My Around-the-Country Train Trip Completed

It’s Sunday night and the Coast Starlight, with me aboard, arrived in Los Angeles a scant 10-12 minutes late. And with that arrival, I have completed my circumnavigation of the U.S. by train: Los Angeles-New Orleans-Washington-Boston Chicago-Seattle-Los Angeles … all by Amtrak. On balance, a very enjoyable journey, two bus rides notwithstanding.

As always, the passing scenery and conversations with interesting people met over meals in the dining car provided the high spots of the trip. One of the more memorable conversations was with a woman from the LA area who went on at great length about her travels around both the U.S. and Europe. I was impressed with her stories of how much she enjoyed this city and that, this famous attraction and that … until she raved about visiting the Bastille in Paris. One small problem: The Bastille was demolished in 1789.

I did meet and chat with quite a number of very nice and very interesting people, however. One lady, traveling with her two teenage kids, turned out to be the ex-sister-in-law of a businessman I know in Honolulu. Furthermore, after we got over that coincidence, she mentioned that she lives on one of the islands off shore from Seattle. Huh?? My sister and her husband have just bought property on that very same island. The funny thing is that I have had similar experiences on almost every train trip I’ve ever taken.

Tomorrow morning I hop one of Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner trains to San Diego – a very nice 3-hour ride, much of it a stone’s throw from the beach along the southern California coast – where I will get together and dine with my two older kids and my other granddaughter. Good fun!

Then, Tuesday morning, it’s Hawaiian Airlines non-stop from San Diego to Maui. As always, it will be very good to get home. I took quite a number of photos all along the way and will post many of them along with a concise account of the trip as soon as I can.