The newly refurbished train station in Seattle.
Cross-country train travel is not for wimps.
But I went anyway.
Yes, once again Tom and I traveled across the U.S. via the rails. What a whirlwind! So many trains, people, farms and barns, relatives, mountains and orange-colored trees. Oh, the meals with fellow-traveling strangers and their stories and being thrown against walls by trains.
The Pacific Ocean and families playing on beaches on a long, sunny California afternoon. The eternal burning-eyed waits in train stations with glasses of cranberry juice and CNN. The Mississippi River and the canal in windy, downtown Chicago with commuters running (literally) through Union Station with briefcases after a long workday.
The night I got hot and claustrophobic in the upper bunk and couldn't open the door. The realtor, Bill, who chatted with us lots from across the way and said he'd love to find us a house near Seattle and who also valued our opinions on anything regarding power, even microwave ovens, and called us The Power Couple.
The two men at dinner (and breakfast) who'd first met in Junior High, but now lived in different states and kept asking for Tom's S. African stories. The 70 year-old-+ vein surgeon who said women in their 50's generally start having bad veins, then glanced at me, meaningfully.
The gorgeous train station in Seattle that looked heavenly, but so lacked modern amenities. The kind, helpful attendants who put our beds up and down for us. The drivers, 'red hats,' who shuttled us wildly to the stations from our trains, veering only inches from the tracks, below. The one and five dollar bills we handed to anyone who helped us.
Oh, so much can happen in just 12 days when you travel by train! Good and bad, but mostly very good.
And how good to be reminded that thousands of farms do still exist in this Country, as well as tiny towns across their fields with tall, ancient brick buildings and faded advertising where simple folks set politics aside and still remember and discuss what really matters.
We saw so much and are so tired and Introvert Girl inside me is begging for time alone. But when we recover, we'll recall the best moments which were many and which will always shine brightest in the years to come.
From Glacier National Park in Montana, which is one looong state to cross, indeed.
Oh, and I kept writing blog posts to you all inside my head. I missed you and writing here!