Route 1

Amtrak’s City of New Orleans arrived roughly 15-20 minutes behind schedule thanks to some slow moving freight traffic, but we got boarded safely and into our roomette. To my surprise, we were in the very last car of the train instead of towards the front, which is where sleepers are normally. So what did I do? Slapped my GoPro on the back window and got some great footage of us departing Jackson. When you watch it, you will just have to excuse the dirtiness of the window.

Between departing Jackson and arriving in Yazoo City, we were seated for dinner in the dining car with a mother and her young son from New Orleans traveling up to Chicago for the summer. Eric had the steak while I had the salmon.

The first night on the train proved to be a difficult one. The air in our roomette was not working, so it stayed a little warm, but not unbearable. Add on the fact we were finally riding the train after 7 years, and you can tell very little sleep was had. I believe I finally passed out around 3:30 or so.

And then we hit a deer.

Yes, a deer.

Our train hit a deer.

The collision and braking afterwards was rough enough to wake me up, and then they reset the power in our car. Pretty eery being out on the main line, in the middle of the night, with no main power running through you car. But thankfully we were back to moving within 10 minutes or so. No real damage done. Apparently this happens more often than you would think.

During all this, the sun decided to start rising, so instead of going back to sleep, I decided to head on to the lounge car to try and get some video of the sun rising and then have breakfast as soon as seating began. Why not just go back to sleep? Because the 9:00 am arrival into Chicago is quickly approaching.

During breakfast, we had the pleasure of sitting with someone who not only looked, but also sounded, just like Mel Brooks. He was not Mel Brooks though. Shortly after we ordered, we were joined by a man commuting from Champaign to Chicago for work. From these two, we learned a few tips on filing taxes. You always meet interesting people on the train. One of the best reasons for taking Amtrak.

We got back to our roomette just in time to begin packing up and watching our approach to Chicago. Since the train backs into Union Station, I was excited about the prospect of mounting my camera on the back window and getting a first person view of our arrival.

But the rudest Amtrak employee I have met came along, and not so kindly, ordered me to take the camera down because he had to open the door to help the engineer back in. I understand you have a job to do, but be like all your Amtrak coworkers and be nicer.

After departing the train, we headed to the Metropolitan Lounge while doing our best to stay out of the way of the constant stream of commuters coming in on Metra, Chicago’s commuter rail system. If you are not careful, you WILL get run over.

The Metropolitan Lounge is just for First Class passengers, or those arriving or departing in the sleeper cars. Once there, we stored our baggage and headed out to enjoy the crazy impatientness that is Chicago.

Since we had some time to kill before our downtown destination opened, we took less direct route around the city to see what all it had to offer.

Lots and lots of impatient drivers.

And also a few locations where Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was filmed.

With our detour finished, we reached Pizzeria Due, our downtown destination, for the ORIGINAL Chicago style deep dish pizza. (You know you are no longer in the south when you ask for sweet tea and get laughed at by your server.) After enjoying some personal sized pies of awesomeness, we decided to check out a few stores within a few blocks of the pizza place, including the Apple Store.

While walking up to it, we thought it was going to be just like the one back at home, with a simple room with everything in it and a giant, light up apple outside.

But we were wrong.

The inside was two stories with a large clear glass staircase taking you up to the top floor. And the Apple logo itself was cut all the way through the front wall, acting as a window. There was also a large skylight. Very cool Apple Store for sure.

We then proceeded to work our way back to Union Station to await our next departure.

City of New Orleans

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Ah, the City of New Orleans.

Every Amtrak trip I have ever been on has started with this route, whether it is going south to the Big Easy, or north to the Windy City. In fact, I have ridden this one so many times, going all the way back to my kindergarden days, I have lost count.

Traveling from Jackson to Chicago, we will be passing through Memphis TN, Fulton KY, Champaign IL, and more.

Length of route (Jackson to Chicago): 751 miles

States traveled: 4

The City of New Orleans, just south of Greenwood, MS

The City of New Orleans arriving in Memphis, TN

City of New Orleans arriving at Union Station in Chicago, IL. And yes, the station is underground.

Boys of Summer

I’m back!

No, not from the trip. Just a multi-month hiatus while things were planned, school was worked, and jobs were done.

We are rapidly closing in on the departure date, sitting at just over two weeks away. Until then, I will be sharing with you different bits of trivia and (possibly) some videos of the different routes we will be taking. 

Until then,

All Aboard and Soft Landings!

-Patrick

I Yelled Because I Was Paying Attention.

Blue Man Group is incredible. It is so much more than a concert. It is an experience. From the very beginning, to the very end, it’s all about audience participation. I lost count how many times the blue games left the stage and went into the crowd, handing out paintings from the show and bringing people on stage as part of their act. Then afterwords, the blue men themselves showed up in the lobby, taking pictures with fans and handing out “autographs”, which consisted of smudges of blue paint from their faces. I was lucky enough to get both, while my brother purchased paddles used in a show.

If you ever get a chance to go see them, please do. You will not be disappointed. I already want to see them again.

Ladies and Gentlemen…

Please stand up, and shake shake shake, your booty.

TOMORROW IS IT! After 7+ years, I am FINALLY seeing Blue Man Group. And I could not be more excited. I am so excited, I think I might just shake my hind quarters, backside, bottom, buttocks, rump, posterior, heiney, keister, tush, buns, bumcakes, junk in the trunk, badonkadonk, squash tart, fanny, double slug, wiggle bags, mud flaps, rump rockets, fleshpot, second face, bounce house, jiggle twins, jar jar binks, bubble pop, medicine ball, sonic boom.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I might just shake, my booty.

(skip to the 12 minute mark)

1,000 frames per second

I was incredibly excited when I found out Blue Man Group was going to be on the Discovery show Time Warp. Here, they perform one of their most well known acts, Paint Drumming.

2 DAYS LADIES AND GENTS!

That Hellawack Shiznit That Happens Inside Your Brizzle.

Today’s title comes from my favorite BMG song. Yeah, I probably said that about Drumbone a few days ago, but I mean it this time. I LOVE this song. And you get to learn something from it too.

So sit back and enjoy (NAKED PEOPLE) Rods and Cones.

THREE DAYS AWAY!

Crazy Train!

Today’s installment of Blue Man Awesomeness has to do with the overall purpose of this blog.

Well, sort off.

Leading up to the main portion of the following video (Rock Concert Movement #63), BMG plays a bit of Crazy Train, with their own twist of course. The finale is a great cover of I Feel Love.

Down to just 4 days!

Musical Pipes

Alright guys, we are down to 5 days until Blue Man Group. FIVE DAYS!

Today’s video is one of my all time favorite songs. Drumbone.

Teenage Wasteland

Some call it Baba O’Riley. Regardless, it’s a classic from The Who. And Blue Man Group covers it well.

Only 6 days!