Category Archives: Travel

12 Reasons Trains Are Better Than Planes

1. Check-in takes 5 minutes. Except for if it’s a small station than it may only take 2. And check the Amtrak app – if your train is running late it gives you a few more minutes to sleep or visit your family.
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Disclaimer: If your train is leaving out of L.A., Chicago, or New York you probably want to give yourself more time. But you probably knew that already.

2. Two pieces of carry-on baggage. Free. And Amtrak’s definition of a carry-on bag is a 50-lb suitcase. Also, unlimited personal items.

3. Arrival takes 5 minutes. Ok, if 2 50-lb suitcases in addition to myriad personal items wasn’t enough and you had to check a couple additional bags, then it might take 10 minutes to get your bag.

4. Stations are usually located in easily accessible areas with plenty of parking. Yes, you may have to weave your way around some transient individuals…but no hurriedly hugging your auntie goodbye while the airport security guard mean mugs you and decides you have crossed the ephemeral line into “parking.”

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5. Vistas of America. While I do love me an aerial view of the cities twinkling lights, nothing beats sweeping views of the good ‘ol U S of A. Mountains, lakes, pastures, coasts, and trailer parks – the train catches ’em all. And definitely more of the former than the latter. Reminds me that there is still plenty of wide open green space in our beautiful country.

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6. Decent food. Seriously! While I might not spring for it in coach, meals are included with the sleeper car accommodations. So obviously I had to order the most expensive thing on the menu with all of its accoutrements. Steak is still delicious! 🙂

7. You can walk around during take-off and departure.. That’s right folks. No feeling strapped down. And no seatbelts to speak of.

8. Free coffee and water. Again, this is only for sleeper car passengers. But it was right there! Free, hot (or cold), and plentiful.

9. Conversation abounds. Train people like to chat. There is no lack of chitt-chattery on the train. Granted, the mean age of the passengers was 60, but there was something seriously pleasant about being around a bunch of folks who had worked hard on the art of conversation.

10. Privacy abounds. If you happen to be one who enjoys his/her peace and quiet, the beauty of your sleeper room allows for tranquil reading/napping/vista-watching.

11. Naps.. That’s right, not only do you have enough room to nap, they also give you a pillow and a blanket! Like real blankets that cover your feet! Naps are no longer an elusive, neck-kinking dream!
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12. It supports local business. Ok, so I’m not sure this is actually true. But I feel like riding the train is like giving your dollar to the little guy, the mom-and-pop. Not the money-grabbing, every-little-thing-upcharging, how-far-can-we-push-passengers airlines. Trains feel like someone out there wants you to enjoy the trip. Like the corporate office doesn’t want to mess with the good things about travel that have lasted so long. I may be waxing a little nostalgic as I am about to get called to the Parlour Car for my last meal on the Coast Starlight. But this is one gal who wants to see the trains keep rolling on.

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Better late than Never

Here we are on day 5 and I have yet to post anything!! Well here’s a recap for posterity:
Day 1: arrive in San Francisco – lunch at Ferry Building & watching Uncle David play steel guitar at the Cheese Board in Berkley.
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Day 2: Run Golden Gate Park, drive to Salinas & Rehearsal Dinner!
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Day 3: Robert goes kayaking with Grandad!, sweet hair appt with Lynn, and Spencer James’ WEDDING! (Sidebar: so glad I got to see these 2 lovely people get married.)
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Day 4: Flensjes breakfast, lunch in Monterey, and all aboard Amtrak to Washington.

All in all it has been lovely, sweet, and restful. I’m especially diggin’ this train ride. It’s basically an excuse to sit, do nothing, and watch scenery. Like a land-locked cruise. Woke up early this morning to views of the sun rising in Mt. Shasta and her little sister Shastanita.

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Almost home!

I almost made it through the trip with a blog post every day, but since it was late and I am one of today’s 2 drivers, I opted for sleep last night. Yesterday took us from Chicago to Champaign, IL. Champaign holds the University of Illinois, at least one really good frozen yogurt place, and more wonderful saints.

