Life is Like an Old-Time Rail Journey
Our stimulus check helped send us on a fun and much anticipated journey across a portion of the northern United States by rail. Many have asked how we liked Amtrak, so my industrious wife will be emailing a thorough review (based on a list she made while the kids were napping on the trip home to satisfy her need to keep her mind active and organized). (FYI-She approved this post.) Financially speaking the train was 1/3 to 1/2 the price of flying our family of six and 1/3 the time of driving (if you include stops and overnights), so it fit our needs beautifully. We rode on the Empire Builder, which runs from from Chicago to Portland/Seattle, going coach class on the way there and riding first class in two small sleeper cars on the return trip to get the full experience. Needless to say, with 27+ hours of travel each way, we spent lots of time together aboard the train. Despite the size of our party, Anna was pleased with one conductor's comment that we should get an award for packing light.
We vacationed for just over a week in beautiful Sandpoint staying with Anna's family and enjoying my family visiting from Southern Idaho (parents, sister and her son). They traveled nearly 9 hours one-way to see us--they must like us! I was amazed to see how much my niece and nephew had grown since last being with them. We hadn't been back to Idaho since leaving nearly two years ago for grad school. While we shared in on some of the chores, time was abundant for touristy activities, visiting dear friends, stopping in to catch up with Anna's grandma a couple of times, hiking the farm, riding bicycles and just hanging out with family. I kept pace on my running training schedule for a June marathon and enjoyed the scenery and challenge of increased altitude in North Idaho.
Anna and I celebrated our eighth anniversary while there and enjoyed an afternoon walking the streets in Sandpoint and window shopping while the kids played with Grandparents on the farm. We returned to town the next day and retraced our steps to a few places and purchased simple personalized souvenirs for each of the older three children to remember the trip. The kids were quite excited about the cow bones and turkey feathers they found during our hike through the cow pasture as momentos too. (The feathers and bones made it to show and tell in both of their classrooms.)
This get-away really allowed us to relax and take a break from the routine of life. While there was effort involved in day-to-day responsibilities, it was a treat to be with those we love, experience something new and be in a beautiful place filled with memories and friends.
5 days ago