Traveling across the country by rail reminds me of my childhood. Every summer we would pack up the car and drive for two weeks around the middle of America. As a child I loved road trips. It meant seeing new places and discovering new terrain. I am reminded that I have felt I lost a piece of myself by not traveling the past 20 years much. When you focus on the material things in life you miss some very intangible joys. I love to travel. I am not so much a fan of planes, but if time is limited that is the only real way to go.
We have had a guide along parts of this route. I know many of these stories, growing up in the Pacific Northwest in the 80’s this was required history. The land is beautiful but barren. The scenery since I woke up today has be repetitious. The rain did not help. Our train is now about an hour late due to rain. I can see that Montana and North Dakota have been ravished by floods. The land that is near the rail line is saturated with murky muddy water. I am not a fan of the isolation this beautiful scenery provides. It would be a nice vacation, but I prefer the hustle and bustle of the city.
I am also not a huge fan of not phone or 4G connectivity. I get is sporadically and have been making Facebook Check-ins. But these are few and far between. I am certain I will have tons of voicemail when we find civilization again.
I feel blessed that I was able to take this opportunity. I cannot imagine how liberating this is going to be. The peace that my soul feels right now, tells me I needed this trip. I needed to escape the ordinary that life has provided. Not that I do not love every single person in my life, I have just felt stagnated for so long. I needed to get out and have an adventure, and if the train ride is any indication, what an adventure this will be.
On a quick side note, if you have never traveled by train, I recommend it. Even a short trip. If you have a meal opportunity do it. I have had breakfast and lunch today in the dining car. They sit you with other people and you get to meet other travelers and hear their stories. The first couple I met were from Bothell and they are traveling to Washington DC and then onto New York City and ultimately to Montreal. They are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. There was also a young man that joined us and he was traveling home to stay with his grandmother. He had interesting stories about DC and I made a few suggestions about things to do in NYC. At lunch I was seated next to another couple who rode up from Portland. They had driven a rental car from Milwaukee, I think it was. They had gathered the last of their son’s belongings and delivered them to him on this trip. They asked about my tattoo, I explained it to them and they said their son was also a cyclist. We then talked for a good portion of lunch about bikeable cities. They said my regular commute made their son’s commute look like nothing, but I informed them just being brave enough to get out into traffic on a bike is significant. I am pretty sure they were going to tell their son about my trip. Who knows maybe one day he will do a similar trip.