heading south facing into the sun

heading south facing into the sun

Wednesday morning I woke up early (around 6am) to pack myself up, leave my kitty behind and head south by rail. I’ve never really traveled by rail before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I would say overall I was pleased with my trip. I brought half a loaf of bread that I made the night before to munch on which ended up being really weird since everyone else had things like corner bakery muffins and kit-kats. I guess it’s not every day on the Amtrak you see a girl pull a brown paper bag out of her travel bag and start munching a half loaf of bread.

heading south facing into the sun

I was taking the train down to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I was asked to give a little talk to the fashion class. There’s only one fashion class in Champaign, no fashion program, but a few students are considering switching schools to study fashion. Since I went back to school after graduating with a Photo degree, Susan, the professor, thought perhaps I could offer some insight into this decision. I think it went alright, I don’t really know, but people asked a lot of questions during the Q & A after my note-card ramblings, so I suppose that’s good.

heading south facing into the sun

But back to the train. I was a student at UIUC from 2000-2004 and used to drive Rt 57 down to school quite often seeing the exits for small towns like Gilman, Paxton, Buckly, etc. which from the highway make each town look like not much more than a Burger King, Mc Donalds, a roadside motel and 2-3 gas stations. On the train you get to travel through the old downtown areas of each town where the grand old fancy houses are standing, now a little run down, see the little post offices, the cafes, a few stores and lots of farm repair and supply shops. It was a great new perspective.

heading south facing into the sun

And in the end, my train was an hour late due to some signal clearance problems just south of Chicago, but it sure was less tiring than driving down and at $14 (one way, I drove back up with Luke since he’s done teaching on Thursday evening) it sure was a pretty good deal. Now I would like to take a bit longer train trip.

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3 Responses to heading south facing into the sun

  1. evergreenknits says:

    I took a 3-day train trip from Massachusetts to Montana about 10 years ago. I was going with my two college roommates, one of whom lived in Montana and was afraid to fly home.

    I'm not sure that I'd like to do such a long trip again, but it was fascinating to watch the landscape change, to sleep with the lull of the train, to watch how little communities form over the course of a long train ride.

  2. well-crafted says:

    Jen, these photos are simple and gorgeous! I had the opposite experience traveling when I lived in Switzerland in the early 90’s. I did a lot of weekend trips by train and so enjoyed seeing the countryside and little towns and cities that way—when I first went to northern Italy in a car I was sort of stunned how different the view was! (P. S. Kirk went to U of I too—although much earlier than you!)

  3. jen says:

    The Montana-Massachusetts trip sounds amazing, I've only taken one over night trip, Paris to Nice, but I would like to take one that involves getting on, sleeping and getting off. Haha!

    heather : I wish I had places around here to take day train trips to, Europe is so perfect with that. Also I am always surprised the amount of people who went to U of I, though maybe I shouldn't be, it is a pretty huge school!

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