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.