Monday, January 23, 2017

Amtrak Winter Adventure January 2017 - Monday January 23 - Flight to Chicago

Me and My View From My Room in THE WIT HOTEL

Flight Nashville to Chicago

Up early this morning in Nashville to drive to Nashville International Airport to check in with Southwest Airlines for my 11:30 AM flight to Chicago. Although I was number 40 to board I was lucky and found a front row window seat with empty middle seat and nice business lady sitting in my row on the aisle seat. Quick and smooth flight arrived Chicago's Midway Airport ahead of time and GO Express Shuttle delivered me to THE WIT Hotel by 2 PM.  Interestingly, my checked bag got to Chicago before me on an earlier flight and was sitting in the baggage pick up area along with several other bags. Had to show my ID and baggage check to pick up my bag and was on my way. 

This afternoon I took a good long walk around the Chicago Loop area and took some photos. Below are a few of those photos:

View of Chicago River from My THE WIT Hotel Room

Michigan Avenue South

Familiar Chicago Landmark

More than Life Size Abe Lincoln and Unidentified Man 

Another View Angle

Chicago River East to Lake Michigan

Nighttime View From My Room 

No specific plans for my  free day in Chicago Tuesday except to ride Amtrak's Hiawatha train to Milwaukee and back in the morning.  Leave Chicago at 8:25AM and will be back by 12:30PM.  May get some Chicago pizza.

My trip on the California Zephyr is looking like a possible thrill ride. The Sierra Nevada Mountains in California have been having several snow storms with record snowfall amounts in the "feet" and the rails over the mountains have been making it very difficult for both passenger and freight trains to go through. In fact the tracks have been closed to all traffic much of the daylight hours so the tracks can be cleared of snow. As a result the westbound Amtrak Zephyr's have been held in Reno, NV, for as much as 10 hours before allowing the train to proceed very slowly taking twice to three times longer to go over the mountains than scheduled. The record late time into Emeryville, CA, has been 14 hours arriving 6AM next morning instead of the normal 4PM. My goal is to look forward to the adventure and hang loose. I have my tablet e-reader loaded with lots of books to simply take it easy, relax, and enjoy the extra time on the train. Look forward to a couple Iphone updates of my progress or non-progress across this wonderful USA over the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the Sierra Nevadas of California.


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I will not post all the travel plans as reported in my last update blog. I only want to update you on my June Amtrak Adventure. Instead of spending a night in Chicago at the end of my trip and flying home from Chicago, I have extended the trip to connect to Amtrak City of New Orleans from Chicago to New Orleans, stay a few days and fly home from New Orleans.  Here is the updated travel plans:

June 4 - 20 Amtrak 2017 Summer Rail Adventure -- I'm returning to two of my favorite cities while riding four Amtrak trains on this trip. I will fly to New Orleans June 4 staying three nights at the Hyatt House Hotel downtown on the Loyola Streetcar line.  Then I will depart New Orleans on Amtrak's Sunset Limited through Houston, TX; El Paso, TX; and Tucson, AZ, to Los Angeles where I will transfer to Amtrak's Coast Starlight through Oakland, CA; Klamath Falls, OR; and Eugene, OR, to Portland, OR, where I will spend four nights visiting this naturally beautiful city and surrounding area.  In 1966, I spent three months in Oregon while in training to be an auditor for the now Federal Highway Administration during the building of the Interstate Highway System. Incidentally, that is how I ended up living my entire adult life in Nashville, TN, to which I was permanently assigned after completing my training. June 14 I will travel via Amtrak's Cascades train from Portland to Seattle, WA, to transfer to Amtrak's Empire Builder Seattle to Chicago via Spokane, WA; Whitefish, MT; Glacier Mountains National Park; Havre, MT; Minot, ND; and St Paul/Minneapolis, MN. Arriving Chicago I will connect to Amtrak's City of New Orleans departing at 8 PM June 16 and arrive in New Orleans June 17 for a three night stay before flying home from New Orleans to Nashville June 20.


