Taking Stock Part Four

Part Four of our Taking Stock Blog gives you a peek at the weddings of our twins Krissi and Kenny, and a look at traveling across our country on a train. Welcome aboard!

WEDDINGS – When I retired in January of 2016, only our oldest son Bill was married. Now, six years later, we find ourselves with 3 married children. On October 13th, 2018, in Lake Tahoe, California, Kenny and Chris became one! It was a wonderful outdoor “do-it-yourself” wedding at the Tahoe Vistana Resort. A “destination” wedding in a beautiful spot, overlooking the waters of Lake Tahoe, surrounded by lots of friends and family…what could be better? We were also happy to be in Chris’ hometown of Reno for most of the week before, sharing wedding duties with Chris’ family, and getting to really know so many wonderful members of our Fox Family!! With everybody pitching in, there were multiple trips to Costco (we were those folks you always wonder about at Costco buying everything in sight), several party stores, and everything else you can think of (do it yourself). The week leading up to the grand event was a series of parties and get-togethers in Reno, and the time just got more special as more family and friends arrived in town. The actual three day wedding event on Lake Tahoe was perfect, and exactly what the boys wanted their wedding to be! It was the best!

On June 15th, 2019, Kenny’s twin sister Krissi and her fiancé Mike, joined the group and became Mr. and Mrs. Mickowicz! Our twins were born 2 minutes apart, married 8 months apart, and now our circle of married children was complete! Krissi and Mike lived in Astoria, New York (at one point, all 3 of our kids lived in Astoria) and decided that they wanted their wedding to be a local event. Towards that end, Mike’s Family traveled up from Maryland, and Susie and I (with brother Kenny in tow, on leave from a cruise contract) traveled to an interesting old school hotel called The Paper Factory in Long Island City (it was indeed a paper factory in a former life). On Friday night, we had a wonderful family dinner gathering at a close Mexican restaurant with Mike’s immediate family. Mom and Dad Paula and Jerry, sister Sara and her husband Gabe and their kids Maddy and Ethan, and Krissi’s family, including, besides us, older brother Bill, wife Lori and their kids Layla, Henry, and baby Annabelle, and twin brother Kenny! The only one missing was new brother-in-law Chris who could not join his husband Kenny because of their cruise contract. The next day, on the roof of their Astoria apartment building, surrounded by immediate family, and with the Manhattan skyline as the back drop, they exchanged vows and became a married couple. Then it was time to party, and it was off to a local Wine Bar that had been one of their first date spots, where they were joined by additional family and friends! It was an incredible celebration of their marriage, and exactly what Krissi and Mike wanted!

TRAIN TRAVEL – Back in the 1950s, the Metropolitan Opera’s yearly Spring Tour around the country went by train. When I was a little kid, there were a couple of years that I went with my folks on the tour. There were short trips (like New York to Boston) and longer trips (like Boston to Cleveland), so they traveled in both coach and sleeper accommodations. In addition, my Mom’s Mom and Dad lived in Chicago, and while today we’d just hop on a plane or in the car to get there, back in the day, we used the New York Central’s 20th Century Limited to make the trip. It had ben a long time, but I had done train travel, Susie had not. Because of the way the allure of rail travel has been portrayed in movies, like Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, or the movie Silver Streak, or even the James Bond movie Live and Let Die, Susie has always wanted to take an overnight train. She’s been jealous of the memories I have, and wanted her own, and to check off another Bucket List item, we made it happen.

We decided that in association with Kenny and Chris’ wedding in Lake Tahoe, we would go one direction by train. We did research and watched a ton of YouTube videos on AMTRAK train travel to prepare ourselves, bought two first class sleeper accommodation tickets, and on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018, we started our journey! We left Ocean City early that morning with our first destination being Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. There we boarded AMTRAK Train number 141, the Northeast Regional to Washington, DC’s Union Station. As we had first class tickets, we journeyed on this first leg in a Business Class luxury seating car. After spending some time in the Acela Club in Washington, we boarded Train #29, the Capital Limited overnight to Chicago. This was the first leg that we would be in a sleeper, and we got ourself set up in Bedroom E in Car #2900. The room contains a big couch, a comfortable chair, a huge picture window, and our own bathroom (think an RV kind of bathroom). Each car has an attendant, that at night will convert our sleeper from a day room to our bedroom. In addition, on this leg, our attendant will also take our dinner order as the Capital Limited had just had its Dining Car removed. After dinner, our room was turned into a sleeper, the big couch became the lower bunk and an upper bunk was lowered from the wall, complete with a ladder! My dear wife was gracious enough to take the upper bunk, and we fell asleep to the click clack lullaby from the rails!

