Discussion in 'The Clown Café' started by V, Oct 13, 2014.
I have need of clown mail. Can you delete a message or provide an email?
Too bad this isn't like facebook where you can tag a person in a message...
You have already found the email link on my profile. But, for future reference of others.... my "clown mail" inbox here is full. In fact, it is over filled, as administrators can and have sent additional messages beyond the limit. It will likely remain perpetually full, as it has been for over two years already. As such, attempting to send private messages is fruitless. One will simply receive a bounce back. If anyone cares to get in touch, they can simply click on the send an email link on my profile or, if you're on facebook, friend and message me there.
^ copied from the American Clown Academy thread (not wanting to take it further into derailment I posted here).
On transportation nerds...
I'm surprised really that there aren't more history types into transportation. Stepping away from transit for a moment, something as simple as the bicycle doesn't get a fair shake from your 'average Joe,' although the bicycle was a world changer - every bit as much as the airplane arguably, but likely not as fascinating to your average citizen (everyone can get a bicycle, how many people own airplanes?).
I'm a bike guy, but as much so a transportation geek in general. Since moving to NC I've been lazy in taking advantage of the offerings here but need to get on that soon. I should be more embarrassed about not all ready having taken in most things flight related at Kitty Hawk (but honestly, not much of a fan of flying in general and Kitty Hawk has a seedy reputation so it's hard to make it my vacation destination..) Our Transportation Museum has some decent exhibits (especially considering the relatively small population) and they tend to get loaners from the Kitty Hawk museum so I substitute that instead.
Entertaining enough how each region tends to have their one claim to fame in the transportation industry (NY - Grand Central Station, Chicago has the famed 'L' train although I think most of the fame for that is from basically every 1980s Cop Drama more than actually riding the L. Here in North Carolina, obviously the Wright brothers. I'd say everyone has a transportation entry at some level but I guess it isn't as interesting as cowboys or kings or whatever - a shame really that more people don't take a casual train ride more often. I can't be the only one who likes taking in the railroad graffiti (yeah it sucks people are painting crap everywhere, but it's not uncommon to find real art among the other trash out there either).
The new big deal thing is murals and mosaics on road and railroad viaduct walls, often celebrating neighborhood histories. I really like one nearby which features a stream train and the advertising from an early era when that area was built up, proclaiming the fifteen minute ride from downtown.
I recently completed a wonderful fall foliage time trip on Amtrak, which took me through the Colorado Rockies, Nevada deserts, Donners Pass and the Truckee River Valley, onto Sacramento (where I visited the California Railway Museum) and then San Francisco (my favorite transit city - though Toronto is a close second.) I really enjoy riding restored PCC cars along Market and the Embarcadero. But I find cable cars more interesting to look at than ride. The history of railroading in California, which dates back to pre Civil War really connects one with the past and tradition. (As does the bay area, in particular - especially the Presidio.)
After a weekend of rail riding with railfan friends, I took the Coast Starlight to Seattle. And the Empire Builder back to Chicago during the absolute height of color change in the high Cascades.
Everyone should do this at least once!
I also live beneath the glide path to O'hare. Watching the airplanes approach at night is a beautiful and inspiring sight, especially when all three runways are open. This triple approach, which can only be seen a couple of places in the entire world, is something which insists that one stop and admire.
Chicago's railroading history is extremely rich, considering its traditional crossroads of the country. There used to be several passenger terminals, for example, as Chicago was the place which all trains came to, but none came through. One which has a station house that still stands is Dearborn Station. It is now the home, among other things, of the legendary Jazz Showcase.
Railroad history, especially, helps to tell much in the way of the history of the country, since the two grew up so closely linked.
On railroading history (kind of)... Have you ever been to the National Hobo Convention?
I'm hoping to do an east coast to west coast train relatively soon. It probably should have all ready happened but I've put it off and likely still for a couple more years. My soon to be 7 year old is a dinosaur fanatic so I figure it would be a good time to take a train west while planning out some dinosaur (or similar) related content - Dinosaur dig vacations and a tour of some of the mid-west and west coast fossil sites, natural history museums, La Brea tar pits (I know they aren't dinosaurs, but close enough), etc. It would take some time to do which is part of the problem scheduling it. Hoping that in a couple of years when the wife finishes up with law school we can take a breather and go on an east/west/east loop or such.
I'm actually right now doing web stuff planning for our spring trip (Disneyworld by way of Legoland with a possible layover at Universal's Jurassic Park: The Ride) and will take a train down and trying to find a deal on a viewliner roomette (I can't justify a ticket price increase of nearly 300% for the full bedroom when it's only 13.5 hours)
And a mini dinosaur related rant...
Locking the doors on the Smithsonian's Dinosaur hall for 5 years? Really? The powers that be don't seem to think it's that big of a deal, but in reality - it is. There are a ton of people that don't have the luxury of being able to travel cross country and still quite a lot that get zero vacations at all, so what do we do? Shut down a significant section of our national museums like it's no big deal. 5 years is a long time for a kid. My oldest is turning 7 in January and will be 11 when the dinosaur hall reopens (if they make their target date) and if we were unable to travel to other locations, these years - which may be the most magical in terms of discovery and exploration, would be lost on a topic that right now. It makes me wonder what the hell the guy in charge is thinking...
I had Lunch on one of those restored passenger train cars When I was in Washington state one of the best experiences I ever had.