You can click on any of the small photos in this blog to open a full size photo. 

All my photos are available to view on Reagan's Photo Galleries website.


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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Amtrak Winter Adventure January 2017 - Preview - One Week to Departure

California Zephyr in Snowy Colorado

One Week to Departure for January 2017 Amtrak Winter Adventure 

Just one week until I depart Monday, January 23, flying Southwest Airlines Nashville to Chicago for my January 2017 Winter Adventure staying two nights each in Chicago; Emeryville, CA; and Los Angeles, CA, and riding two Amtrak trains. First up will be the California Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville via Omaha, NE; Denver, CO; Colorado Rocky Mountains; Salt Lake City, UT; Reno, NV; and the California Sierra Nevadas. If you have not heard, the Sierras are having record snowfall this year so I'm expecting much more snow than my last couple Winter rides on the Zephyr.  After two days in Emeryville and possible ferry ride over to San Francisco one day, I board the Coast Starlight in Emeryville to ride down the California coast to Los Angeles and on to the LAX Hilton for two nights. Hopefully, the Starlight will not be four hours late and I'll get to the hotel before 3 AM as I did this past October.  

The photo above was obtained from another person's post to Facebook recently as is the photo below.  They depict the snow I hope to see while riding these two trains. 


Another view of the California Zephyr crossing Colorado

Probably not every day, but I do plan to post a couple short updates either by Iphone while on the train or via my laptop when staying overnight in the hotels.

If you would like to see last January 2016 photos check them out here:

Personal News Update - In one of my recent blog updates I mentioned that I was having outpatient surgery.  I had that surgery December 20 and my recovery has been very good and much less painful than I had been advised it would be.  I give the praise and thanksgiving to God and my wonderful care giver who took me and stayed with me at the surgery center and the care giver couple to whom's home he took me to stay overnight the first night with.


2017 Travel Plans

My 2017 travel plans includes family and trains.  

Family Events Travel May, July, and August -- For my great niece Kellie, I am planning to attend her graduation from Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS, May 5, and then her White Coat Ceremony August 11 in Johnson City, TN, as she begins pharmacy school at East Tennessee State University.

My great niece Cheri is getting married in Benton, Louisiana, July 15, so I am planning to travel to Shreveport/Bossier City/Benton, LA, for the wedding and surrounding activities.  I have made hotel reservations for a week arriving Thursday, July 13, and departing Tuesday, July 18.  I am planning on making a vacation of this trip visiting other friends and family while in this area of the country. 

April 8-22 Amtrak April 2017 Rail Adventure -- On this trip I will be riding on the Amtrak Crescent train for the first time and actually traveling coast to coast and return.  I will begin the trip by flying Southwest Airlines to New Orleans April 8 for two nights at the Hyatt House Hotel on Poydras Street near New Orleans Union Station. Early Monday morning (7 AM) I will depart on Amtrak's Crescent train from New Orleans through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia(Atlanta), South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia arriving Tuesday morning at Washington, DC, Union Station. That same Tuesday afternoon (4 PM), I will depart on Amtrak's Capitol Limited through Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania(Pittsburgh), Ohio, and Indiana arriving early Wednesday (9 AM) in Chicago's Union Station. At 2 PM Wednesday, I'll board Amtrak's California Zephyr for the two night trip to Emeryville arriving Friday late afternoon April 14 for two nights at the Hyatt House Emeryville.  Sunday morning (9 AM) I will board the east bound California Zephyr bound to Chicago arriving Tuesday afternoon and staying one night at the new Hampton Inn Chicago West Loop. Wednesday evening, April 19, I will return to Chicago Union Station to board the Capitol Limited(6:30 PM) for overnight trip back to Washington, DC, arriving early afternoon (1 PM) for a two night stay at the Hilton Garden Inn/DC US Capitol.  Saturday, April 22, I'll fly Southwest Airlines home to Nashville from Washington, DC, Reagan National Airport.

