After all the excitement of the Rockies the vast plains are something of an anticlimax.
Flat but still beautiful in the late afternoon sun.
Our train had started out with fairly clean windows but they were starting to get a bit grubby. It was our second night on the train and Marianne changed the direction of how she slept in the top bunk with her head towards the engine. If you are a big person don't even think of trying to get your body into that limited space of the top bunk in a roomette. And it's even harder trying to get down.
We did take a look at one of the empty bedroom type compartments which have significantly more room and the bunks are wider.
Next morning in Iowa there were some low hills.
Plenty of green vegetation. I did wonder where the cloud came from and I suspect it is just smoke.
Signs of an approaching autumn (fall).
The Des Moines River. I still think that one of the principle reasons why the USA is such a rich and powerful country is the availability of water over most of the country.
I take most of the photos but Marianne also picks up her camera every now and then. She has a careful and deliberate technique whereas I just point my camera in the general direction and snap. On a train you only have a second or so to capture the scene. Later I crop and compose on my laptop. It's probably just as well that you don't see the initial version of most of these photos.
The Ottumwa platform. And like you, I had never heard of the place.
Our car attendant Debbie guarding the door. When the train comes to a halt the car attendants stand by the door to help passengers off and onto the train. She was very friendly and helpful.
A rather boring looking station. No doubt some architect was proud of the design.
The carriages have two levels and a lady was cleaning her lower level window.
Our window on the top level. Quite grubby, but I can't leap that high. I would prefer to be on the top level for the better view.
Corn and yet more corn.
Raised bodies that don't damage the crops.
We approached the Mississippi River.
Burlington gave its name to the Burlington Northern Rail company which eventually merged with the Santa Fe to become BNSF, the largest freight company in the USA.
The Mississippi in the background.
Curious ventilation cover for an old platform roof. You see all sorts of 'stuff' from an upper window.
Crossing the river.
The eastern side had several miles of small lakes covered with pond scum.
Back to the corn.
The train stopped quite a few times in Illinois to take on and discharge passengers.
We had not seen many windmills during the journey which surprised me. We saw lots of windmills when we crossed the US by car a couple of years ago.
I've never seen a windmill design like this before.
Finally we arrived in Chicago and you can see a tall building above the containers.
Lunch is served early on the last day and then the train crew dismantles and cleans everything. All the sheets are taken away. Our attendant did a great job of keeping the carriage clean, including the bathrooms. She said she only gets a couple of hours sleep a night. Passengers get on and off at all hours.
Our train pulled in about 30 minutes late. For some reason or other, the sleeping car passengers always have to walk the furthest from their carriage to the main part of the station.
We enjoyed sitting in the lounge at Union Station and were eventually called to our Capitol Limited train to Pittsburgh where we had left our car. Our train was due to arrive there at 5:05 am and as usual when I have to get up early, my mind does not let me sleep so I had a very crappy night. The track was much rougher than further west so it was not the best of trips. We were extremely pleased to arrive in Pittsburgh and be met by our friend Larry. Our train was about 30 minutes late.
After a great breakfast with Larry and Mary and a short nap, we headed off home in our car. It had all been a wonderful trip.
Now I can have a break from blogging. Currently we are thinking of going back to Norway next year as well as Scotland. For my solo trip, Argentina is on the agenda.