On and before June 11th: Going from Hectic to relaxed

It's not easy to pack your life into storage for a couple of months. It takes many trips in a Ford Explorer Finally the storage space is crammed full, and it's time to go. Even if your boss wants to make you work up until the very last minute, you can't help but realize that you're about to do something that not very many people will ever get the chance to do. That's way Ro is smiling on Wednesday, june 10th, just before he left work for the last time before we left. I had quit my job at JPL on Friday June 5th, in order to get enough time to pack the house!!

Why are we doing the 1998 GTE Big Ride Across America?? Well, lots of reasons really -- read the preceding page. However, no small part is to avoid the LA traffic . Luckily, I had lived 2 miles from JPL, but Ro was working in Irvine, and while he mostly took the train down, sometimes he had to drive. He always complains about stupid drivers when he gets back, too.

We arrived at the train station a bit later than we wanted to -- Jen is freaking out, predictably -- although at first the proposition of the bikes coming up to seattle on tomorrow's train isn't that bad of a thought (we got there 40 minutes before the train leaves, and still had to box the bikes!). However, the really really nice baggage people had someone there who grabbed the bikes almost before the last piece of tape was on the box, and whisked them off to the Coast Starlight Express train -- they may have even arrived just before we did. We zoomed out to the tracks, and managed to board the train 10 minutes before departure. whew! Jen stopped stressing at that point.

We were greeted by our sleeper-car attendant, Paula, who with a smile and utter calm directed us to our "room", at which point I really began to realize that we're actually underway -- all packed up and pretty much homeless and unemployed -- on our trip! We then meet the entertainment coordinator, , Susie Sunshine. Well, if that's not her real name, her name tag doesn't show it. Lunch was in the dining car, shown here, followed by games and wine-and-cheese tasting in the Parlor (open to those of us who splurged and bought sleeper-car tickets -- something I didn't do on my september, 1996 trip! Tres nice. Most of Thursday has been spent in the Parlor, actually -- more room than in the cabin -- reading and talking with other passengers, or playing with Ro's Avigo. And testing out the digital camera! We got a whole bunch of scenery shots while the train was near the coastline between Santa Barbara and Vandenburg AFB:

Back to Index