I’m feeling somewhat grateful that last winter I began to build up some aerobic capacity by skiing and snowshoeing, and continued with short hikes during the warm months. It came in handy on Saturday afternoon when I walked from the Chicago hostel to the docks where the river cruise boats dock. I got temporarily lost by taking the wrong staircase to get down to the boats and had to double back, climbing a whole bunch of razzafracking stairs up and down and up and down again. It’s much warmer here than in Winnipeg, and there’s a distinct old-city smell of oil and creosote.
Did successfully make it onto the boat. Seated on the lower level, where it was shady and considerably cooler, I took pictures of a lot of the buildings and enjoyed the wind blowing off the water. My visit coincided with the Chicago Air and Water Show, and we saw a few synchronized jet fly-bys.
After the boat ride I wended my way back to the hostel, pausing to pick up an embroidered Chicago flag patch to add to my knapsack. Had a light supper, charged up my electronics, and called it a night.
And now it’s 8:05 a.m. on a Sunday morning in Chicago. I am now one step closer to my objective: I’m on board the Amtrak #391 “Saluki” train, destination Carbondale, Illinois.
One of my great worries over the past few weeks was that I would oversleep and miss this train. I had armed myself with an insanely loud digital alarm clock, and checked it twice last night to make sure the alarm was indeed in the “on” position. As it happened, I had little to worry about: Two of the women in my dorm were up before me, 15 minutes before the alarm was scheduled to go off, and I crawled out of bed a few minutes later to get in gear and get over to Union Station.
It just turned 8:15. With a soft bump, train #391 is on its way.