Monday, September 1, 2008

Day Three, Part Two -- A Change of Plans

Illinois, Just east of the Mississippi River

We traveled through Nebraska and on to Burlington, Iowa. When we finally crossed the Mississippi River, we were nearly four hours late.

By this time, I was tired and feeling pretty grungy. I was also concerned about missing my connection in Chicago -- I was booked to get on a train bound for Washington, DC, and then to change to a train for Boston in Washington, DC.

An announcement came over the intercom that people booked on the Cardinal & Hoosier State rail line were to get off the California Zephyr (bound for Chicago) in Galesburg, Illinois, and get onto a Trailways bus bound for Indianapolis. I checked my itinerary and realized that that I had a reservation for this line. At this point I also realized that way back when when I had originally booked my reservations that the booking agent had routed me on a route I had never taken before -- a southern route through Cincinnati, northern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, and western Virginia. Then in Charlottesville, Virginia I would hook up with some other train and continue on to Washington, DC. This all to get to Boston, Massachusetts.

Suddenly, my travel excitement returned. I had never been to Kentucky before, and I would be traveling through the mountains of southern West Virginia, where I had never been, and then parallel to the Blue Ridge Skyline in the state of Virginia proper. I was not disappointed.

Rain storms had whipped through the midwest in early summer, and the water levels were still extremely high when our train crossed the Mississippi and traveled into Illinois. In fact, on the return trip, I saw a whole village virtually submerged in water, only the roofs visible. I remember this same region was hit in 1993 by devastating floods.

Extreme weather?

Perhaps yes, perhaps no. But if we don't know, why are we taking chances?

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