June 4 - 17 Amtrak 2017 Summer Rail Adventure -- I'm returning to two of my favorite cities while riding four Amtrak trains on this trip. I will fly to New Orleans June 4 staying three nights at the Hyatt House Hotel downtown on the Loyola Streetcar line.  Then I will depart New Orleans on Amtrak's Sunset Limited through Houston, TX; El Paso, TX; and Tucson, AZ, to Los Angeles where I will transfer to Amtrak's Coast Starlight through Oakland, CA; Klamath Falls, OR; and Eugene, OR, to Portland, OR, where I will spend four nights visiting this naturally beautiful city and surrounding area.  In 1966, I spent three months in Oregon while in training to be an auditor for the now Federal Highway Administration during the building of the Interstate Highway System. Incidentally, that is how I ended up living my entire adult life in Nashville, TN, to which I was permanently assigned after completing my training. June 14 I will travel via Amtrak's Cascades train from Portland to Seattle, WA, to transfer to Amtrak's Empire Builder Seattle to Chicago via Spokane, WA; Whitefish, MT; Glacier Mountains National Park; Havre, MT; Minot, ND; and St Paul/Minneapolis, MN. For now, I plan to stay overnight in Chicago and fly home to Nashville Saturday, June 17.  Chicago and flight to Nashville plans are still in planning.


You can click on any of the small photos in this blog to open a full size photo. 

All my photos are available to view on Reagan's Photo Galleries website.


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Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016



Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thank you to each of my travel blog followers and a sincere wish that your Christmas will be blessed and merry!  

Also, I would like to update you on my outpatient surgery this past Tuesday. The surgery went well and my surgeon was encouraging and we are expecting a good report when the tissue is examined for possible cancer cells. My recovery from the surgical procedure has been better than expected with only a little discomfort at times but no genuine pain. I am thanking and praising God and my two very special care givers. My adopted Tennessee family Russ Bradley picked me up at 5 AM Tuesday, took me to the Centennial Outpatient Surgical Center, stayed with me, met with the doctor while I was still under sedation, and then updated me on his meeting with the doctor and my post operative instructions including stopping at the pharmacy to pick up prescribed medicine as he drove me to stay overnight with church friend Charlotte Young. Even after arriving at the Young residence, he took me in and visited with Charlotte to go over the post operative instructions. Not only that, he has checked on me every day. My other care giver Charlotte Young provided me a place to stay while she and her husband looked after me, providing me several good meals and company for the first day of recovery when I really did not know what to expect as the doctor had assured me there would be pain for a couple of weeks. Thank you, Russ and Charlotte.

I'll be spending part of Christmas Eve with Russ Bradley and friend Daniel at the Bradley home watching the Tennessee Titans game with Jacksonville. I also plan to attend worship services at Forest Hills Baptist Church Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Christmas morning after worship, I plan to be with another special friend Helen Glenn for Christmas Day breakfast with the Glenn family.

For each of you, I hope this is a happy season of celebrating the birthday of our Savior Jesus Christ. That hope includes travel safety, times of family fellowship, and worship with Christian friends.  

And a Happy New Year 2017! 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Amtrak Fall Coast to Coast Adventure - Photo Galleries Are Posted

California Zephyr's Meet In Colorado


Amtrak Fall Coast to Coast Adventure - Photo Galleries Are Posted

Friends, I have been home almost two weeks and finally have updated my photo galleries with photos from my Fall Coast to Coast Amtrak Adventure. While the photos are on line and ready for you to view, I have not completely updated the photo galleries home page.  