At about noon the next day, we arrived in Chicago at AMTRAK’s Union Station, where we had to switch trains. Just after 3:00 PM, with us in Room C of Car 330, the Southwest Chief pulled out of Union Station. The Southwest Chief is the Amtrak successor to the famous Santa Fe Super Chief. It was dubbed the “Train of the Stars” because of the celebrities it carried between Chicago and Los Angeles in the days before air travel. The route took the train through some of the most beautiful scenery the United States has to offer, and it was right outside our bedroom window. The Southwest Chief had a real Dining Car, and three meals a day were served on china plates with white tablecloths and impecable service by true professionals, and were included in our ticket price.

Early on the morning of the third day, the train moved through the Los Angelos suburbs, and a little after 8 AM, the Southwest Chief pulled into LA’s Union Station. We’d left Ocean City on the morning of Wednesday, October 3rd, and now on Saturday morning we’d arrived in Los Angelos. It was an experience, and another check on the Bucket List of life! If you’d like more details about our trip, here’s a link to the starting blog post:

Well, tomorrow we wrap up our multi-part blog Taking Stock. Friday’s edition is loaded with looks at some very important things that have happened in our life over the last six years! Be sure to stay tuned!

4 thoughts on “Taking Stock Part Four

  1. Hi Frank and Susie!

    What a joy it has reminiscing about your adventures during these past years. I must admit that while all posts to-date have been wonderful to read, Part 4 has proven to be my favorite. For herein you have described what has long been one of my great wishes; to take a cross-country first class journey via overnight train. Susi and I have always traveled by plane and/or car, but I have always had a special affinity for heading anywhere by train.

    Your BLOG post here has motivated me to surprise Susi with a pair of round trip tickets and to do so sometime soon here in Europe; perhaps down to southern Italy or northward to Hamburg. I’ll let you know if this comes to pass. In the meantime, please know that your splendid BLOG has become a staple part of my weekly online reading. I eagerly await what is yet to come.

    Very best wishes to you and Susie from your friends in Pinswang!

    – Andy and Susi

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Andy…we were a generation influenced by the drama and adventure of train travel (well, not the electric Long Island Rail Road, but will admit to loving ridding the diesels back in the day) and I have always found myself captivated by any movie involving train travel. Of course, flying from Philly to LA in six hours is wonderful, but now that our time is our own, we both agreed that if the opportunity presented itself, we’d travel by train again, and now that both my knees are new, I’d even take the top bunk!

    I know if you and Susi do make a trip via the rails you will enjoy it, and even more so because passenger rail travel is so much better in Europe than what little we’ve got left in the US! I want a blog post too!

    Thanks for continuing to read along with us old friend! Frank!❤️


  3. Your train trip reminded me of my younger days.

    During the first eight years of my childhood, we never lived more than a quarter of a mile from the train station and railroad tracks. My younger brother Albert and I spent hours exploring and observing the coming and going operations at the depot and surrounding area. The roundhouse where they could reverse the direction of trains was a favorite. We had front row seats as they offloaded shiny new automobiles from the boxcars. We would be the first to see the elephants, lions and tigers coming to town when Barnum & Bailey brought their show to Lewiston. We hopped a few short rides as they moved cars up and down the railroad yard. We frequently traversed and played on the trestle that spanned over a hundred feet above the Androscoggin River. In March 1958 I rode the train from Lewiston, ME to Trenton, NJ enroute My US Army basic and advanced infantry training at Fort Dix. In July 2020 Jeanne and I used a train to transport our Honda Odyssey and ourselves from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA to reduce the number of hotel nights on the migration north to our CT residence. The sharp winding turns along the way and tight accommodations in the sleeping car reduced some of the romance of travelling by train. Despite that, a trip across Canada may be in our future.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We are the train travel generation, and I know thanks to my Uncle Bill, Jeanne was a train kid from the beginning! I remember the time we all vacationed in Miami Beach picking Jeanne and her Mom and Dad up at the train station, as they’d traveled down to Fla from Chicago!


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