Archive | June 2010

Always More Room at the Table


One of the joys of riding the train are the people you meet. Because we have a group of five you can’t eat with others or sit a viewing table. However we still got times to hang with others. Everyone minus Amelia were playing games and looking at the river. During that time everyone went to the bathroom and while they were gone I invited two others to join us

The attendant was walking through the car to find a spot for two kids to hang out. Seeing that they were alone I invited them into our family. They got on in St.Paul and were on their way to Lacrosse,WI to see their grandma. They were immediatly included in our family. When our kids got back they didn’t skip a beat. “Of course there will be more kids at our table.”

Once a foster family always a foster family I guess.

Conductors log#6


Last nights sleep was much better. Thanks for praying that no one would fill up the seats next to us. We all got two seats to spread out on, except Samuel took the floor.

It was surreal waking up in MN and having our past come back. Most of the towns we went through had a story or friend that lives there. We passed within a mile of the hospital that A & E were born and half a mile from our first home that we purchased. Seeing the Mpls skyline was also a treat. We also passed through the UofM and saw the campus church that we had our first ministry position.

After getting through the layover in StPaul and back on track we experienced the Mississippi river like we have never before. The train runs right alongside the river which gives a great vantage point to view the wildlife (Elliot spotted three deer) and the vastness of the river. It always fun crossing the river into the Promise Land.

We took some time in the viewing car today to drink hot chocolate (I gave in and just bought them instead of begging for hot water) and played games. The national Parks have a guide in the car to point out historical and interesting facts so we also listened to him. Samuel completed the junior ranger book and got his very own badge. He says he wil give it to papa Bill.

We have only a few more stops left and we look forward to getting off and seeing the family.

A well spent inheritance

Got to talk to a biker tonight. He had on a Triumph t-shirt on so I introduced myself. (note to self I need to get a Vulcan shirt. All bikers sport their brand). I asked all the normal motorcyclist questions. What’s your bike? How long have you been riding? Where you from?(that is a train question). Delightful chap had to be in his late 60′s and has been biking since the early 60′s. I had a great conversation with him and gave him my cruiser magazine I picked up right before I left.

When I was returning with the magazine he told me he was going to Minot ND. He was there three weeks ago for his mothers funeral. After the funeral he checked out the local bike shop and got word of a guy selling his 2007 Honda ST1300. He was looking for a BMW but couldn’t pass up this one with just over 1500 total miles on it. So he took his $15000 inheritance and put $10000 of it towards a new motorcycle. He also mentioned something about the guy throwing in an accordion, which I thought to be weird.

Safe travels Robert on your way back home. Your mom would be happy.

Conductors log #5


This was the long day and if we were to break it would have been today. But we didn’t. Oh yes I understand, as you do, that our kids are perfect and can find amusement out of anything. So endless praires and a random rusted out car alongside of the road was childs play for them to produce entertainment.

Elliot and I had a good time dreaming up what it would be like if we lived out in the middle of nowhere and had endless acres to work. We decide it would be too much work but it would be cool to have dirt bikes and atvs.

We did finally break down and pull the computers out to watch a movie. They were dissapointed to have to stop drawing on the Amtrak napkins but they gave into my idea of family bonding. The girls watch an old Survivor episode (exile island for those that care) and us boys settled in for a James Bond classic, the Man With the Golden Gun. Major mistake. I guess I remember Bond being so cool when I was young.

Oh well our first parenting mistake on the trip. So with benadryl in our stomachs and each of us getting two seats each, we say goodnight. Pray that no one gets on until Minneapolis so we can keep our seats.

Lunch on the Empire Express


We had on the plans to do lunch on the train today. We didn’t think it wise to live on carmel corn, bubblegum and pop tarts the whole trip. So when the seating became open we sluggishly took our sugar filled bodies down two cars to eat. We slamed the five of us into the booth for four and took it all in.

People say that you need to eat on the train, because it is part of the experience. By experience they mean the kind of overcooked macaroni, hamburgers that were cooked(check that burnt) last night and reheated this morning and can you eat quicker so we can get more people in type of experience.

It really wasn’t that bad. My sandwhich was delightful and Amelia’s pizza looked great. We just know how to pick them. Now back to our beef jerky.

I am not tired


Samuel after eating his lunch insisted he was not tired and just wanted to eat snacks. Kids aren’t as smart as they used to be.


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