Natalie & Tom Training

NatalieTom50th

Natalie & Tom Training

In celebration of our 50th anniversary, we are taking a train trip to visit family and tour some of these United States. This will be a running commentary about our adventure.



North America » United States September 27th 2019

Our final day on this journey began with a wait for the train in Sacramento. According to the conductor who boarded in Sacramento, this train always runs about an hour late, and it was again today. We climbed aboard about 1:15 am, when it was very dark. They couldn't seat us together on the upper level, so put us in the front row of the four on the last level. (This level is usually reserved for handicapped or those more elderly than us.) The attendant said she'd find us seats together in the upper level in the morning after they had unloaded some. I'll admit to being quite displeased because other attendants would awaken those using two seats for the price of one so couples could be together. The attendant on the Zephyr even warned people ... read more

North America » United States September 26th 2019

After an excellent night back in a bed, we have a day to explore a little bit of Sacramento. Because old town Sacramento is a short walk from the train station, we plan to check our bags for the day and check out "Old Sac" as the locals call it. There is a railroad museum right there, and it seems fitting to visit that museum today. And that's what we did. The navigator failed to confirm the route before we started walking, so we ended up walking all the way across the Sacramento River before realizing we missed a turn somewhere. So after spending a little while appreciating the park on the other side of the river, we found our way back to the right side of the river. The railroad museum is right there. If ... read more
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North America » United States September 25th 2019

As dawn broke today, we were traveling through Nevada after leaving Elko and on our way to Winnemucca. This is the first time I can honestly say the terrain can begin to look monotonous. I had thought Nevada was almost all desert wasteland, except Las Vegas, Reno and several small towns, of course. However, that picture is misleading. Most of the land we crossed today is high desert, and there was very little variety to the vegetation most of the way. Just lots of yellowish scrub grass with pale green bushes scattered throughout, seemingly at random. The terrain does vary quite a bit as we passed by. It is mostly flat, and seems to go on forever. But then, we begin to cross small canyons, some with little streams at the bottom, others with just more ... read more
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North America » United States September 24th 2019

During the night time run through Nebraska, they announced a delay because Burlington Northern Santa Fe told them to hold while BNSF repaired some track ahead of us. We still rode into Colorado in the dark, but ended up being 2 hours late most of today. It's not a problem for us because we'll still arrive by 4:00 pm or so in Sacramento and stay the night before catching the midnight train to Seattle. We had breakfast in the dining car with a delightful Amish couple from Dalton, OH. They were taking an epic vacation of their own: With two other couples, married at the same time, they are celebrating their 40th anniversary with a series of train rides around the country too. We enjoyed talking about some common experiences, and learned a little about the ... read more
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North America » United States September 23rd 2019

We woke up to a beautiful day in Chicago, clear, dry and comfortably warm. And it was pouring when we went to bed last night. It must be somewhat fitting for a couple Seattleites to begin our third week of this epic vacation with a rainy day. Everything had dried out by this morning, though, so it was just another fun memory in our book. We took it easy at breakfast and took our time checking out. Our train left Chicago on time at 2:00 pm, so there was really no hurry. We spent 2 1/2 hours in the station waiting area enjoying the crying, singing and just plain noisy children and crowds, all drowning out the un-understandable PA announcements. Our time at the station was much better this time, though, because we had some experience ... read more
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North America » United States September 22nd 2019

For our final day in Chicago, this has been just about everything we could ask for. We saw the city from the Willis Tower and got properly drenched on the open top deck of a double decker tour bus. Our plan for the day, after yesterday's tour, was to get off at the Willis tower stop, tour the tower, then ride to the Adler Planetarium and check the clock before deciding what to do next. The weather forecast suggested increasing chances of rain as the day progressed, but weather guesses are guesses. Sometimes, they're perfect, and today was one of those times. We didn't know that until later. We did stop at the Willis Tower and visit its Skydeck. This is the observation floor, which is the 103rd floor, 1,353 feet high, with three glass floored ... read more
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North America » United States September 21st 2019

We arrived at the Cincinnati train station on Friday shortly after 3:00 pm, to await a train which would arrive at 1:31 am, knowing we would be pretty much left alone and unable to leave without being locked out. Certainly, we wouldn't be the only people planning to take the same train to Chicago, but how and when would they arrive, and how would it all work? Well, it all worked nicely. I wrote and published yesterday's entry, with Natalie's editorial approval, of course. Then we read and napped until about 8:30, when a nice lady arrived to join us and we had a pleasant conversation getting acquainted. Over the next few hours several more people arrived to catch the same train. Apparently, the Museum security staff is on duty 24/7 to take care of the ... read more
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North America » United States September 20th 2019

Today we visited the Creation Museum, yet another awesome collection of excellent gardens, models, videos, and museum exhibits. The most impressive to me was a 4D video showing the six days of Creation, narrated by reading the first chapter of Genesis. That meant we wore 3D glasses and our chairs vibrated as the story unfolded. Much of the opening was shown from wavetop level, and every time a wave splashed, a gust of wind caught our faces, giving the momentary sensation of being splashed. The 4D video flew us fast and low over amazing terrain as it formed. We brushed aside the foliage as we drove through beautiful forests and gardens. And we had an up close and personal view of every creature we saw. We then walked through a comprehensive series of exhibits depicting the ... read more
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North America » United States » Kentucky September 19th 2019

Today, we visited the Ark Encounter, which was our initial purpose for this vacation. I don't know the appropriate superlatives for this place, but it was at least astoundingly amazing. It's 510 feet long and 4 stories open to the public, and jam packed full of examples, models and information presented in posters and videos. Even Natalie said it was far more than she expected, and she's heard what Bob thought of it. There's a huge parking lot where you park and pay for admission and parking. Then you ride nice buses to the Ark entrance, where the day is yours to explore the Ark and grounds, take in a presentation or two, ride the zip line, visit the zoo, and relax at one of several snack places or the buffet. We arrived at 10:00 am ... read more
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North America » United States September 18th 2019

After breakfast and just a little more conversation, we bid farewell to my sister and her hubby, and began the drive to Florence, KY, where we'll spend a couple nights while visiting the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. It was a very good visit, and it was a good reminder just how important family is. I am especially grateful for my sister and the relationship we now have. The day started out a bit cloudy, and we drove through a few showers that were so light it was almost unnecessary to run the wipers. That was probably necessary to remind us of home. Very soon, though, the sky cleared up completely for another beautiful day. The sky was clear blue with just a few pure white cotton ball clouds, as we drove through more lush green ... read more
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