I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time.
It seems like I am always just getting comfortable when someone tells me it’s time to move on to the next activity. The long train trip enables one to get comfortable AND move on to the next activity at the same time! In this case the next activity was a surprise 50th birthday party for my cousin’s wife. The party was in Napa on a Saturday night.
I would board the train in Washington, DC on Tuesday afternoon, arrive in San Francisco on Friday, and meet up with my wife who would fly out to make a weekend of it in the Bay Area.
The timing was perfect because in less than a month would be my own 50th birthday. I have been trying not to freak out, but 50 seems pretty old! Already, young people at my company, just out of college are half my age, and tell me I remind them of their fathers! Now someone at AARP is preparing a membership card for me! I needed something to mark the occasion. So I decided to seek adventure on the rails.
“Adventure” may be overstating it. After all, I was not going to be a hobo riding in a box car; rather, I would be on a sleeper car–my own Superliner Roomette–with an iPad, Blackberry, Wireless Internet Card, Noise Canceling headphones, and a more than adequate supply of single malt scotch.
I would get some time to myself, do some thinking, meet interesting people, and see the country in one continuous stretch.
And so begins my chronicle of an Amtrak journey across the United States. I did meet interesting people, I saw the awesome scale and diversity of geography that is the American landscape, and even learned a few things.