I got to see a sister I hadn’t seen in awhile and was telling her about my ongoing struggle to spend quality time with the Lord in the morning. I appreciated her simple answer,

Just ask the Lord about it.

She made it sound so simple and I was reminded that it really is so easy! He really wants to spend the time with us, so He’s happy to help us figure out how to spend time with Him.

Leaving our wonderful hospitality. So sad we didn’t get a picture with them!

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University of Illinois:

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Today we took the long way home. Robert and I took 3 students back through Cincinnati to pick up the now- repaired church van and drop off our rental. The silver lining to this was one last stop at Graeter’s! The location we found through yelp had Jim, the world’s friendliest manager.

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AND my only state border pic the whole trip….

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Finally Pizza!

Why am I always doing these posts rushed at 1130 pm? I always have the best intentions….

Today was a great wrap-up of our time here. I was really surprised at how much I love Chicago!! We had a sweet time of fellowship with Jim Reetzke who touched the ministry of Witness Lee back in the 1950’s and was in the first meeting of the Church in Los Angeles. It was wonderful to hear the history. Got to visit Chicago Bibles & Books which was awesome. Look forward to getting more biographies from them once I finish the two I picked up.

Then off to the Billy Graham museum in Wheaton, IL followed by The Bean and…drum roll please….Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza! (Secretly, that may have been everyone’s reason for visiting Chicago).

And now the photo roll:

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Billy Graham Museum:

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Downtown Chicago:

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Sadly, no pics of the pizza (although if you search #2013MidwestBlending there must be some). But here is Alessa acting for us what we all felt on the inside after we were done:

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Brrrrr…for reals

Today was so much fun! Hancock observatory, Chicago-style hot dogs, high of 24 degrees, and….Shopping! Then a sweet dinner and blending with the saints from Chicago.
Views from the observatory:

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Views from inside the Fastest elevator in N. America (20MPH):

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Hot dog!:

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And….Shopping!:

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During dinner & the fellowship tonight I really enjoyed the matter of Daniel and his companions. We need companions. God did not design us to make it on our own. Like this hymn says:

My going on is for you. Your going on is for me. Not separate entities, I need you saints desperately.

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Brrrrrr!

Chicago! Today we had our very literal introduction to the Windy City. When we left the house it was about 19 but with windchill felt like 4. Met up at the Field Museum & then split up to different places. That whole Museum campus was awesome, such a treat. Our group decided on Adler planetarium, but first a lunch stop at Panozzo’s Italian Market “an Italian-inspired, chef-driven neighborhood market.”Sooooo good. Sorry for no pictures of the sandwiches, but we did add a notch to our ice-cream eating belt.

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Then lots of pictures around the city:

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I really enjoyed the planetarium. Particularly, I enjoyed their Welcome to the Universe show. As they went through the vastness of our universe and said things like,

“We have discovered galaxies 12 billion light years away [1 light year = 6,000,000,000,000 miles].”

I was just brought back to Zechariah 12:1:

…Thus declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him…

As vast as the universe is, Jehovah ranks the spirit of man with the same importance. Amazing!

And to finish the photo roll:

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Friendly stranger cameraman FAIL:

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Friendly stranger cameraman SUCCESS:

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And to end the day, steamy homemade bread. Spoiled to say the least:

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Ordinary Days

Pray for our continued smooth coordination. Traveling with 30 is a machine with many moving parts.

Travelled today from Columbus to Chi-town. This morning was a flurry of packing and saying goodbye.

I miss the saints in Columbus already.

But already enjoying the saints in Chicago. Got a chance to sit down with a precious couple who have been enjoying the church life here since it began. They live in an awesome historic Victorian:

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Appreciated hearing their history of just being in the church life for decades and how enjoyable it is to them.

Then on to our wonderful, sweet, happy hospitality. It was 50% off night at the thrift store so we joined them on a roller-skate finding mission 🙂

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