Sunday, September 16, 2012

Exploring Train Travel..and other Sunday Musings

As someone who lived in Europe for many years, I've experience train travel many times. The first time I was in Europe years ago, I lived in Nuremberg and had no car. I took the train to visit my parents in Brussels where they were stationed. I took the train to France. This time, my husband and kids and I took many trips on the train-although we enjoyed driving, there were simply time when the train made more sense-and gave me (the driver) a chance to enjoy the view.

Recently, I was looking at travel plans for the coming year and decided to explore Amtrak as an alternative. Let it be known that for the most part, I prefer long leisure trips with an occasional destination. I am not by nature a destination traveler-in other words, instead of a week to two weeks in a single location, I prefer seeing many places a long the way with an extra day or so at my end destination. This has made me look closer at train travel. I have traveled the trains in the with good experiences, albeit years ago. I used to travel from DC to Savannah by train on a regular basis with my kids (in the days when we were a one car family). This time, I've been exploring the Amtrak site, and I've found two options that immediately grabbed my attention. One would be a trip that would take me south through Texas and then across the southern US to Los Angeles. This trip would include exploring San Antonio, Big Bend Texas, Saguaro National Park, Yuma, Palm Springs and Los Angeles. If I really wanted to make it a trip, then I travel south to San Francisco and west to Denver through Reno, Salt Lake City and the Rockies. My other alternative would be to travel north to Chicago through Little Rock and St Louis. Either way, while I would travel through some previous seen areas, I have never been to  Los Angeles or Chicago. I'm loving the idea of relaxing and traveling this way, and will let you know more about my plans.

I've been busy this week in other ways as well. I went on Friday to my local "trade days" venue and explored again, this time with a sellers eye. It looks like I will be selling there one weekend for the next three months. Its a good alternative because there are many regulars, and it has covered stations set up as part of the rent. I would need a display but not a tent. I saw other people selling so called "team items" including signs and wreaths. There were also crafters with holiday items. So I guess I'll become even busier here sewing away. I need to post a picture of my inventory at some point.

I'm going to travel to Denver next week. I'll have to talk with my instructors and work ahead on projects in order to do that.  I'm going to explore condos (just looking and getting ideas)  and talk about my house and my alternatives. Oh, and celebrate my birthday with steak and kidney pie, spinach and mandarin salad and homemade and still warm lemon meringue.

I've taken an on some new responsibilities volunteer wise. Although this is adding time commitment, I've also stepped back from some others.  I am the co-coordinator of volunteers for our church's habitat build going on as we speak. Also, our church is a very large one and does not have an "in reach ministry". We support about a dozen outreach causes if not more, but we don't have anything in place to help our members-by giving them food when illness strikes or anything else. In a moment of weakness I suggested we need one and I am meeting with the coordinator from another church with an excellent program this week.

I'm enjoying school, but glad I dropped one of my classes. My print class is really going to require at least three or four mornings a week because I will need extra lab time. One of my courses is an "express class" which goes half the semester that I think will work well for me It begins after my first craft fairs and Denver trip. I'm not at all sure about my philosophy of religions class-I was hoping for a class with lots of discussion and what I have is a class with lectures and lots of writing. Life brings what it brings.

Finally, we are having a temporary cool spell-needed rain and slightly lower temps. Its been lovely to leave the air off part of the time and think about some cooler meals. Its time to pull out my slow cooker menus and see what I can come up with. Once the yard is soaked a bit, I'll work on cleaning up a big. If I do move, remind me never to move again to a homeowner association driven community..........sigh.


  1. Train travel - sounds very romantic until you actually do it. Our family of 4 traveled on the night train from Loire Valley to Paris in a tight little compartment with way too much (Crazy American) luggage and I have to admit that wasn't fun. We took the train from London to Paris on another trip and enjoyed it - even the under water part. My husband has always wanted to do an Amtrak trip, but I am hesitant. One day.

    Lemon Meringue Pie served warm - a true Southern delight. My Mom makes the best!

    Denver sounds like a nice place to be this time of year. Enjoy!

  2. Suzanne I have to admit we've always done well on trains but we've never done overnight travel....we always wanted to see everything.

  3. Barb, Denver is on our list of cities to live in for a month in a rental apartment. It's a wonderful town. I'm intrigued that it's on your list of possible places to relocate to - Looking forward to staying tuned on this.

  4. Tamara, my siblings all live in Denver. As my parents are no longer living and my kids are grown(ing) I am looking at the option. I would increse my pain level some because of the cold, and the cost of living is about ten percent higher than dallas, but the ability to be near family may trump that.

  5. A trip by train sounds like fun!! We have lived all over the counrty and have found each area has it's own challege's in weather. Here in the south we can't go out in the dead of the summer, up north it's the winter. I HATE to be cooped up in the house in the summer months!!

  6. A few years ago I traveled from Denver to Salt Lake City on Amtrack. It was autumn....leaves turning and early snow on the moutains. I spent the whole day in the observation car with the window roof. It was just fabulous....every turn in the track was a postcard picture. I love trains. I do not like sleeping ones....I like to travel in the day to see the view. aloha


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