Train Trip


I always get nervous when I'm about to embark on any trip alone, and this is a big one!  But once I'm underway, the butterflies usually fade away.

I boarded the train in Philadelphia with huge butterflies at 2:30PM.  Buzz and Jennifer were there to see me off.  I took a brief nap once we were moving, and had a pleasant dinner with a software engineer and his son, Chris and Peter.  About halfway through dinner, I realized that the butterflies were gone.


My Cabin on the "Pennsylvanian"

My cabin was about the same size as my tent, but with a little more headroom.  The structure seemed old, with digital controls for climate control and entertainment laid on top (2 music channels and 2 movies on a tiny screen).  Kind of like an old DC-3 airliner with a modern glass cockpit.

I felt completely renewed after a good night's sleep and an early (6:00AM) French toast breakfast.  We arrived in Chicago 45 minutes late.

Crossing the Mississippi

I had a 4-hour layover in Chicago.  I took a 6-block walk to Daley Plaza (City Hall) and took advantage of Mayor Daley's free wireless internet to catch up on my e-mail, then had some deep-dish pizza for lunch.  We boarded the "Empire Builder" for Portland at 2:00PM. 

I was seated for dinner with a couple about my age, Wayne and Laurie, and their daughter, Stephanie.  They were on their way to Wayne's son Justin's military funeral in Portland.  The next few days with them were an incredible experience.  If you haven't yet, please read about it on the Dedication page.

Fuel and Stretch Stop in Minot, ND

(They Say "MINE-ott")

I truly loved the train trip!  Via air, I never would have had the time to really meet anyone, much less become a spiritual part of a family.  The scenery was incredible- and close!  The food quite palatable.  There was enough room in my cabin for privacy when I wanted it, and excellent company nearby when I needed it.

If you have 3 days to get across the country, there is no better way.

Laurie, Stephanie, and Wayne
The Columbia Gorge
Mount Hood Over the Gorge
Next Dispatch: Astoria