Thursday, June 30, 2016

And Chicago

My original plan for going to Chicago was to catch the Nickel Plate 765 as it left Union Station.  I thought that I would have some fairly unique pictures since that doesn't happen all that often.  On Thursday I decided to check the Nickel Plate app to see where the train was and it was then that I found out they cancelled the trip.  Apparently there weren't enough people interested in riding the train.  I will admit, it was a pretty expensive trip to take and I can certainly appreciate people not wanting to plunk down that kind of cash.  However, I'm wondering if there are too many groups restoring steam engines.  It seems like every time I turn around, there is another group restoring one.  If there are too many, then rides on one stop being special.  Hopefully, the Nickel Plate will do the Cuyahoga Valley again...I will ride it then.
 If I ever needed a picture to sum up what it's like to drive to Chicago, this would be it.
 I still decided to get some train pictures outside of Union Station.  As I was planning for the Nickel Plate, I saw that Roosevelt Avenue crosses right over the tracks leading out of Union Station and I figured that would give me a good vantage point.
 And I think I was right.
 I guess depending on which way it came out, I could have gotten some good shots.  And I think they would have been better than this one because it was earlier in the day.
 An Amtrak train leaving.
 If you look in the upper right hand corner, there is a Southwest 737 (what else?) in the sky.  So I guess this makes for a bifecta.
 Another shot of that engine.
 I guess I'll have to imagine the Metra Train is the Nickel Plate and I would have gotten a pretty good shot.
And one more before heading home.

Even though I didn't get to realize all of my plans, I had a pretty fun weekend.  I hope that my dad did too.

A Brief Stop at O'Hare Airport

I couldn't pass up an opportunity to stop at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, especially since I found a really cool spot for planewatching.
 You get a decent view of the next runway over as evidenced by this American 737 coming in for a landing.
 This Boeing 717 was getting ready to head off to Atlanta.
 A cargo variant of a 747.
 I think this is an Airbus.
 A plane belonging to Frontier Airlines.
 The ever present regional jet.
 A United 737 coming in for a landing.
 Shortly followed by a 767.
 There was a nice steady stream of aircraft coming in.
 Another 747.  I love to see 747's.
 Another regional jet.
 An MD-88.
 An American 737.
 Another American 737.
 Another 767.
 Another MD-88 or 90.
 The new 737 design.
 An Air Berlin Airbus A330 coming in.
I kind of like the paint scheme.

Odd Things You Run Across

So on Sunday, I was near Chicago and I decided to head to O'Hare Aiport and Union Station before heading home.   On the way to the Airport, I ran across this.
 This is the McDonald's Store #1 Museum in DesPlaines, Illinois.  This was the first McDonald's that was opened by Ray Kroc and is considered by the company to be the first one.  However, it is the 9th store because the original one is in San Bernadino, CA.  The oldest McDonald's still in operation is in Downey, CA.  This one was actually a franchise until Mr. Kroc bought out the original owners' stake.
 This one is also a replica.  The original was torn down in 1984 but McDonald's wanted to (sort of) preserve history by building an exact copy of the original one.  There are tours offered but I don't know when.
 I kind of wish there were more like this one.
 Across the street is a more modern looking McDonald's for comparison.
Quite a few more burgers sold in the meantime.

And Now For Something Completely Different....

Well not really.  Just another kind of ship.

One of the things that convinced me to take US-41 down instead of I-75 was that I saw I had the chance to pass through Marinette, Wisconsin.  Marinette is home to Marinette Marine which is one of the companies that is building Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

While I'm not a huge fan of the design, I do like to see Navy ships and it's not often that I can see Navy ships.  The ships built in Marinette are the Freedom Variant of the LCS.  This is the one that looks like a proper ship, as opposed to the Independence Variant which is a Catamaran looking design.
 First out of the gate was the USS Sioux City.  As you can see, they are still building the radar mast.
 Next up is the USS Detroit which should be pretty close to being completed.  I hope that I will get to see her later this year as they are supposed to commission her in Detroit.  At any rate, I will make sure that I catch her as she works her way to the sea.  This will be the sixth ship to bear the name USS Detroit.    One of the predecessors was at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7th, 1941.  That particular variant was a cruiser.  She was also present at the surrender in Tokyo Bay.
 From left to right:  USS Detroit, USS Sioux City and the USS Little Rock.
 I can't really tell but I think this is the USS Wichita under construction.
A shot from the front of the USS Little Rock.  She looks like another one that is close to making her trek to the sea.

