Riding to (and on) the City of New Orleans

The big annual conference for engineering educators (ASEE) is happening this week in New Orleans. I hate flying (who doesn’t anymore?) and so booked a bedroom on the train from Milwaukee. I’ve always wanted to do that, and with a long-haul from Chicago to the “Crescent City”/”Big Easy,” here was the perfect opportunity.

So far, so good!

I ran into several colleagues here at the convention center today who had the usual stressful occurrences on their trips down. One person’s luggage went astray. Someone else got stuck on the ground in Tampa (inside his plane) for a couple of hours due to thunderstorms. Oh, yes, and no one was able to get a direct flight. All wound up journeying from Milwaukee to New Orleans via plane transfers that seemed pretty far away and illogical to me.

Meanwhile, I had the nicest long distance travel I’ve ever experienced. Thank you, Amtrak!

I didn’t end up bringing my laptop with me because I decided at the last minute I’d better travel light. So it may be difficult to upload many pictures. But I’ll  try to put up a few every day this week. Plus since I am typing this on my phone, I’m probably better off doing shorter posts every day than one big post. Even with autocorrect, I am literally “all thumbs” using my thumbs. Easier to avoid a million typos in a short post.

So for today, let me just say again how GREAT my trip down to New Orleans was!

Enjoying the trip in an Amtrak bedroom

I took this photo to send to my husband and daughters. I had so much space in my bedroom compartment! I realized once I boarded that I probably could have just booked a sleeper, which would have been a tiny room with two chairs facing that then converted to a bed. In my bedroom I had more space (a sofa and a chair and a sink and a private bathroom). The air conditioning was working well, and in the morning I was able to get really delicious coffee in the corridor. So here. I am, feet propped up on a pillow covered with a towel (out of courtesy for the future traveler😄), sipping great coffee and reading a book by one of my fave authors, while the world speeds past.

My sleeper included meals in the dining car. Simple food, but delicious! I sat with the same dad and his 6-year-old son at both dinner Friday night and lunch Saturday. It was fun meeting them, Brent (dad) and Tyler (adorable son). Here was our view from the dining car.

View of Chicago, looking north, from the train yard near Soldier Field aboard the City of New Orleans

View of Chicago, looking north, from the train yard near Soldier Field aboard the City of New Orleans

When we got to Mississippi on Saturday morning, I kept seeing these really odd-looking fields, different than any I’ve ever seen. In person, anyway. Is there any chance this could be rice? (Yes, those are my ghostly hands taking the photo.)


The fields were wet in between the rows of crops, which looked a lot like some kind of grass. (On the other hand, I suppose there’s a chance this crop actually WAS grass, like the ornamental stuff grown for landscapers😄)

Well, I guess that’s about enough on my NOLA adventure for today. Tomorrow . . . the French Quarter!

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
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5 Responses to Riding to (and on) the City of New Orleans

  1. What a blast!! Have a wonderful week! BTW, I’ll have to find that Alexander McCall Smith book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Harry Rollings says:

    Have a great time. Make sure you take time to ride the streetcar up and back on St. Charles Ave. Audubon Park is a beautiful walk along the way.


  3. Sally Cissna says:

    I want to do this…maybe after the dogs are gone before getting another. What a treat to be zooming along drinking coffee or sleeping or whatever. And the dining car sounds very special. I just love meeting new people.


    • Apparently they’re talking about maybe letting people travel with small dogs. Worth looking into. Sadly, we have large dogs, which I cannot see happening. Well, I can. But most likely the other passengers would not😄


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