All posts for the month March, 2014

Yesterday we arrived to New Orleans at 9:00 pm, and to our Holiday Inn at 10:00 pm. After that we ate some food at our hotel , then went up for some well deserved rest. The next morning, we readied ourselves to have a good day, and see some of New Orleans. We went to the French Quarter, then took a taxi down Bourbon Street; we saw a lot of interesting restaurants and stores. We were on a tight schedule, so we had to hurry and get to the train station. We ate at Subway in the train station because it was the only breakfast restaurant there. After that we rushed out to catch our train. When we boarded our train bound for home, I asked my grandma, “Are you ready to go home?” She said she could do this for 3 more weeks! I know she was ready to go home to rest up and see her family though.

Now we were back on the Sunset Limited, which was the first train that we went on to Los Angeles in sleeper cars. A couple of days before, our same crew that we originally met on the first leg of the train trip already departed two days before we got on. We thought we were going to see them again, but we did not. I wish they would have been with us so we could have continued the last part of our adventure together. It would have been nice to have seen them again as we wrapped up our journey.

We have had a good time, and we hope to have many more adventures because we have seen everything from clear blue skies to snow storms, and everything in between. We really have had a lot of fun – especially me because I was with my great grandma and great-great aunt and this is a moment I can cherish and remember forever. If someone asked me to describe my grandma and aunt, it would be fun and patient. They never were really down when we had been left behind or we missed something, they were just patient and tried to make the best of a bad situation – always trying to find the silver lining.

For putting this whole trip together, I want to thank my mom who stuck with us even when she was about to explode, or when she was absolutely done with the other passengers on the train. She never ran off and get lost. Congrats to my mom for getting through this. This was really fun so I want to go on more train adventures and ride around the country. Not when I am older though, because I will fly myself around because I want to be a pilot when I am old enough.

Thanks for reading about this adventure. Stay tuned for the next one!

Mom’s Blog

We arrived in Atlanta about an hour early. We called the Holiday Inn and they said they could come pick us up, but it turned out that he was at the wrong one but then he came over to pick us up and he was really mad because we were .1 miles out of his “driving zone”. The hotel was 2.1 miles away and he could only go 2.0 miles. After that bad moment we just shrugged it off and we walked on to the Coca Cola museum ready to go on a exciting adventure! We paid and went in they finally let us in after 1o minutes and we eagerly went on in we saw the new commercial with talking polar bears! After that we went around and did all of the tours then went to the taste testing room with 65 flavors and me and my mom tried them all after that we felt like we were going to puke. Then we went to the aquarium and saw the dolphin show and it was pretty cool. Then we saw a creepy place in the Aquarium where there were things that were really deep down in the ocean. Then after that we went to the hotel to go to sleep.

On this day we got to Washington DC Union station on time and got to the hotel at 5:00 and I was feeling really bad and nauseous. All we did that day was rest because I felt really bad and had stomach cramps. Yesterday we rode around on the bus tours and took some pictures of Washington DC but when we supposed to go back to the hotel our bus left us in a random place and not by our hotel. My mom was really mad because it was really cold and they left my Grandma My Great Aunt my Mom and Me in the middle of the city and we ad to walk a mile. Okay it would have been fine for me and my mom to walk a mile but not for my 80 year old grandma. The Big Bus tours we went on they did not care because they just dropped us off but we did not like them so next time we will go on a different tour bus. Also we just found out there is a very bad snow storm had hit Philadelphia and canceled our trip from New York to Philadelphia so all we did was just canceled our trip to New York and said we were just going to go straight to Washington DC.

Yesterday we rode through upstate New York and arrived in Boston. Today we first started off going on the Freedom Trail. It was created by the Chamber of Commerce as a self-guided tour. The real adventure started when we went to a tour place and bought tickets. On the tour we actually did not follow the Freedom Trail, but a different route around Boston. The tour was only 10 dollars, but we gave him a big tip. Our guide was so good at explaining all of the history. We had a great time, and it was quite the learning experience. But aside from that we went to Faneuil hall, a famous meeting place now used as a shopping center, and a lot of presidents gave speeches there. Those were the highlights from today!

Today we woke up from some well deserved rest and and had really good breakfast. After we ate we packed up and rode off to the train station to get ready for the train to get there. As we said our goodbyes, we hopped on the train to go to Grand Junction to Chicago a.k.a The Windy City. On this part of the trip we will not be in sleeper cars just in coach (seats). We will get there about 2:30 PM. I will write when we get there.

