Category: 2013 – Chicago

Day 9

We started the day early with breakfast at 6:30. As usual, we all had French toast. After breakfast, we hung out in our rooms. for the rest of the morning.


The train made a stop in Longview, Texas where we got to step off. Here is Stephen trying to stare into the sun next to our sleeper on the rear of the train.


Before we knew it, we were stopping in Dallas. We again had a chance to step off.


We went to the dining car for a quick lunch before we pulled into Fort Worth. By the time we finished our desserts, the train was backing into the station. We got off a little sad knowing it would be at least a year before we would be able to ride again. Once we got our bags, we waiting for our good friend Caroline to pick us up. The train was 45 minutes early!


After a short stay at Caroline’s, back in the truck for the long drive home. We pulled in the garage a little before 8:00pm. Of course, Vicky went right to unpacking and laundry!


So that concludes this years journey. I really enjoyed Chicago. I enjoyed being in a hotel downtown and really feeling like we lived there for a week. By the end, I was really getting the hang of getting around on the CTA.

However, the most important thing and the main reason we save our money for these trips is the time we have together making memories and growing closer as a family. For 2013, mission accomplished.

Until next time. Thanks for sharing.

Day 8

Stephen and I started the day by walking to Sports Authority to find me some shoes. We passed Rainforest Cafe.

They had Jordan’s handprints.

I bought the absolute cheapest shoes they had.


After returning to the hotel, we checked out and took another cab to Union Station. After checking our bags, we headed to Giordanos for lunch. Great deep dish pizza.



After lunch, we headed back to Union Station and hung out in the lounge.


Soon, they called us to board our Texas Eagle train back to Fort Worth. We have been playing cards a lot so far on this trip.


After dinner, we made a long stop in St. Louis where we got to step off the train. After, the boys and I went to the lounge to play cards.




Now we are off to bed.


Sorry if this post looks weird. Trying to do it from my phone.

Day 7

We did not have a whole lot planned for today. We started out going to the Lincoln Park Zoo (which is free!).




I don’t think I have ever mentioned that we have lots of pictures of Stephen with Flamingoes. Somehow, it started when he was young. Every time we saw flamingoes, we got a picture of him with them. Maybe all those pics will make a good video one day. Anyway, here is todays version…


After a quick lunch, we headed over to the Chicago Museum.





After that, we decided to take a quick ride out to see Wrigley Field. Would have gone to a game, but the Cubs were in Oakland.


Midway through the day today, I realized I had literally worn my shoes out from all the walking. Well, the shoes are several years old, but I wore some spots on the inside of each shoe that was quite uncomfortable. We found a Sports Authority but it was closed.


I may try to run by in the morning and see if I can find some shoes. We also happened across this cool McDonalds…


After dinner, we went back to the hotel. They were having a big fireworks show at the Navy Pier (do not ever go there on July 4th!) and we could see it from our hotel room.



So tomorrow we board our train back to Fort Worth. Doubtful I will get to post much before we return to Amarillo on Saturday. Maybe some quick updates. Stay tuned.

Day 6

We got to sleep in a little later this morning before heading out to Union Station.IMG_2036

Notice these stone steps worn down by millions of passengers…


We boarded a Metra train to get to the Brookfield Zoo.




This was hump-daaaaaaaay… (reference)


After the zoo, we rode the train back into town and swung by the hotel. While there, the skies opened and it started pouring. Fortunately, we were packing umbrellas. We still got fairly wet on the walk to the train, but not too bad. By the time we arrived at our stop, it had pretty much stopped. On the train, a lady told Stephen that her grandson whispered to her that Stephen looked like Justin Bieber.

The rain stopping was good cause we were going to a White Sox game.


The Stanley Cup made an appearance…


The White Sox lost to the Orioles. However, they ended the night with an awesome fireworks display.


While there was a lot of people getting on the El for the trip back, it was quite amazing how quickly we were back at our hotel. From the end of the fireworks to walking into our hotel room was maybe 40 minutes. Most of that was getting out of the ballpark to the El station.

Anyway, it is late now so I am signing off for tonight. Tomorrow is our last full day in Chicago.

Day 5

We started the day walking to the Red Line subway and rode that to the Field Museum.





