July, Part 1.

July has been a whirlwind of travel for us as we’ve trekked over 3,000 miles covering Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York (and of course Illinois).

Faith has long had a yen to take the Amtrak on an overnight, multi-state adventure and visiting her family in upstate New York proved to be just the ticket (no pun intended). She is a talented travel agent and everything went off without a hitch. The most tricky part of the trip was actually leaving the house. By which I mean getting all five of us (baby included) down to the Metra Station (only 1 mile from our front door) without leaving our van in one day parking. Hint: the solution involved both the van and Lyft.

Ready to catch the Metra for downtown and Union Station.
At Union Station, waiting to board the 11pm Lakeshore Limited for New York.
We were not dissuaded from our New York plans by the North Dakota Department of Tourism’s display at Union Station.

Out train was nearly two hours late leaving Union Station and the kids were a bit weary of waiting, but not weary enough to fall asleep. Their excitement about the trip had been building for weeks and sitting on a non-moving train for nearly two hours did little to damped their enthusiasm. If anything, it increased it to a nearly unmanageable degree. The train departed just as they were approaching peak travel fever…

Cate has changed into her PJs and is ready to travel.
Clara, the mature almost-first grader, keeps her excitement a bit more under wraps.

We finally go underway around midnight and spend a restful restless night headed to our final destination.

Charlotte was mesmerized by the landscape as we zipped across northern Ohio.
A late night snack in the train’s Café.

After more than 24 hours of travel we arrived at my mother-in-law’s house on Friday afternoon and spent a pleasant Saturday with family. On Sunday, we loaded up our rental car and headed west. More specifically, we headed back toward the Great Lakes to visit Faith’s grandmother Joy near Lake Ontario. Joy is a delightful and spry lady of 83 and Faith and I are grateful the girls were able spend some time with their great-grandmother. She loves art (we share a passion for the work of Andrew Wyeth) and expresses her skills in quilting.

One of my favorites, the pinwheel quilt.
Other of Joy’s creations.

On Monday is was time to head east, back to Albany.

Charlotte eagerly anticipates her first New York bagel.

On Thursday it was time to head south to catch up with some of my wife’s college friends for a terrific 4th of July get-together in the Catskills, just south of the Schoharie Valley.

I forgot to get any pictures while we were in the Catskills, but here’s one from Kevin Kenny.

Before we knew it, Friday had rolled around and it was time to head west and home.

Chicago skyline as we near Union Station.

We arrived back home on Saturday afternoon and began preparations to head north. But, more about that next time.

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