Monday, July 09, 2007

The Final Chapter – July 8, 2007

SpongeBob Squarepants enjoying the ride on the Lake Shore Limited
I slept like the proverbial log last night at Bob’s. It was much warmer and more humid from what I have been sleeping in for the past two weeks, but I was so tired I think I could have slept through a nuclear attack.

I came out of a deep sleep at 9:55 am and climbed out of bed at 10:00. I still have my Amtrak legs, but they do not seem as bad as the day I arrived in Portland. I think my vestibular system is so overloaded it has closed down completely.

We have a leisurely morning of breakfast and conversation and then I load the car and head the last 80 miles to Augusta.

I’ve started the process of reviewing the hundreds of photos and video images that I collected on the last leg of the journey and many of them are great. I learned a few things about how to take better pictures after reviewing the set from the westbound leg, so I hope that I have more keepers in this set. One thing I also learned was that trying to take “stills” at 80 mph in a moving train is just about impossible, particularly when there is stuff moving in the foreground. It was okay for the long landscapes out in the prairies, but once we were back in the lands of trees, I stuck primarily with videos.

So, I will have to edit the videos and link some together and start posting them in chronological segments on YouTube. Stay tuned!

As for final reflections, I think I will try to decompress a bit more and then provide a post script. My head is still literally spinning, so I think I need some time to readjust and reflect.

The question most asked so far – and I expect to be asked many times in the days ahead – is whether I would do it again. And I don’t have a clear answer yet.
Perhaps the most positive part of the return voyage was a perception of time moving quickly. In fact, the last two days flew by and even the long stretches of flat countryside seemed to be flashing past more quickly. It could be the fact that I was “moving against the sun” on the return and kept losing time as we changed time zones. But maybe it is just that familiar perception of time moving too quickly when you don’t want something to end. We’ll sort that out and have sometime more to say soon.

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