Friday, May 31, 2013

Railway Adventures


I grew up listening to the train whistle in Tulsa. Many years ago I read Paul Theroux's Riding the Iron Rooster, a wonderful travel novel about riding the train through China. His journey fascinated me. Later, Marsha and I enjoyed several weeks of riding the trains throughout Britain. Most recently, one of my favorite LETU memories is taking the bullet train out of Seoul, Korea, with former professor Kyun Lee.

Train travel has always interested me and that's why I think Longview's Amtrak stop is a wonderful asset.

This weekend was a treat. Marsha and I took the Texas Eagle from Longview to Chicago and back. We hear the train whistles daily from our house, but this was the first opportunity we had to "ride the rails" out of Longview. It's a great adventure that I recommend.

When on time, the Texas Eagle departs Longview at 6:15 p.m. and arrives in Chicago at 2 p.m. the next afternoon. However, the Eagle seems rarely on time. The train is for those who have decided they are not in a hurry. I enjoyed this "not in a hurry" attitude. From Longview, I was surprised at the beautifully restored train depot in Marshall, impressed with the inspiring gateway arch monument in St. Louis, surprised with Abe Lincoln's Springfield and awed at Chicago's downtown skyline.

Take the Eagle home from Chicago and arrive in Longview the next morning. The train then continues west to Ft. Worth, then south to San Antonio, and then west again to El Paso, Tucson, and finally, Los Angeles.

I downloaded podcasts that gave a brief, but interesting, history lesson for many places along the route. The Texas Eagle route is home to the birthplace of several U.S. presidents, as well as following much of the path of the old Route 66.

Best of all about my train adventure over the weekend? Marsha and I had much time to just sit and talk and focus on each other and celebrate our 28 years of marriage.

Soon we will be back to air travel as we have plans to visit Connecticut for an LETU reception hosted by LETU friends Jim and Marjie Brake. We also plan a visit soon with the LeTourneau Nation in Alaska.

Thanks to those of you who asked about our family following the devastating tornado in Moore, Okla., last week. All are safe, and we are again proud of that self-reliant Oklahoma spirit on display for the world to see.