Other things have taken precedent over this update project. I have been recovering from a bad cold of coughing and nasal drainage that was going on the whole time I was traveling. And I have also visited a surgeon and will be having outpatient hopefully minor surgery Tuesday, December 20, which is tomorrow as I write this. Afterwards, I will be staying with friends overnight as a precaution of any complications from the anesthesia and there will be two to three weeks of recovery. For these reasons, I don't plan to be very productive with projects such as my photo galleries for a while.

So I invite you to view my photo galleries of this trip.  Here is the link:


There are five galleries in this folder. Enjoy. Incidentally, the photo above was taken by one of the friends I have made traveling on Amtrak. So, thanks to Nancy of Sacramento, CA, for the photo.


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Here are my next two planned Amtrak trips.

January 23-31 Amtrak 2017 Winter California Zephyr Trip -- This is becoming my annual "see snow away from home" Amtrak Winter trip on the Zephyr. I will fly Southwest Airlines to Chicago for two nights at Doubletree THE WIT Hotel followed by the three day trip on the California Zephyr to Emeryville, CA.  After two nights at the Hyatt House Emeryville, I will board Amtrak's California Zephyr for the day long trip to Los Angeles followed by trip on the FlyAway Bus to LAX Airport and two nights at a hotel near the airport before flying home on American Airlines nonstop January 31.

April 8-22 Amtrak April 2017 Rail Adventure -- On this trip I will be riding on two Amtrak trains for the first time and actually traveling coast to coast and return.  I will begin the trip by flying Southwest Airlines to New Orleans April 8 for two nights at the Hyatt House Hotel on Poydras Street near New Orleans Union Station. Early Monday morning (7 AM) I will depart on Amtrak's Crescent train from New Orleans through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia(Atlanta), South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia arriving Tuesday morning at Washington, DC, Union Station. That same Tuesday afternoon (4 PM), I will depart on Amtrak's Capitol Limited through Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania(Pittsburgh), Ohio, and Indiana arriving early Wednesday (9 AM) in Chicago's Union Station. At 2 PM Wednesday, I'll board Amtrak's California Zephyr for the two night trip to Emeryville arriving Friday late afternoon April 14 for two nights at the Hyatt House Emeryville.  Sunday morning (9 AM) I will board the east bound California Zephyr bound to Chicago arriving Tuesday afternoon and staying one night at the new Hampton Inn Chicago West Loop. Wednesday evening, April 19, I will return to Chicago Union Station to board the Capitol Limited(6:30 PM) for overnight trip back to Washington, DC, arriving early afternoon (1 PM) for a two night stay at the Hilton Garden Inn/DC US Capitol.  Saturday, April 22, I'll fly Southwest Airlines home to Nashville from Washington, DC, Reagan National Airport.

You can see all my previous Rail Trip photos on my photo galleries in the Rail Trips Folder.  

Year 2017 will find me traveling to family events including the graduation of my great niece Kellie from Mississippi State University May 5 and the wedding of my great niece Cheri July 15 in Benton(Shreveport), Louisiana.  In August, I will travel to East Tennessee in August to attend Kellie's white coat ceremony as she enters Baxter School of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University.  

I'm sure other trips will be planned later in 2017.  Stay tuned.




You can click on any of the small photos in this blog to open a full size photo. 

All my photos are available to view on Reagan's Photo Galleries website.


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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Amtrak Fall Coast to Coast Adventure - Trip Complete - Christmas is Coming

The Polar Express in Chicago's Union Station

I arrived back into Washington, DC, this afternoon on the eastbound Amtrak Capitol Limited from Chicago to complete my round trip coast to coast adventure. Now I am ready to fly home to Nashville tomorrow.  

As I have traveled during this Christmas season I have looked for and enjoyed all the decorations and signs of Christmas across our country. One of the best is the trees and even The Polar Express in the Great Hall of Chicago's Union Station. The photo above is just one of the decorations at Chicago's Union Station.

My train to DC came through Cumberland, Maryland, and Martinsburg, West Virgina today -- my first time through either of those cities. Below are in the photos of Christmas and my travel today.  

