March 31st, 2014


About Time

Since we moved to West Michigan, Amtrak train service has been split. One lines runs from Chicago to Kalamazoo, and then to places like East Lansing, Detroit and Flint. The Pere Marquette line goes from Chicago to Holland and Grand Rapids.

There are at least two more trains that would make sense. One would be service between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo -- that would take advantage of the multiple trains through Kalamazoo, as well as the higher speed sections being updated. The other would be east from Grand Rapids to Lansing and Detroit directly.

There may be movement on the latter. An article the other day on Mlive talked about a study.
The so-called “Coast to Coast” line would go through Grand Rapids, Lansing and metro Detroit, and could connect major colleges as well as health care organizations such as those along Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile. The line would travel at a speed of 79 mph, compared to the current maximum speed of 65 mph on the Pere Marquette, Langdon said.

Most of the route would run on tracks currently owned by CSX Transportation, Langdon said.
I assume this would be separate from the once daily Grand Rapids-Holland-Chicago run, given the early morning departure from and late night arrival at G.R. Chicago-Lansing-Detroit passengers would be better served through Kalamazoo.

I think this would be a great train service which I would be happy to take advantage of from time to time. If there was one trainset, it would overnight in Holland -- two trains daily could start from both Holland and Detroit -- and make a day trip possible both ways. I did once spend some hours at a conference exhibition in Chicago on the Pete Marquette. I had a free pass to the conference exhibit hall, after all. (grin)

It's not world class high speed rail, but it's a start.

Dr. Phil

So That Was Spring -- That Was Nice

Saturday was nice enough. I believe it was in the forties, but truth be told we spent nearly the whole day at a friend's house playing games and celebrating a birthday. Mrs. Dr. Phil did comment on the way home at 11pm that the stars were out and she could see Orion.

Sunday was sunny and bright blue sky for much of the day. Temp got up to 50°F at our house. If I had had time, I should have gone out for some pictures, but after playing on Saturday, I had work I had to do on Sunday, so no photography for me.

Monday is also sunny and bright blue sky. For the first time this semester, I left my coat in the Blazer and came in with just a sweater on -- no breeze, so the cool was comfortable. Supposed to get up to 61°F today, which is the definition of a nice spring day. Hence no need for the coat, just the sweater, when I leave this afternoon.

March comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb?

Ah, but then there's the first week of April... current forecast over the next nine days after today? Highs around 45°F every day. Rain. Freezing rain. Snow.

Yup. January sucked. February sucked. March sucked. And April... is gonna suck.

Oh, and gas this morning as I drove by in Allendale? Up to $3.83.9/gal. Not sure if that's because Michigan State is out of the NCAA or Russia still hasn't left Crimea or the gay marriage ban. What? You thought gas prices would go up for a reason? Okay -- BP leaked a bunch of oil sands fracked crude into Lake Michigan to celebrate Exxon's ruining of Prince William Sound in Alaska 25 years ago. Does that count?

Dr. Phil


Stairs, my nemesis, we meet again.

We went to friends house on Saturday. They live on a hill, but I was able to park the Bravada sort of on the driveway, in front of the garage -- or what had once been a garage. I put up my handicapped hang tag, in case anyone wondered.

Came in through the garage, then dealt with a steep, but sturdy, staircase with very narrow treads. Solid railing plus one cane -- I didn't count the steps, but it was up one full floor. Made it up. Made it down.


There's a set of stairs to the basement at PT. When I had my first compressed leg nerve a couple of years ago, we never got around to tackling them. Now it's important, especially with my AFO brace.

Today I said, let's look at the stairs. My plan a while ago was to go halfway, turn around and come back up. But after Saturday's success...

14 stairs down, rest on a chair, 14 stairs up.

Yay. Go me.

Dr. Phil