Saturday, May 24, 2008

Logbook: Closing The Loop

ClosingTheLoop1My niece Jennifer and her friend Amanda met me in Chicago on Thursday afternoon. We went straight to the theater to see the new Indiana Jones movie, and followed it with dinner at a popular local restaurant. Although I can only give the film a modest review -- good, fun entertainment but a not so great movie -- and the dinner only slightly higher marks -- decent food but not so great service and ambiance -- my time with Jennifer and Amanda was just fantastic. If there's anything more fun than spending time with bright young people I don't know what it is, and I thank them both for a really great evening! I slept in a bit yesterday and enjoyed a leisurely morning of coffee and a crossword puzzle, then packed up and made my way to Union Station where I boarded Amtrak's "Empire Builder" train to Seattle.

ClosingTheLoop2I don't really have much to say about the two day train trip except that it has been a comfortable, easy and relaxing way to cross the country. I've ridden a lot of trains on The Voyage, and although Amtrak isn't the best service in the world I do renew my encouragement that folks give it a try as an alternative to air travel or driving. With airport hassles and gas prices being what they are, traveling by train makes more sense than ever. In my case, the slow but steady progress across the "Hi-Line" has given me time to reflect on The Voyage and to process all that I have seen and done, as well as to try to prepare myself for completing my circumnavigation of the surface of the earth tomorrow morning. I haven't been able to think of a "sound bite" to summarize my experience on The Voyage -- and I honestly doubt that I ever will -- but as I "close the loop" I am profoundly aware that I have accomplished everything I intended to do, and much, much more.

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