent meal but service lagged a bit. I ate alone tonight as the diner was pretty empty. I think people sitting alone get served last. I don't know why, but it has happened to me in restaurants before. Maybe they expect bigger tips from multiple parties. The only downside of dinner tonight was that sitting across from me were two women with their kids and the kids decided it was time to throw tantrums at the same time. Pass the earplugs please. The diner attendants put up with so much! "Give 'em a break!"

Westward Ho! I had reached my furthest point on my trip and I was heading home again. I felt kind of sad but knew I had the whole country to cross, and it was new scenery to me. I had planned different routes coming and going so not to see the same stretch of track twice. The movie played tonight was Tom and Huck, one I haven't seen but I was enjoying the scenery too much with the extended daylight. Winding through the northern Appellations, it began to snow and it got heavier and heavier.

April 8th.

Another beautiful day as we rolled thorough Indiana farmland near South Bend. Didn't get much sleep last night due to jerky starts and stops by the engineer. We were in Cleveland for nearly an hour waiting for freight traffic to clear ahead plus the addition of four cars to our train. There was quite a dusting of snow earlier but skies had cleared. by now. By the time we crossed over into Indiana, the snow had already melted. Breakfast consisted the usual eggs and trimmings. I found that the eggs were my favorite choice for breakfast as that entree was consistently good. Sorry to say I never gave the pancakes another chance. Life is too short for bad pancakes! Time to pack up again as we were coming into the Chicago suburbs. The southside of Chicago looked pretty rough. I'm glad I was way up high looking down. I found the Conrail hotbox detectors quite efficient as the engineer must respond to each detector. I would assume that it relays the progress of ea ch train to the dispatcher. As I de-trained in Chicago, Wallace gave me a gift-wrapped box with a nice mug in it. No Amtrak logo on the mug but it was nice.

Consist of The Capitol Limited:

In Cleveland, One MHC car and 3x Amfleet coaches were added to the end of our train.

Chicago was very cold! Too cold for extensive sightseeing due to my summer attire. The frigid lakeshore wind just cut through that windbreaker like it was butter! I stashed my luggage in a locker and picked up METRA train schedules and sightseeing maps. The Sears Tower was only a couple of blocks away so I went there and rode the elevator up to the Skydeck. What a view! They had a map of the area with numbers corresponding to the building in a "looking down" view." Very well drawn. Got a nice view of Solider Field, Cubs Stadium (sorry, forgot the name of the field) and the sports arena that the Bulls play in. I was sorry I wasn't spending the night as the Bulls were in town for a home game against the Charlotte Hornets (they lost that game! It was the Bulls first home loss of the season!) . I spent about two hours there on the skydeck and even called a few people back at home and said: "Guess where I am right now?....." I tried to go to a Metro stop that had the "L" train but I was walking into a brisk head wind. It was too much for me so I headed back to Union Station half frozen.

Jacksonville to Washington DC | Chicago to Santa Barbara

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