This was an actual man-eating lion…


After the Field Museum, we caught the train back to downtown. For some reason, the weather is pretty chilly here so because we were headed to do a boat ride next, we had to stop off and buy ourselves some long sleeve shirts. Who would have thought it would be hard to find long sleeve anything in July in Chicago. We had to go to Target, TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory to find one for all of us (except Vicky who was smart enough to bring a light jacket). Course, I was the one who told her not to worry about packing anything warm. It is usually HOT here in July!

After shopping, we headed down to the Navy Pier to take a ride on a sailboat called the Tall Ship Windy.


Stephen and I (and others) helped to raise the sails…



After the boat ride, we bought a couple of Churros. Holy cow, they were good. Mine was vanilla filled and Stephen got a chocolate filled. They were awesome.

After dinner, we took a quick ride on the El around the loop in downtown.




After that, back to to hotel to get some rest and to do some laundry. Tomorrow will be a long day so we need plenty of rest.

Until then.

Day 4

We headed out early on a bus…


We headed to the Museum of Science & Industry.


We spent pretty much the whole day here and there was plenty to see and do.



I don’t think Stephen would have been very comfortable on a German U-Boat.



Even the restrooms are suppose to be fun. Or will be one day.




After the museum, we took the  Metra Electric train back to downtown. We went and checked out a small museum about the river bridge houses where they draw the bridges.



After another quick dinner at Chipotle (we are  not very adventurous in our food choices), we went to Millennium Park to check out the big bean (Cloud Gate).



Then back to the hotel to take it easy. Gotta rest up for another big day tomorrow.

Day 2 and 3

On Saturday, after a leisurely morning hanging at Caroline’s house, we headed off to the Fort Worth train station.



Our train was running late so we had some time to kill at the station.



Shortly after the Southbound train arrived, our train pulled into the station and we settled into our rooms.


After departing Fort Worth, the train made a stop in Dallas.


We, of course, enjoyed dinner in the dining car. The steak was fantastic!


After dinner, we all went to the lounge car and the boys played Monopoly on the iPad.


After hanging out a while in our rooms, we all turned in for the night.


We got up early Sunday morning to go to breakfast (6:30am!). French Toast all around.

By the time we got to St. Louis, we were only about an hour behind schedule.




Soon, we were pulling into Chicago and ready to get there.


After picking up our checked bags, we did something we have never done on any of our journeys. We took a Taxi. It made getting to our hotel a lot easier.

Our hotel has 27 floors and we are on the 16th floor. Great views. We can even see Lake Michigan.


After a quick run to CVS to buy some water bottles, we headed out to the one thing Vicky demanded we go to. Sprinkles Cupcake ATM.


Then we stopped off in a local mall for some dinner. We went to some exotic Asian restaurant.


After dinner back to our hotel where the boys went for a quick swim up on the 27th floor pool. Then we all crashed. Got get our energy up for a big day tomorrow.


More tomorrow night.

First Update

We had an uneventful drive from Amarillo to Fort Worth. We met up with our friends and went to dinner. They also hosted us for the night. Thanks Caroline and Ben!

Today, we got to the station at 1:00. The train was late arriving so we did not pull out until around 3:00.


Both the Northbound and Southbound trains ended up at the station at the same time.

We are moved into our sleeper and on our way. More detailed reports to come.

Chicago 2013

Our family has passed through Chicago many times on our summer journeys, but we have never stayed their to check it out. This summer, we will rectify that.

Here is our itinerary…

Friday, June 28th – Drive from Amarillo, Texas to Fort Worth, Texas. We will be meeting up with and staying overnight with a good friend who lives there.

Saturday, June 29th – Board Amtrak’s Texas Eagle #22

Sunday, June 30th – Arrive at Chicago’s Union Station

Monday, July 1st – Thursday, July 4th – Exploring Chicago

Friday, July 5th – Board Amtrak’s Texas Eagle #21

Saturday, July 6th – Arrive back in Fort Worth and drive home to Amarillo

This is a train we have never taken for a long distance as a family. We have ridden it a couple of time between Fort Worth and Dallas just for fun. I also rode it when I was a Senior in High School to visit my brothers in college. (Alan, you remember picking me up in the middle of the night?)

I try to make at least daily posts which consist mostly of pictures. If you would like to receive an email when I make a new post, use the subscribe form in the right hand column of this page.

And, for the fourth year in a row, I wanted to publically thank our good friend James who will once again be house sitting for us. James, I have a few surprises in store for you this year!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy sharing our trip with us. I am looking forward to it!