Monday, September 17, 2012

Chicago Trip, Part Two: Train Travel With Children

We took the Amtrak train called City of New Orleans from its namesake city to Chicago (one night on the train).   We spent a day and a half in Chicago and then rode the train overnight back to New Orleans.  

One sleeper cabin.
Five people.
Two nights.
This is the story...

Our ride

Where we would spend the next 19 hours...

The kids were soo excited to board!

We had the Family Bedroom in the Sleeper Car

Our room:

Quite enough space for the five of us.
Free bottled water.
Little fold down tables on each side.
Plenty of storage space for our stuff.
We had our own power outlet.
A bed for each of us (Caleb slept in his car seat on the floor).
The beds were quite comfortable (Philip says the lower beds where the girls slept were a little more comfortable than the upper beds).
The bathrooms (and shower) were just down the hall.   They were airplane size, but never busy and always clean.
There was ice, water, several juices, and coffee always available.
We could call the Attendant at any time if we had questions or needed anything.

Caleb playing with the water bottles

Watching as we pulled out of the station

We're on our way!

I kind of have a thing for silhouette kissing shots right now =)

Happily playing Elmo bingo =)

A pretty view out the window as we were stopped, waiting for another train to pass

The adult side of the car

Kids watching a movie on the other side

We really did have plenty of room

The Dining Car/Food:

This was probably my favorite part. =)
The dining car was quite nice, with a great view, and comfortable booths.   
The food was Amazing!!  Some of the things we had:  Steak, crab cakes, roasted half chicken, Angus burger, chocolate peanut butter torte, cheesecake, tiramisu, and the freshest, flakiest, most amazing croissants ever!  They also had a nice selection of kids meals for Keenan and Moriah to choose from.

Not a super flattering picture of any of them,but you can see the bounty of food!
(This was our first meal on the train and Moriah managed to flip two separate courses of food onto the floor!)

Caleb and I

Keenan's dessert

This torte was awesome!

All three kids up on Keenan's bunk before bed

Watching some youtube videos about the places we'd be visiting the next day

The shower:
It was clean, had hot water, and they provided towels, wash cloths and soap.  It was very much like the showers on a cruise ship.  Instead of a glass door that slid across, it had a curtain that you had to snap down the side once you were in, to keep the water from spilling out.  It was quite an experience.  Imagine showering inside a box that was constantly being shaken back and forth while traveling 80 miles per hour.    Good times. =)

So tiny!


Nightime:

The attendant comes in whenever you want and puts down the bunks and makes up the beds for you.   The kids slept like rocks!    The combination of the busy day, no naps, and so much excitement, as well as the motion of the train made for a full night's sleep for Keenan and Moriah.    Philip and I (though the beds were fairly comfortable) had a harder time the first night.   There was a fairly rough patch of tracks for the first hour or two that we were trying to sleep and I constantly felt like I was tensed up, trying not to fall out of bed! =)  The stops and overhead announcements also didn't help.   The night on the way back was much better.

All ready for sleep

Sweet boy

Settled in

Since we got to Chicago fairly early (9:15 am) on Saturday morning, breakfast was only served between 6 and 7.  They brought it to our door at 6 sharp!   Ugh!  Sooo sleepy and so early!  It was delicious though, and I quickly got over being woken up for it. =)

Keenan eating his cereal

Philip and Moriah

Lounge Car:
This is where we hung out when we didn't want to be in our room.   It was spacious, and had comfy seats facing Huge windows.  There was a cafe right below where you could buy snacks and drinks if you wanted.

A slightly imperfect picture of the five of us

Looking down the car

Philip and the kids as we passed by a lake

I like this one

Keenan and Daddy

Me and my girl

I liked how my three boys were stacked in this picture


Pulling into Chicago... that is the Willis tower out the window

On the way home...

We boarded in the evening for the trip home, and dinner was not until about 8:45, so we were all very tired!

Philip and a sleepy Caleb

Other side of the table
(Moriah actually fell asleep right after the food came and didn't wake up until morning!)

Sunday morning.. playing Go Fish

Keenan thought they should play go fish with their Skittles =)

Lake Pontchartrain out the window


All in all... I would say train travel is the way to go!!  =)   You don't have to switch drivers, you don't have to stop to go pee, gas up, or get food, and you can sleep as you go!   A splendid time was had by all.