Riding Reflections

(Lakeside, Michigan) I did a U-turn when I saw this reflection in a flooded field. Worth going back for.

Barn with a red roof looking west at the setting sun on East Road.

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Travels with Natalie

Natalie checks the schedule one more time as South Shore train 116 comes to collect us at Carroll Avenue.

Four Great Train Rids in One Day

by Charles McKelvy

You’re probably going to think we’re nuts by suggesting that you take four trains in one day, especially when you can hop in the car and get to your destination in the Chicago area with but two simple drives.

Well, we beg to differ about the “simple drives” part of your argument. In fact, we hate to drive to Chicago, even though we both grew up there. See, we moved permanently to Harbert, Michigan in 1987, and although our friends in Chicago insisted that we would be back in six months, we stayed, and stayed, and stayed. In fact, we celebrated 30 years as Michiganders last August, and some of our native friends allow as how we can almost claim to be “locals” now that we have resided permanently in their locale for more than 30 years.

However, we have regular need to journey to Chicago, because we have family there, both in the city and in the suburbs. Plus, we have an Art Institute membership, and I worship at the Monastery of the Holy Cross in the Bridgeport neighborhood once a month, plus, one of us is a rabid White Sox fan who has to get a regular fix of live baseball at 35th and Shields.

So, the point of this exercise is to argue for the efficacy and the enjoyment of taking four train rides in one day to, in our case, accomplish the purpose of travelling from the South Shore station at Carroll Avenue to suburban Hinsdale and back, all in one day.

We did just that recently when we had need to visit Natalie’s family in Hinsdale. I suggested we just bite the bullet and take the Illinois Tollway and give our I-PASS a workout. (Yes, Virginia, we have an I-PASS, and we do use it when we sleep in and miss our train).

Natalie wanted none of that and cracked out the schedules for the South Shore Line and the Metra/BNSF line between Chicago and Aurora and quickly came up with the following itinerary for a Friday in the present season:

Aboard South Shore Train 116 bound for Chicago.

  1. Board South Shore Line train #116 from Carroll at 10:55 a.m., arriving at Van Buren at 12:36 p.m. We walked cross-town to Chicago Union Station and caught:
  2. Metra train #1233, departing Union Station at 1:30 p.m. and arriving Hinsdale at 2:13 p.m. We walked a short distance to Natalie’s sister’s house, visited for a few hours and then walked back to nearby Hinsdale station and boarded:
  3. Metra train #1272 at 4:26 p.m. It arrived more or less on time at Union Station at 4:58, so that meant we got to swim against the incoming tide of dazed commuters heading home for the weekend after yet another grueling week in the trenches. How we made it cross-town to Millennium Station at Randolph and Michigan, I’ll never know, but we actually got there in time to catch a quick bite to eat at one of our favorite restaurants in the station, and then it was off to catch:
  4. South Shore train #119, which departed Millennium at 5:58 p.m. and arrived right on time at Carroll at 7:44 p.m. Our car was just where we left it and happily took us home to Harbert in less than 45 minutes.

Heading back to Union Station on Metra 1272.

How easy was that?


And, as a bonus, all four trains were double-deckers, which meant we got to sit up top each time and marvel at the passing scenery like a couple of tourists, which is exactly what we were, being as our motto is TOUJOURS en vacances (or, ALWAYS on vacation).

Safe arrival back at Carroll Avenue where our car was waiting to get take us happily home in less than 45 minutes.



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Headin’ North

I’ll be headin’ north Friday with my good friend Steve Watkins to introduce him to the annual St. Patrick’s Weekend Retreat at the Augustine Center in Conway, Michigan. This was how it looked last year, but this year we’re bringing our baseball mitts, not snowshoes.

Grounds for a great retreat in northern Michigan on Saint Patrick’s Day.

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Home of the Leprechauns

I found where the Wee Folk vacation in Michigan, but they swore me to secrecy as to the exact location, so I’m not sayin’ where ’tis. But I will say: Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona two days early.

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Rural Industrial Complex

Our mission in Berrien County, Michigan is to feed and illuminate the world.

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Being There

(St. Joseph, Michigan) Just when I thought I had missed the sunset in old Saint Joe on Tuesday, I caught this light show on old Lakeshore Drive.

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This Old House.2

More thoughts on this old house.

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