Monday, August 11, 2008

Road Trip: Amtrak style.

Excluding the train at Saginaw’s Children’s Zoo and the train that takes you through Boneville at Cedar Point, I had never experienced life on the rail. No longer willing to live such a sheltered life, Aaron and I decided to journey to Chicago via Amtrak. What an adventure.

As previously stated, my train experiences were very limited. However, I did watch plenty of Shiny Time Station episodes with George Carlin and Ringo Starr as Mr. Conductor. I have also seen The Polar Express so I was a bit disappointed when the conductor did not punch some magical shape into my ticket.

I’ve also seen plenty of 20/20 episodes and knew I needed to be an alert, informed passenger. One can never be too prepared. The ride was enjoyable. People watching was extremely interesting and I had plenty of time to finish my AP summer novel, The Book Thief.

Destination One: U.S. Cellular Field to watch the dreaded White Sox battle the Texas Rangers. After quickly navigating the Chicago streets, we found the Red Line and journeyed out to 35th street. Our view, although a bit elevated, allowed great sight lines. I know Comerica Park gets a lot of hype but I found the minimum use of advertising and the maximum focus on the baseball game enjoyable. Comerica Park offers a polluted view of the field. It’s littered with advertising that may pay the bills but distracts from the ballpark’s aesthetics. The White Sox fans were loud, polite, vocal, respectful and proud. The people sitting directly in front of us were from Battle Creek and the retired couple sitting next to us was on a journey to see every major league ballpark this summer. Ahhhh, retired life. They didn’t like the access to and from Comerica. The traffic was too confusing and it took forever to get going after the game. Hmmmm, outsiders not impressed with Detroit. They’re not the only ones.

After the game we met up with Dan Rohde and ate out at Webber Grill. I know, I know how come I’m not eating pizza. The wait was too long and this bird looked too delicious. It was kind of cool to be able to pick out what bird you wanted to devour. I mean, I’ve been to those fancy seafood places where you grab your own lobster or harpoon your own seal, but this was really unique. You just wait until the right bird flew by and descended at your feet, swooped it up with a net and gave it to the waiter. In less than fifteen minutes I was eating something that had previously been flying the Chicago alleys. Honestly, there is nothing like fresh Chicago pigeon. Feather-lickin’ good.

The following day we rented bikes and set out to see the city on our two-wheeled steeds. Since the days of the RemBrandt Courier service in The Clem, I’ve had an affinity for those in the messenger business. I thought about trailing a courier or two but opted to take in the tourist attractions instead.

In the past, gangs have been an ugly part of Chicago’s streets. Much has changed over the years but time can’t heal all wounds. Here we came upon a member of the notorious SEGWAY Snipers. If the photo appears grainy it’s because I had to zoom in from a safe range. I did not want to start a riot so I kept my distance, snapped the photo and pedaled to safety.

I’m not sure how fast those Segway things can go but the lawbreakers in Chicago must be very conscientious. How else would Officer NewTechnology catch a perpetrator?

Cruising Lakeshore Drive and trying to navigate the camera was more difficult than I expected.

However, I managed this spectacular shot that would make the Big Cheese at Murawski Studios jealous. That’s me on the right. Well, that’s my ear. In the lower left is Aaron. Well, that’s his shoulder…or part of it.

Chicago 2008

No comments: