Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 Days of Flashbacks: Train Trip West: Day #14

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
In which we ride through some states, take a walk in Chicago, visit an amazing Lego Store, eat deep dish pizza and get on another train heading east.

On Wednesday morning I went down to the lounge car and bought a cup of coffee so I wouldn't get the headache that I got the day before.
 We had muffins for breakfast again. Rode through MO, a little of Iowa and then IL. More pepperoni sandwiches for lunch.
These plates were some of the best things we brought with us - SO USEFUL!
Passing a train heading west
hanging out with Grandpa
We got to Chicago about a half hour late for our scheduled 3:15 arrival and got off the train. We put our carryons into a big locker, mapped where the Lego Store was and walked about 25 blocks to get the 2 miles to Water Tower Place where it was. It was fun to see all the amazing buildings in downtown Chicago.  There is a lot of neat architecture. I'm glad we had the time to walk it!
A few things stood out to me as we wandered. One was this monument beside a bridge commemorating the Great Chicago Fire. Seeing it made me cry and start singing, "It is Well With My Soul" because of the story of Horratio Spafford I've heard so many times.
 One building that we all thought was pretty neat was the GMP (?) building that had little chunks of stone from historic places all around the world worked into it's concrete walls. It was fascinating looking at all the random rocks. There were some places we looked for specifically and others we just happened upon.
A stone from a place I'd love to visit
A stone from the state where our son was born
A stone from the state we took this trip to visit
A stone from Japan, where Aunt Yuko (and our other aunties) are from
A stone from God's country - some would say the best state ever.
A stone from what we all know really is the best state - right? At least the state we call home. (Side note: One of our friends recently told us that he thinks it's funny that Glenn is going to be considered "the guy from New York" wherever we end up even though he is totally a transplant.)
 After our two mile-ish meander through downtown Chicago we finally made it to the Lego Store (some of us were excited - we'd never been to one before)
  and had fun exploring it. If you are ever in Chicago, the Lego store is totally worth a stop! This one is so impressive! I think we are spoiled for any future Lego Store adventures after seeing the Chicago one first.  At least the one in Rochester doesn't come close!
Posing with Lego Woody
Lydia thought this guy's pipe smelled bad.
The kids made their own mini figures
Don't blow away in the windy city!
Does he say anything if you pull his chain?
Grandpa & Abigail checking out this amazing Chicago skyline made entirely of Legos, part 3D part 2D
 The 3 oldest each decided to use their own money to each buy a set for themselves. Hannah got a perpetual calendar, Caleb got a high speed chase set and Lydia got a camper set.
 We got a recommendation on a pizza place near Union Station and decided not to walk the 2 miles back. While waiting for a bus Debbie stopped a minivan taxi and asked how much to the train station. She was told about $10 so we got in and took it back. I'm pretty sure it was the kids' first cab ride :).
a view from our taxi
We got off and went to Beggars Pizza on the corner of Jackson and Clinton. We ordered a large deep dish pizza (of course) since we were in Chicago. I don't think I'd ever had deep dish, Chicago style pizza before. It took a while to bake and we chatted with Glenn on the phone while we waited.
waiting for our pizza
Caleb liked the reflection in the window.
The pizza was delicious! It was cut into 8 pieces. The girls and I were stuffed after our piece and the last piece was shared between Steve, Debbie, and Caleb. So yummy! I would definitely recommend Beggars Pizza if you have a layover at Chicago's Union Station!!
 After pizza we headed back across the street to Chicago's Union Station.
 We got our stuff out of the locker
 and headed to our gate.
No, of course we aren't tired after 14 days of traveling!
 They let a few families with kids go earlier on and we were one of them (and I am so grateful because that means we weren't scattered throughout the train!). Our train was mostly full of people headed to Syracuse so that meant no middle of the night wake ups which is nice. I was suprised to see some of our LAX to CHI trainmates were on the train headed to SYR as well.  My seat mate was one of them and was a pretty friendly man who has taken Amtrak often. It sounds like he's had an interesting life but was struggling with several recent losses. It was good to be able to be a listening ear for him and to point him to my Hope.

This was our last night sleeping on a train - praise the Lord!

To read about the rest of our trip check out these links to read about Day #1, Day #2, Day #3, Day #4, Day #5, Day #6, Day #7, Day #8, Day #9, Day #10, Day #11, Day #12, and Day #13.

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