Sunset Limited

The Pere Marquette train and I go way back, and it’s a history of strife and frustration. I hate to speak ill of any train, but it cannot be avoided. When I was tens years old, a trip on this route from Grand Rapids to Chicago took over nine hours, three times the necessary length, because of some minor electrical problem that forced us to crawl along at about 2 mph the entire way.

This time the delay leaving Union Station in Chicago was only 45 minutes, and I expect we’ll make up the time along the way, but this train still has its irking ways. For one thing, I’m facing backwards. The view out the window is quite poor and instead I have a front seat view of the necking teenagers across the aisle. Also, the snack car supposedly does not have hot water, which means microwaved cheeseburgers are the alternative to the udon soup I brought along to make.

The real reason for my peevishness, however, is that I’m two hours from home. Two hours from the end of my last summer as a student. Two hours from The Future. Expect little blogging in the coming months.

Vacation was marvelous. I’m grateful for: seeing an old friend after too much life lived at a distance; getting to know my terrific future brother-in-law; the many meals shared, tides avoided, wines tasted, vegetables picked, fairs attended, and talks had with all of my family along the way. I’ve written a lot about the traveling itself, but in my mind the train memories are only frames around the real stuff. Thanks to all of you for putting me up and putting up with me. Hope to see you again soon.

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