I’m leaving on another mainland trip next week . . . to St. Paul, Minnesota, for the annual retreat for the NARP board of directors. I’ve found these two-day events very helpful. They’ve helped our board to become more efficient and focused and–probably most important–I don’t think we trespass onto Jim Mathews’ turf nearly as much as we once did.
Jim is NARP’s President and CEO and I suspect if I had a couple of bucks for every time over the past several years that Jim has looked at his emails and muttered, “Oh, God … it’s Loomis again!”, I could upgrade to a big bedroom on my next overnight Amtrak ride.
Anyway, I’m taking a red-eye out of here, changing planes in Los Angeles and flying right on to Minneapolis. As it happens, the hotel booked for our two-day retreat is literally two blocks from the St. Paul railroad station, where I’ll board the Empire Builder for the ride back to Seattle. From there–this will come as no surprise–I’ll take the Coast Starlight overnight to San Jose and fly home to Maui the next day.
There are several daily flights from Seattle to Maui, of course, but it’s such a pleasure to relax in the Pacific Parlour Car on that scenic run along Puget Sound and through the Cascade Range to Portland and beyond that it’s well worth the extra time and money.
As I’ve mentioned here in previous posts, I really enjoy classy old hotels, even if they come with minor irritants. That’s the case with the Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle. It dates back to 1927 and there are just two elevators that don’t exactly whisk you to your floor. But it’s a wonderful old place with a great staff and reasonable rates. And, of equal importance, it’s right around the corner from Assaggio, an absolutely wonderful Italian restaurant.
In response to an inquiry, yes, I have to personally cover almost all of my travel expenses to these board retreats. But they help to make me a more productive board member and in this particular case, it’s a legitimate excuse to spend two nights on the Empire Builder, a night in Seattle at a classy old hotel after a great Italian dinner, and another ride on the Coast Starlight overnight with most of that time spent in the parlour car.
Oh … and because NARP is a non-profit 501(C)3 organization, my travel expenses are deductible. What’s to complain?