Jefe's House

Chicago Blues

by on Mar.23, 2015, under On the Road, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Amtrak Residency
Day 10
20150321_173559Got up with the rooster crow — or in Amtrakspeak the ear-blasting 6am breakfast call — to see off the Warren-Powells who hopped off in Osceola, IA at 7:40am. I then wrote until an early lunchtime (the last meal aboard my beloved California Zephyr before it concluded its run in Chicago) during which I met a pair of retired micro-brewers, Wendy and Don Littlefield. The better half is completing her first novel, a murder mystery that I look forward to reading.  They also hipped me to Philly Inquirer food writer Craig LaBan, whom I should have known about as I’m now a Philadelphian, but I didn’t. Now I do. We also talked about our shared appreciation for August Wilson and the fact that they’ll be seeing Two Trains Running in Chicago soon. This was the second time on this trip that August Wilson came up.


The train station in Galesburg, IL, historically an important railroad town, boasts and antique Pullman car…

I spent my final few hours aboard the Zephyr writing while passing through mile after mile of moist, flat, cloudy, Illinois corn stubble to arrive in a brisk Chicago.

Aside from the morbidly obese, self-important, selfish fellow passenger who rudely bulldozed through me in the narrow sleeper car hallway with a Sense of Entitlement like I’ve never seen as I disembarked in Chicago, only to then stand around on the platform in no particular hurry with no apparent place to rush off to while waiting for his own luggage to brought to him by a redcap,  this has been an incredible trip, and one for which I’m grateful to Amtrak and Zephyr staff members like MarkKaren and Joyce.

A week ago it was unseasonably warm in the mid-60s in Chi-town but not so today. The sky threatened snow and the forecast called for 1 to 3 inches. It didn’t deter me from seeing David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette at the Steppenwolf, a must-go theatre every time I’m in Chicago.


… and a Burlington 4-6-4 Hudson steam engine.

I concluded the evening with a repeat visit to Miller’s Pub on the corner of West Adams and Lake Shore Drive near my hotel. Try the pastrami Rueben with a Dewar’s on the rocks. Heaven.

The California Zephyr leg of my journey is now complete, but I’m not quite home to my South Philly loved ones just yet. Two more days of writing time to go.


Pulling into Chicago’s Union Station. Rear view from the last car.


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