I’d like to thank Tom Vanden Eynden, one of the tour members, for his generosity in having me share a sleeper room. Tom was one of the best liked members of our trip and I can certainly vouch for what a good guy he is.
We boarded a bus (the train was so late leaving Eugene, they bused up to Portland to catch the Empire Builder) , 1 p.m. on Monday and arrived in Toledo early Thursday morning (1 a.m. ish). That’s a long time to traverse the country, but, oh my, what a civilized way to travel! No arriving two hours before departure, no going through security, totally friendly and accommodating staff on the train (our car had its own porter who saw to our needs, made up our beds, etc.), excellent food, a congenial atmosphere on the train where you could get to know other passengers, and spectacular scenery you can view from the observation car.
Our room was not large, but comfortable . . . and made into two bunk beds (top bunk required a bit of gymnastics to get into and out of).
One of the best parts of the trip was the people we got to know while eating. Seating is at tables of four for meals, so we had another couple at our table.
To give you an idea of the people we met, one person, after working as a commercial real estate broker, decided to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and then climbed Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina (highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere). He hadn’t done anything like this and just decided it was something he wanted to try in his retirement. He climbed Mt. Aconcagua in his early 70s.
Another couple raised bees and gave us an education into the intricacies of these amazing insects.
Another couple were avid bicyclers and we had fun comparing notes on our various trips.
We also met three high school girls who were headed to a Harry Potter convention in Chicago (2,000 attendees). One of them also makes Harry Potter magic wands.
There was lots of time to read, eat great meals, chat with others in the observation car, nap, and watch the wonderful scenery.
All in all, the bike tour was the trip of a lifetime. As Tom pointed out, it was like a job, where each day’s responsibilities were just to ride your bike.
If anyone has any questions about the trip, please don’t hesitate to contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org