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JUNE 5, 2010

Eastbound on the Southwest Chief

Well, duh.

Amtrak restroom door lock with exit symbolSee the little red symbol above the door lock on this Amtrak bathroom door? It means "Exit".

As if, when you're sitting in a space about two feet by four feet staring directly at the only door available, you need help figuring out where the exit is.


Ain't no such thing as a...

Juice, sandwich and chipsA mechanical malfunction in the train's dining car led to everyone on the train getting a free lunch.

My turkey sub, chips and juice from Jimmy John's were actually pretty good.

Considering that I had no intention of buying lunch in the dining car to start with, I was more than satisfied.

Cool typography

Sign on La Plata Amtrak station wallNot much to recommend the La Plata, MO Amtrak station except the sign.


Flash floods

Lots of standing water in fields alongside trackWe ended up about an hour late into Chicago because of flash flood warnings along the route.

The train had to stop several times to check conditions ahead, a reasonable precaution.

Not sure how much of this landscape would ordinarily be covered by water, but I suspect it's much less than what we see here.

Wind turbines

Lots of standing water in fields alongside trackShortly after we left Mendota, IL, on the horizon I noticed a cluster of wind turbines (notice the shadows in this image from Google Maps).

A bit of research after the fact identified this as the Mendota Hills Wind Farm, built in 2003.

Finally, some evidence that the U.S. may not be totally missing the boat in terms of developing renewable energy resources!

By the end of 2009 we had surpassed Germany as far as installed wind-generation capacity. Of course, considering the relative sizes of the two countries, that doesn't seem a huge accomplishment. Still, it's progress. Now if we can only get Cleveland moving faster.

The human condition

Lots of standing water in fields alongside trackI have no clue as to what drama was unfolding in front of me as I sat outside Chicago's Union Station, waiting between trains.

Gazing at the river below, tears were wiped away.


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JUNE 2010