Thursday, 30 July 2015

Travels to Portland: Part 1

After departing Chicago's Union Station we headed north and a little west to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and then westward across Wisconsin and Minnesota. We had a lovely supper and then went to bed as we were pulling into Minneapolis-Saint Paul at around 22h00 (10pm) on the 15th June.

After a good night's rest we woke up to a new day and a new state. (Tuesday, 16th June) We were now in North Dakota and as the train steamed westward we were able to see lots of waterfowl and birdlife, as well as many deer and other animals. We passed through the small towns of Devils Lake and Rugby before we had a longer stop at Minot, North Dakota. We were able to spend about 20 minutes off the train here - we'd also stepped off the train in Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and Winona (Minnesota) the previous day.

From North Dakota we entered Montana and continued through wide open plains. We were having lunch as we pulled into Wolf Point, Montana. Here we were able to see prairie dogs scratching in the ground near the railway tracks. They were really cute, and reminded me of meerkats.

It's easy to see why Montana is called "Big Sky Country." The scenery was breathtaking - and we hadn't even reached the Rocky Mountains yet!

 Candace in our Superliner Roomette.
 Narrow passageways on the train.
 Pretty lake in Minnesota.
 On the platform at Winona, Minnesota.
 All ready for bed - the bunk bed folds down from the ceiling.
 Pelicans near Devils Lake, North Dakota.
 Candace and I at Minot, North Dakota.
 Information screen in the railway station.
 A view of the Empire Builder.
 Our room is the window to the left.
 Refueling the locomotives at Minot.
 Pretty scenery as we approach Montana.
 Diesel locomotives.
 Horses hold a meeting in the field.
 There were numerous scrap yards along the way.
 Lots of railway tracks.
 Passing the Confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers.
 A very long train loading grain.
 Wolf Point, Montana.
 Cute little prairie dog at Wolf Point.
 Google Street View out here?
 Interesting little bridge.
 Big sky and open plains.
 Beautiful lake in Montana.
 A deer watches as the Empire Builder steams along.
 Pretty barn on the road to Chinook.
BNSF locomotives and a little green caboose.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Travels to Chicago...

A few days after visiting Spring Mill State Park (the last post below), Candace and I began our holiday to Oregon. We left Odon on Sunday, 14th June, and drove to Indianapolis. Early the next morning (15th June) we caught Amtrak's Cardinal rail service from Indy to Chicago. It was an almost five-hour train trip to Chicago and we then had four hours to explore the big city. Unfortunately the weather didn't play along but we were able to walk to the Millennium Park and the famous Chicago Bean! We also visited the Cultural Centre before making our way back to Chicago's Union Station - to board the Empire Builder train and begin our rail journey to Portland, Oregon!

 The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in downtown Indianapolis.
 Indiana State Capitol.
 View of downtown Indianapolis.
 Onboard the Cardinal service to Chicago.
 Union Pacific diesel locomotives visible through the rain.
 U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, a Major League Baseball team.
 Entering Chicago's Union Station on a dreary day.
 Millennium Park, Chicago.
 Lots of interesting statues and sculptures here.
 With the famous Bean behind us.
 Our reflection in the Bean.
 The centre of the Bean spirals up to create some amazing images.
Waiting at Union Station for the Empire Builder service to Portland, Oregon.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Spring Mill State Park...

Candace and I visited this beautiful state park about a month ago. There is a large water mill that dates to the early 1800s, as well as a Pioneer Village where you can view people in period costume undertaking various tasks from that era. There are also hiking trails, caves to explore, and beautiful areas for picnicking - as well as lots of wonderful nature! We really enjoyed our visit to Spring Mill!

 Main entrance to Spring Mill State Park.
 Visiting the Nature Centre.
 Common Snapping Turtle.
 Eastern Box Turtle.
 Walking towards the mill and the Pioneer Village.
 The historic grist mill.
 The mechanism for turning the wheel.
 Historic buildings and homes.
 View inside one of the houses.
 Rocking chair and cot combination.
 Spinning wheels.
 Water transported on the aquaduct to the mill.
 Pretty gardens at the village.
 The meeting house - where church services are still held every Sunday.
 Apothecary (pharmacy or chemist) near the mill.
 View of the mill and the village.
 Candace and I had a lovely picnic by the water's edge.
 Walking down to Donaldson Cave.
 Candace gives a size perspective to the cave's entrance.
Entrance to Donaldson's Cave.
 We hiked above the cave too.
Astronaut Virgil Grissom, who died in the Apollo 1 accident, came from nearby Mitchell, Indiana.