We sat in an observation car as opposed to the smoking car. Here's a picture M took of the smoking car.
Here's some of our fellow travelers getting a snack. Included in a first class ticket is a drink and a cookie.
And here's a view of the engine in back and the brakeman.
My almost-favorite part of the ride was when I stepped outside to get a better look at the engine and feel the wind and see the trees and feel the outsideness. I liked standing in silence with the brakeman and my crew member chaperone (we were only allowed out with supervision), feeling the movement of the train, appreciating the situation. I liked when the train horn blew though it was so loud my chaperone covered his ears.
I loved this train ride because I liked sharing a new experience with M, and it was interesting how the kids interacted, and I liked the opulence. I liked the views and the information. But the thing that impressed me most was that the crew was entirely volunteers.
And my very favorite moment other than sitting on the couch with M was when we were detraining and two crew members stood at either side of the stairs telling us to watch our steps, and they held out their hands for us, and I took the stranger's hand and felt love / loved.
Oh, oh, oh--I also wanted to say that we took the noon train, and because it was Memorial Day, they had a moment of silence. I absolutely love moments of silence though it would be hard for me to explain why. I know they seem like interfaith prayer, which I like, but that's not quite it. Maybe moments of silence remind me of performance art? There's something experimental about them? I like it when people go into a different than usual mode. I like something different. And I like respect, paying respect, honoring someone, pausing.
I guess I just like silence. It's one of my favorite parts of phone calls. I like to say that silence can get good work done. Kind of like watering M's garden. You don't have to talk to water the garden, or pull a weed, or plant a seed, and in that silence, something wonderful can happen.