Christmas Tree in my Chicago Hotel

Chistmas Ornaments and Trees in Chicago's Union Station 


Wreath in Chicago's Union Station

Cumberland, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland

Martinsburg, West Virginia
Martinsburg, West Virginia

Thanks for traveling along with me again. Today's update wraps up this trip.  I'll post an update blog once I have updated all my photos to Reagan's Photo Galeries website in a week or so.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Amtrak Fall Coast to Coast Adventure - Amtrak's California Zephyr Eastbound Dec 2-5

'
The Engine That Could Not

The return journey on the eastbound Amtrak California Zephyr really was quiet pleasant and enjoyable.  My cough and nasal congestion began to get better.  I did call Dr. Allen's office and the nurse prescribed an antibiotic which I was able to pick up at a CVS pharmacy here.  Thankful for the CVS pharmacist who suggested and offered to call my local Rite Aide pharmacist and get the prescription transferred which she did.  I was not even aware that was possible so very much appreciate her doing that.  

The reference under the photo above about the "engine that could not" refers to the fact that this lead engine 190 had mechanical problem on my westbound trip and on this eastbound trip made it just pass Denver before breaking down again and was removed from the consist leaving the followup engine number 6 to pull the train the rest of the way from Colorado to Chicago. Engine 190 had broken down in Utah on our westbound trip. We sat for 3 hours while the situation was handled.  Yes, we arrived 3+ hours late into Chicago at 5:15 pm.  Good thing was that I am most passengers slept through the experience. Sleeping on a standing still train was restful and good after four previous night sleeping on a moving train.

One of my favorite things about traveling is meeting new friends from all of the world. Most of you know that I have a heart for working with and encouraging young people which I did for over 30 years working with 5th graders and 10th graders. So I really enjoyed meeting a fellow sleeping car mate a 21 year old student from Aidelaide, Australia on the westbound Zephyr taking 10 day holiday in the USA on his own. We chatted some, ate several meals together in the dining car and enjoyed each other's company.  He's in some of the photos below.

Below are photos from this westbound trip.

Christmas at the Emeryville Amtrak Station

Boarding in Emeryville, CA

Notice Two Engines pulling us across Colorado








At Denver Union Station

At Denver Union Station


Notice only one engine now pulling us across the Mississippi River at Burlington IO

Snow in Illinois

Back in Galesburg, IL 3 hours late 

I am now safely enjoying a room in a brand new Hampton Inn in Chicago near Union Station where I will return tomorrow to take the 6:40 pm Capitol Limited train overnight to Washington, DC, and then fly home to Nashville Thursday afternoon.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Amtrak Fall Coast to Coast Adventure - December 2

Friends and Followers of My Blog,

I am late posting today's laptop update.  As I have traveled beginning Sunday afternoon November 27 I began experiencing a rare for me head cold with coughing and nasal congestion and drainage.  No chest congestion as of yet.  Even had some but not complete laryngitis a couple days.  So after arriving Emeryville last night I enjoyed a meal at 6 PM and was in bed by 8 pm last night without doing this laptop update. I slept well for over six hours and am now doing this update at 5 am.  All these times are Pacific the local time here.  Health wise, I am improving and have had no fever, just coughing up a lot of junk.  I am still coughing with quiet times in between and coughing up the nasal drainage.  I'll check with Dr. Allen when I get home Thursday December 8 if not recovered by then.  I've not called yet because I have not stayed anywhere long enough get to pharmacy even if he wanted to prescribe anything.

I do get back on the California Zephyr this morning and will arrive Chicago Monday and stay overnight at Hampton Inn West Loop near the Union Station.  I will not plan to do another blog update until Monday night from Chicago.

Here are few snow photos as I crossed the Sierra Nevadas in California yesterday.






This last photo is after we crossed the Sierras and were approaching Sacramento, CA.  You can see the snow covered Sierras in the background.