Leaving Fargo, we entered Minnesota and caught glimpses of farmland usually shrouded in darkness for passengers of the Empire Builder.
As we pulled into St. Paul-Minneapolis we got our first view of the river I would encounter a few more times on this trip, the Mississippi. Unsurprisingly, the trains run alongside the river here enabling transfer of cargo (including self-loading cargo of passengers) between river and rail.
On leaving the twin cities, we travelled through miles and miles of mid-west cornfields
And then re-joined the Mississippi as it delineates the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Throughout Wisconsin the view either side was again green fields of corn until we approached Milwaukee in the evening. I was rather taken by the decoration of the underside of the overpasses in Milwaukee and wonder whether this discourages graffiti.
The train carried on through the industrialised lakeshore until we arrived in Chicago at 8:30 pm. The steel work up at the Canadian border had made us four and a half hours late. And because the trai usually arrives in Chicago mid-afternoon, the dining car does not stock ingredients to offer dinner. Fortunately Chicago is a reasonably sized city and the train station is right in the middle of town, so there were plenty of places us hungry travellers could fill our stomachs. Two days later found out that we had been lucky. When I was back at the station to get onto City of New Orleans to Memphis, that day’s Empire Builder was not expected until 10:30pm!
If you’re on the City of New Orleans, you’re going through my hometown of Champaign, Illinois! Don’t stop – nothing going on there AT ALL.