Okay so we have arrived in Chicago and are about to go to the trolley tours and take a trolley around Chicago but they said “The guy might leave you somewhere and not bring you back.” So we are not going on the tours because we might be left in the middle of a town we have never even seen before! He also said “You will just have to call the manager if he does or not” and we told him that we don’t want to risk it so we went to the Spy deck a.k.a Willis Tower. It was fun because we got to go to the Ledge and look down it was definitely scary because if you look down you feel like you are falling of a cliff!  If you look up you feel like a giant. It was definitely worth 40 dollars. During this day I had a really good panini that was ham and swiss cheese and my Mom ate a Chicago hotdog. My grandma ate the same as me. But that was today see you tomorrow.

Today we arrived in Grand Junction, Colorado at about 12:00. We are spending the night with family tonight  in actual beds! We are going to rest and visit a bunch of our family members. We are seeing my great great aunt and uncles house for the first time.

I wrote that yesterday right before I passed out at 8pm! I slept really well, and was up and ready to get back on the train this morning. We had eaten so really good food there. They cooked roast (which was really good), eggs, and yummy bacon. I also got a Colorado shirt which was really cool, but there was no snow. I was wanting to go play in snow, but it all melted before I got there. Just my luck – it snowed right after we left their house. That was the day I got really mad because we missed the snow and were so close to seeing snow for the first time. During this trip I have done many firsts and that’s why I like this train trip across America so much. Going through Colorado there have been lots and lots of mountains that looked really cool. And it has been a really fun day today!

Day 3

Today we arrived at 5:00 a.m. on time to find ourselves in Los Angeles Union station. Once we got off the train we went down to the baggage storage area to put our stuff up so we could go see the Hollywood sign. It did not exactly go as we had planned – just let me tell you about this little adventure. It went something like this: We wandered around the train station for about a half hour then finally figured out how to get on the subway. We did not know were to go so we just hopped on a train then waited till what we thought was our stop. When we approached the stop, we forgot to get off so at the next stop we got off then got on another subway which only stayed in a spot for about twenty seconds. We got on it, but not my grandma and her sister… they were just walking along peacefully when the doors shut! My mom instinctively put her arm through it, but it did not open and she was stuck! After a while they opened the door and my grandma and aunt got in. Then we just went back to the train station and said “we’re done.” After that we went and walked around for a bit and then went to wait for our train the (Coast Starlight). As we were leaving Los Angeles we saw all kinds of farms including giant fields of strawberries. All day long we traveled up the California coast seeing the Pacific ocean, beautiful beaches, going through mountains, and even a few caves! All was happy and good well for me anyway. That night we arrived in Emeryville California which is close to San Francisco. Our hotel was really awesome, and we were able to get a really good night of sleep.

Here’s an overview of our whole 15-day trip around America on my mom’s blog page.

Days 1 & 2 : The first day we hopped in my dad’s truck and headed off to the train station in Houston. My uncle, grandma, great, grandma, and my great aunt all met us there. We said goodbye and me, my mom, great-grandma, and great-great-aunt all boarded the train. When the conductor called “All Aboard!” I helped my grandma get her things into the train so we could sit down. We sat in there for about an hour until the train moved. During that time I enjoyed figuring out how to use all the buttons, and learned all the tricks of the train. Next after that we headed to the dining car for some food. The food was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.

These two days we will travel from Houston to Los Angeles. We are sleeping in the sleeper car in roomettes on the Amtrak Sunset Limited. So far it has been a good trip, but you never know what lies ahead. Who knows we could run into a blizzard, or a train delay. So far it is great and I’m having a bunch of fun! The roomette we are staying in has seats which turn into bunk beds at night. The beds look good, and are really actually kind-of comfortable. I think this is going to be an awesome trip. (I might be a little crazy with anticipation.) The train was more than I expected. It is a two-story train, and has up to about ten cars each train. I cant wait till we get to New York. It is going to be awesome, along with Washington DC.

We learned a lot about the history of the towns we passed from the Amtrak Sunset Limited podcasts. We loaded them up before we left so we could listen to them as we passed through the towns. They are full of information about history, geography, animals, and a lot of other stuff. Here’s where you can download them. 

The first two days we went through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Tomorrow morning we will wake up in California! Here are some pictures from the first two days.