Day 1: September 29, 2015--Los Angeles to Williams Junction, AZ

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Two years ago today, my wife Lila and I set off on a nearly-month-long train trip across the U.S. Along the way we would experience an inkling of the country's grandeur, immerse ourselves in some of its history and literature, and meet or re-meet friends and family.

I'm going to try to blog this in "real time," albeit two years later (and I'm already behind! Will catch up soon for sure.)

Join us. All aboard!

Day 2: September 30, 2015--Grand Canyon

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This was our first real day on the road--and a grand day it was. (I seem to recall us using that adjective a lot that day.) It included--you guessed it!--the Grand Canyon, and a taste of quaint little Williams, Arizona.

Day 3: October 1, 2015--Williams Junction, AZ, to Santa Fe, NM

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Eight hours on the train (arriving in Albuquerque before noon), a pleasant stopover there that included the Old Town Plaza and meeting a new/old friend, and a commuter train to our very comfortable digs in Santa Fe. Another great day.

Day 4: October 2, 2015--Santa Fe, NM

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Click the map to enlarge. It's a little roughly assembled, as I scanned
it in sections. Numbers are referred to in the text and Gallery.
(Click to enlarge, then click again to enhuge)
What a day! Wandering on foot (mostly) through one of my favorite places on the planet, with the person I love the most. What could be better?

Days 5 and 6: October 3 and 4, 2015--Albuquerque, NM, to Chicago, IL

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In contrast to yesterday's Post and Gallery, today's will be short. Er. Shorter.

We left Santa Fe to catch an early balloon ascension on the way to Albuquerque, where we caught a late train to Chicago--arriving in the wee hours of Monday morning, nine hours later than expected.

Day 7: October 5, 2015--Chicago, IL, to Boston, MA

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We left Chicago at 9:30 Monday night, Oct. 5; changed trains at Albany (Rensselaer)
around 3:00 PM Tuesday; and reached Boston at 8:00 that evening.

A great day around Chicago: first, breakfast and lunch with our dear friend (and my Best Man) Alan Rosenfield, who put us up at the University Club last night; then visits to two world-class museums, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum of Natural History; and finally, jumping on another overnight train, this one bound for Boston.

Day 8: October 6, 2015--Arrival in Boston, MA

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We left Chicago at 9:30 Monday night, Oct. 5; changed trains at Albany (Rensselaer)
around 3:00 PM Tuesday; and reached Boston at 8:00 that evening.

Short and sweet--I swear! Just rolling across the countryside from Chicago to Boston, changing trains (and thus using up an extra "leg") at Albany/Rensselaer, checking into our Boston digs, and getting a slice.

Day 9: October 7, 2015--Boston, MA

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Click to enlarge; click again to enyuge.
Red Star 1: We started the Freedom Trail.
Red Star 2: Our guide dumped us.
Red Star 3: We kept going to about here.

All we did today was walk around Boston, partly with an organized tour. But we saw a lot!

Day 10: October 8, 2015--Concord, MA

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The Fitchburg Line to Concord.
(click to enlarge)

This morning we returned to the Orange Line that brought us home last night, this time going one stop past Haymarket to North Station. There we transferred to the Fitchburg Line--a commuter train--out to Concord. We would visit homes and graves of illustrious writers; see where the Revolutionary War started; and soak up the thrills of a deciduous forest in autumn.

Incidentally, the Gallery page has a street map of all the sites mentioned below.

Day 11: October 9, 2015--Boston, MA, to New York City

I believe that right about now, travel fatigue struck. What's my evidence?

Having left Boston (dang, we hated to leave) at 8:21 AM, we arrived in New York City at 12:20 with four (count 'em! Four!) devices for taking pictures: a camera and a phone for each of us.

And three of the four have nothing in them for that day! The fourth device--my phone, had one blurry shot from a train window, and two interiors of our room in Pod 51 Hotel (a pretty cool place, actually).

Day 12: October 10, 2015--New York City to Hartford, CT

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Ambling around Midtown Manhattan (Click to enlarge)

Today we took a sort of "amble" through Midtown Manhattan (I'm sure Thoreau would have approved of the "amble" part; I'm not so sure about the location) and then boarded a train for Hartford, Connecticut.