The Sam Laud Enters Escanaba Harbor

As I was progressing through the day, I noticed that there was a ship heading to Escanaba.  I was hoping that I would catch her as I was passing through.
 I scanned the harbor and was about to give up when in the corner of my came the Sam Laud.
 I'm not sure if she was picking up or dropping off cargo but it is always nice to see a ship in a new place.
One more shot before moving on.

An Upper Peninsula Whirlwind

Saturday was the day that I ended up going from the Soo to Chicago.  According to Google Maps, I had two choices.  I could either go back down I-75 and then head over to Chicago the normal way or I could take M-28 across and then take US-41 down.  I opted for the second option, mainly because I've never been further west in the UP than Munising.
 The first thing that caught my eye was an airport in the middle of nowhere.  Especially this Cessna 170B.
 Luce County Airport is a grass strip just outside of Newberry.  It looked like they had a few other planes there.
 M-28 stretches from roughly Sault Sainte Marie to almost the far western edge of the Upper Peninsula.  It was designated as a state highway in 1919 (along with a few others).  There is a part of it called the Seney Stretch and is one of the longest straight sections of highway in the country (obviously this isn't a picture of that).  For the most part, it is a two lane highway but there is the occasional passing lane.
 I believe this is a rail line belonging to Canadian National.
 I love these old railroad bridges.
 One of the rivers that cross the highway.
 Unfortunately, this is not a great picture of one of the old Michigan Highway Bridges.  These used to be all over but now they are fewer and further between as the decaying portions are replaced by more modern constructions.
 Another railroad bridge.
 I loved the looks of this lilypad covered river.
 A close up.
 Another part of that river.
 A daisy.
 My first real stop was at the Alger Falls near Munising.  I was here a few years ago and I've been meaning to return.  I guess I'll have to return when I can spend more time here.
 A blue flag iris.

 Another shot of the Alger Falls.
 When I was last in Munising, these falls were blocked by a huge snow pile.  This time I decided to get pictures.
 They are the Wagner Falls.
 The Munising Falls was another set of falls that I couldn't get last time I was up here.
 Lake Superior.
 My next stop was Marquette.  A mission was established here in 1675 but development of the area didn't begin until William Burt and Jacob Houghton discovered iron deposits nearby in 1844.  In 1845, the Jackson Mining Company was formed.  The name Marquette was created in 1850 in order to honor Father Marquette who was an explorer and missionary.  This is one of the old iron docks.
 A tugboat.
 One of the new iron docks.  Almost 8 million tons of iron passes through here annually.  I was actually hoping to catch a ship but I just missed the ship that left by an hour and the next ship wasn't due for another two hours.  I didn't really have time to stick around.  But this will be another stopping point in the future.
 The Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad was formed in 1893 as a subsidiary of the Cliffs Mining Company.  It was used to haul iron ore from the mines to the docks.  The railroad is still around today.
 The Superior Dome is touted as the world's largest wooden dome and is the home to the Northern Michigan University Wildcats Football team. It is 14 stories tall and built with 781 douglas fir beams.  It can hold about 8,000 people.
 An old steam engine belonging to the Soo Line.
 The Sand Point Lighthouse was built in Escanaba in 1867.  In 1985, the building was taken over from the Coast Guard in order to save it.
 Crossing the border into Wisconsin.
Marinette, WI is home to Marinette Marine.  More on that later.