A Christmas Story

For the second time in my life I took the long train ride to Janesville, Wisconsin to see my oldest sister. This time it was during the Christmas holidays, where a large fully decorated tree sat in the lobby of the old Michigan Central Railroad station. As was before, we stopped at the Union Station in Chicago and boarded a charter bus to Wisconsin, which was packed and full of frequent bathroom goers (the facility located at the back of the bus). Ended up in the same hotel as the last couple times as well, the Baymont Inn and Suites, in which the luxurious hot tub was broken this time, but still warm enough to put our feet in.

The continental breakfast is always a scrumptious affair at the Baymont. The question of the day written on the board in the front lobby elicits discussion. Getting to sleep in an actual bed is great as well.

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The Train to Janesville

It was another trip to the cheesehead state of Wisconsin to see the extended part of my family. This includes my oldest sister, her boyfriend, and kid.

All aboard. I rode a train for the first time ever. Me and my small family.

The ride on the luxurious modern Amtrak was wonderful. There was actual free Wi-Fi (a surprise) and outlets for electronics. The seats were comfy and there was a pull out tray on the back of the seat in front of me to place my laptop. I livestreamed most of the trip to my YouTube channel, not really knowing what to say or do, just kind of goofing off and showing my “audience” views from outside the wide train window.

The ride out of the train station in Jackson was breathtaking. It’s such a small town that we are out of there in minutes. There are things I don’t usually see from the normal perspective, such as railyards and lots of open farmland.

Racing through the countryside of Battle Creek then was a quiet meditating moment. To me and others, it looked as if we were traveling backwards at breakneck speed, but that was because we were in the seats facing away from the train’s engine. A couple seats behind me were facing the conductor’s room. A couple times, the ticketmaster (I think that’s what he’s called) came by to check tickets.

Eventually we arrived in Chicago at Union Station. Now it was a long wait in the train station. I went around snapping pictures with my little aqua green camera. A lot of homeless people came up to us asking for money. One was selling bus guides for a dollar, but of course this was a little ruse. I gave away my only dollar (I have a credit card) to a desperate man but another one was begging for nine bucks – maybe to go home, maybe to get some booze, maybe to get some hash.

Amish people converge in this area of Chicago. By taking the train and avoiding riding in cars, they at least preserve some of their stubbornness towards modern technology.

These are some pictures of the train ride and Union station in Chicago, the home of escalators I am always nervous to get on.

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Just another look into my deep mindful pensive, reflecting on the last two days

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