Day 13: October 11, 2015--Mark Twain House, Hartford, CT

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Let this serve for yesterday's train trip, too; Legs 7 and 8, a round trip.

Unlike yesterday, today had a single focus: the Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT, followed by our return trip to the Pod 51 in New York City.

Day 14: October 12, 2015--The Statue of Liberty, NYC

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It is my sincerest hope that soon I will post a
map of the day's wanderings; please be patient!

We spent another day in Manhattan--mostly: although we did manage to get off the island, we never actually lost sight of it. We had but two major goals today: To see an old lady that we'd only seen in pictures, and to meet an old friend for dinner.

Day 15: October 13, 2015--New York City to Philadelphia, PA

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We took a short train ride from NYC to Philadelphia today, where we saw two sights: Independence Hall, and the Liberty Bell. We also caught just a whiff of Mr. Franklin; if I'm every in the City of Brotherly Love again, I'll go to his old homesite for sure.

Day 16: October 14, 2015--Philadelphia, PA, to Washington, DC

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Out to of Philadelphia to our first night in Washington, D.C., with evening visits to Messrs Lincoln and Jefferson.

Day 17: October 15, 2015--Monticello, VA

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Today we took a Greyhound Bus to Charlottesville (yes, that Charlottesville) to visit Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. (Official site)

Not much happened, really. Just the fulfillment of a life-long dream.

Day 18: October 16, 2015--Ford's Theater and Mount Vernon

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A free ticket!

Yesterday, we visited Mr. Jefferson (#3). Today we saw where Mr. Washington (#1) lived, and where Mr. Lincoln (#16) died. It's been a Presidential couple of days. Unlike yesterday's trek, we didn't have to do anything extraordinary to get to Washington's house; he lives on the Metro D.C. subway (more or less).

Day 19: October 17, 2015--Washington, DC, to Atlanta, GA

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A recognizable residence

We saw a ton of stuff today--mostly on the outside--as we walked around downtown D.C., "Our Nation's Capital." And also a cathedral, and an old friend. Also, remember a few days ago, when I said that The Joud staff had "saved my bacon," however reluctantly? That happened today.

Day 20: October 18, 2015--With Family near Atlanta, GA

Very little to say about today--and SO much to be grateful for. The pictures below are worth thousands of words.

Day 21: October 19, 2015--Atlanta, GA, to New Orleans, LA

We spent the entire day--8:38 AM to 7:32 PM, according to the schedule--in the train, the last "leg" on our 12-leg Rail Pass. (Then, how did you get home? Stay tuned.) So this will be another minimal post.

Day 22: October 20, 2015--NOLA: French Quarter 1

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St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square (Photo by Lila)

A great, easy-going day strolling around the heart of New Orleans--and missing out on seeing a cousin at the end.

Day 23: October 21, 2015--NOLA: French Quarter 2

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They don't call it "The Big Easy" for nuthin'. (Photo by Lila--but concept by James!)

Today was another wand'ring day, with a couple of interesting high points. One of them was a laundromat (seriously?) and we took one step closer to meeting Cousin Wayne.

Day 24: October 22, 2015--NOLA: Cousin Wayne, Longue Vue House, and the McClains

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Me, Lila, Wayne, and Rudy.

From my Facebook post for October 22, 2015: Another fine day in my grandpa's hometown [New Orleans]. Finally met cousin Wayne (on the third try); went out to Longue Vue mansion; met up with the McClains; returned to Juan's Flying Burrito (ay yay yay); and ended up at Preservation Hall, to be transported by some traditional jazz.

Day 25: October 23, 2015--NOLA with the McClains

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Despite owning multiple capture devices, none of us captured the boat itself. This will have to do.

After Jackson Square and jazz, what does one do in New Orleans? Why, take the steamboat and visit a cemetery, of course!

Day 26: October 24, 2015--Flight to LA

Goodbye, Hello. Farewell to the McClains; Howdy-Do, a splendid lunch, and a trip to the airport with Paul and Trang, old friends from my days of teaching in Japan. Then we flew back to L.A.