I haven't, personally. But another entertainer acquaintance has, indeed, made friends with a few and even has them visit her apartment to stay over when they travel through town.
I got to ride in a restored business car at the California State Railway Museum in Sacramento. I also rode on one over the old remnants of an industrial spur which runs down the center of a city street easement locally several years ago.
Really, I'd love to own a renovated rail car to live in. It doesn't necessarily have to be set up to ride the rails. Just set stationary would be cool.
You'll likely want to try to get to the Field Museum in Chicago, then.
Do you have the Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card? It is a great way to earn points for travel. I know many people who are rail oriented in their travel interests who rarely pay for a long distance trip, preferring to use points. In fact, most of the people who I was together with on parts of this journey were doing just that. I was the only one riding coach to California.
Sweet! (Or should I say suite?)
History, steam, stagecoach, and streamline design at a noted deco exhibition.... all in technicolor!
Distance from the Field Museum to Chicago Union Station to decent lodging?
Tentatively planning a Dinosaur and Egyptian artifact trip; most likely via train since the D.C. museum planned an inconvenient 5 year renovation... It's Chicago or NYC and I think 'Sue' breaks a tie.
I haven't been to Chicago with kids. Suggestions on a mini-(maybe 4 days not counting travel to/from)-vacation in Chicago.
The Fossil Hall at the National Museum of Natural History is closed, but the do have an exhibit The Last American Dinosaur: Discovering a Lost World that is open. I haven't been there to see it, but it is better than no dinosaurs on display.
Well, if you come to Chicago, definitely say hi!
The train could be a very nice trip. Would you be taking the Cardinal or the Capitol Limited? (Perhaps one way on one route, the other on the other.) The Cardinal has spectacular scenery, but it is the poor stepchild of Amtrak's long distance service, with inferior equipment, limited diner, and service only three days a week.
It's about two miles from Union Station to the Museum Campus. Reasonable accommodations depend upon what you're up for. There is a very nice hostel right downtown with dirt cheap rates. You can also pick up really decent rates on some of the nicer hotels in winter. There are a couple of discount oriented hotels within walking distance of the museum campus in the south loop, near Roosevelt Rd. and the L. The Congress Hotel often has some of the lowest rates downtown.
Some of the people on the Amtrak Unlimited forum always have solid recommendations on hotels locally, which I'm not as good with, since I never really have to book them. But they have definitely pointed me to some which I had known nothing about. As long as you stay out of anything non renovated, old and disgusting you should be fine anywhere downtown. You can also get out of the city center and do alright with most lodging as long as it is public transit connected. Some suburban hotels are, many are not.
Also, consider airbnb.
Other stuff in town? All depends upon what you're interested in. I'd definitely say take in some theater or improv. Doesn't necessarily have to be the noted companies. A lot of the best stuff happens is smaller venues. If I know when you're coming, I'd be happy to give you a heads up on things I know are going on.
Walk by Buckingham fountain and over to Millennium Park. There's a new renovated Maggie Daley park across the bridge.
You might want to take in some of the other museums, too. With a kid in tow, I'd suggest Science and Industry. then walk through Hyde Park and the University of Chicago. See some architectural sites there, get dinner, perhaps even wander over to President Obama's street (I don't know if you can walk past the house on foot or not - definitely not if he's in town - but it is closed to cars.)
Take a ride on the L through the neighborhoods.
See a game, perhaps, if you can get and afford tickets.
Generally, explore some neighborhoods. Chicago is a city of many varieties and ethniciities. What kind of food do you like? Find a neighborhood with those immigrant populations and dine there, while taking in a little local culture.
A walk along the lake is wonderful. Or even the river downtown. One can even stroll lesser known sections of the river on the north and south sides. They are an interesting historical lesson, as well as nice nature areas.
Architecture tours. The architectural society has some good tours, downtown mostly. But there are also cemetery tours and alternate interesting things. The river architectural tours are notable and beloved, offering a different sort of view on the city center.
The Indiana Dunes would make a nice little day trip (via the South Shore Line.)
Food? There are some solid vegan places in the city offering everything from ice cream to full menus. While it isn't my specialty, as I recall, there is a place everyone raves about somewhere around Boystown. That is also where Blue Man Group plays, if you're interested. And a lot of the improv groups have homes in the neighborhood.
If you want meat, then find a good Chicago dog or Italian beef. Pizza here isn't just thick crust "Chicago style" (though it is good stuff.) You can find anything to your liking, if you look around a bit. Personally, I like a place called Coalfire on Grand for a variety in thin crust.
Generally, I'd say sample the landmarks downtown. (Oh, and if strolling across the Michigan Avenue bridge, check out all the bricks and stones from important buildings around the world set into the Tribune Tower.) Pay attention to statuary and our grand legend of public artwork, especially from an earlier era. Chicago was historically called "Paris on the Prairie" for good reason. It has some quite European sensibilities, and a commitment to egalitarian ideals with lots of free stuff available to all, despite its essential existence as a cruel commercial center. But don't limit yourself to the typical "touristy" areas. Get out and experience local life with the locals. It is, as one commentator once called it, like loving an ugly woman.....with a broken nose.... there may be lovelier lovelies but never a lovely so real!
I wish I knew you Tim, when I last visited Chicago. We would have eschewed all the museums, restaurants and tourist nonsense. Instead I would have taken you to a dingy bar in a scuzzy part of town, that you would have been too scared to go into by yourself.
Ever see one of these...?
Actually, I think I may have. But don't ask me where.
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