Thursday, August 27, 2015

Beginning September 26, 2015: TRAINS, Cowboy Poets, TRAINS, Pike Place Market, and MORE TRAINS!

Beginning September 26, 2015: a seven-train, eight-part rail trip west from Boston to Los Angeles; north from Los Angeles to Seattle; east from Seattle to Boston; with exciting off-rail adventures in Albuquerque, NM - Durango, CO - Cortez, CO - Seattle, WA.

Part 1:  Northeast Regional (Southbound) BOS-NYP

Boston - Providence / Springfield - Hartford - New York (Continuing service to Washington, DC - Lynchburg / Richmond - Petersburg - Norfolk / Newport News - Virginia Beach)

Part 2:  Cardinal (Westbound) NYP-CHI

New York - Washington, DC - Cincinnati - Indianapolis - Chicago

Part 3:  Southwest Chief (Westbound) CHI-ABQ

Southwest Chief
Chicago - Albuquerque (with continuing service to Los Angeles)

Off-Rail Adventures in NM and CO:
Follow our blog at to visit the Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm in Albuquerque. Travel with us by car to the Durango Cowboy Poet Gathering 2015 in Durango, CO where we will stay at the historic Strater Hotel. During the Gathering, join us on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for two train rides and enjoy many other festivities with the Cowboy Poets. Afterward, come along on a road trip from Durango to Cortez and explore Mesa Verde National Park from our home base at the Sundance Bear Lodge in Cortez, CO, before returning with us to Albuquerque.

Part 4:  Southwest Chief (Westbound) ABQ-LAX

Southwest Chief
Albuquerque - Los Angeles

Part 5:  Coast Starlight (Northbound) LAX-SEA

Los Angeles - Portland - Seattle

More Off-Rail Adventures:
Follow our blog at for a two-night stopover in Seattle, WA in the Inn at the Market and a trip to colorful Pike Place Market.

Part 6:  Empire Builder (Eastbound) SEA-CHI

Portland/Seattle - Spokane - St. Paul/Minneapolis - Milwaukee -Chicago

Part 7: Capitol Limited (Eastbound) CHI-WAS

Capitol Limited
Washington, DC - Pittsburgh - Cleveland - Chicago

Part 8: Acela Express (Northbound) WAS-BOS

Acela Express
Washington, DC - New York - Boston

Note: Train-specific route maps and route information in this post courtesy of Amtrak.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Note About Newsfeed

Photo: 23 days on the road, 16 days touring in the rain, and still smiling.

Here's how Newsfeed works when John and I are on the road:

I post to Newsfeed during travel, using an iPhone and whatever wi-fi I can find.

When I return home:

I group posts by trip, e.g., "Rick Steves' Ireland in 14 Days."

For each trip, I:

(1) Complete the narrative, captions, and commentary;

(2) Add external links, as desired (this requires a laptop computer);

(3) Review and edit all photos and text; and finally,

(4) Move the finished product to a permanent blogspot.

The Rick Steves trip from August newsfeed will be completed and moved to

The Coopersmith's tour will reside at

When a new blogspot is completed, i.e., content is no longer undergoing modification, I post a link to it in this Newsfeed.

Newsfeed in September, October:
All Aboard for More Amtrak Adventures, A Cowboy Poets' Gathering in Durango, A Stopover in Seattle, and Lots More Trains

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Day Fourteen: Dublin to London

We took a cab from Buswell's to Heathrow around quarter to twelve (noon) and arrived 25 minutes later thanks to a good driver and very light traffic mid-day on a Saturday.

After checking our bags with Aer Lingus in less than fifteen minutes and breezing through Security even faster, we waited for our flight outside the Jameson shop where they were serving free samples of Jameson's newest whiskey, Caskmaker, aged an extra six months in casks used previously for Guinness. Caskmaker is only available in Ireland right now, but it may be coming to the U.S. as early as October, according to the Jameson representative.

I commented to John how much quieter it is in Dublin's airport terminal than in Boston Logan's and other U.S. terminals. Why? First, there are very few announcements, and when you hear them they are spoken calmly and in a quiet voice; second, people are not talking on cell phones constantly; in fact, I didn't notice very many cell phones in use anywhere during our travels; and third, children are well-tended and well-mannered as a rule. What a differece that makes!

Our Aer Lingus flight boarded with the same ease and efficiency as the previous one, but I was disappointed to find I had not booked our seats in an exit row. On an Airbus 319, this is a bad mistake. John and I had aisle-aisle seats, but I had the misfortune of sitting next to two young men with terrible colds. The one in the middle seat, kissing-close to me, spent the entire hour-long flight sniffling, snarfing, coughing, wiping his nose with the back of his hand - and on his sleeve - biting his nails, and talking to his friend. It was airplane hell. Honestly, the guy was the most disgusting seat-mate ever.

John was crushed into a seat too small for anyone over 5'8".

Remember the Airbus 319. Avoid it if you can.

Seats are ridiculously close together.

There is hardly any padding on the cushion.

There is even less padding on the seat back - and virtually none for the lower back.

These are the worst airplane seats ever! If I did not have the "Cold One" to flatten and firm the seat bottom and "Bucky" (the bear filled with buckwheat hulls) to provide lumbar support, an hour on the Airbus 319 would have caused lasting back pain.

By the way, I found another use for the "Cold One." It makes a strong sling to hold my backpack to the suitcase handle.

We landed in Heathrow after a delay due to air traffic. I hope I didn't catch what the guy next to me had, but how could I avoid it?  Guess I'll know in a few days. Eeeyuk! Next time I travel overseas, it will be by sea. Seriously.

Day Thirteen: Return to Dublin

Note: Apologies for sparse to no narrative. Time and wi-fi constrains are more than I can overcome given the fast pace of our tour, but stories will be added after we get home. In the meantime, hope you will enjoy the photos.