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Have You Made a Lifelong Friend on Amtrak?

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caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,882
Location
Nottingham, England.
As I write this, it is 2021 already here in the UK. Very pleased to see the end of 2020!
I have not met anyone on a train that has become a lifelong friend, but I have enjoyed, and value the folk I meet here on AU, and those I have met in person at the AU events that I have attended.
Looking forward to meeting more of you in person when it is safe to travel again!
Happy New Year Everyone!
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
21,294
Location
Austin Texas
As I write this, it is 2021 already here in the UK. Very pleased to see the end of 2020!
I have not met anyone on a train that has become a lifelong friend, but I have enjoyed, and value the folk I meet here on AU, and those I have met in person at the AU events that I have attended.
Looking forward to meeting more of you in person when it is safe to travel again!
Happy New Year Everyone!
Same to you Eddie! Lift a pint or 2 in honor of 2021, and hopefully well meet again somewhere on the Avenue in 2021!
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
Have you taken the ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon? I did that with my mom 6 1/2 years ago in the process of moving from Central Wisconsin, here. Beautiful trip and you skip the drive through Chicago. I'd rather maneuver through Muskegon than Chicago any day!

I need to get back to Milwaukee to visit the statue of the Fonz, speaking of those early "happy days". Maybe that's what you were subtly aiming at. I've been through MKE on the Empire Builder, but also a few times via car. I attended Summerfest in 2011 as well as the aforementioned ferry trip.
Hoping to get back to MKE eventually... but it's so far away from the Oregon Coast; especially at this time of escalating COVID casualties. Let's hope that it passes sooner than later. Would love to see the statue of the Fonz... bringing back so many memories of growing up in the 60's.

Happy new year my friend... and may we all get past this COVID crisis!
 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
3,983
Location
Holland, MI
Hoping to get back to MKE eventually... but it's so far away from the Oregon Coast; especially at this time of escalating COVID casualties. Let's hope that it passes sooner than later. Would love to see the statue of the Fonz... bringing back so many memories of growing up in the 60's.

Happy new year my friend... and may we all get past this COVID crisis!
I‘d like to get back to your neck of the woods as well. I have family in Portland and have been out there five times on the Builder to see them. Last time was June, 2019, with my sister and we rode out with a lady and her husband from Louisiana. She belongs to the Empire Builder Facebook page and just happened to be taking a trip to the left coast to see family in Cali. Circling back to the subject of the thread, we added each other on Facebook and have communicated since. Her husband doesn’t do social media. They’re in their late 70s so it’s somewhat unlikely we meet in person again but who knows?
 

Alice

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 6, 2007
Messages
999
Location
California
Lose for me. I don't do well in group situations. Believe me, Jim. No crowds bigger than two or three.
For the in person gatherings, it is common for groups of just a few to hang out together separate from others on the same platform or train. Especially people holding cameras frequently get away from the group. For a zoom meeting, would you be comfortable joining and not saying anything? If there are a lot of people, that wouldn't be so unusual ...
 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
3,983
Location
Holland, MI
For the in person gatherings, it is common for groups of just a few to hang out together separate from others on the same platform or train. Especially people holding cameras frequently get away from the group. For a zoom meeting, would you be comfortable joining and not saying anything? If there are a lot of people, that wouldn't be so unusual ...
I wouldn’t be comfortable either way. I’m not sure where I’ve not been clear.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,974
Location
Texas
Whenever this topic comes up I always think of this scene...


I remember after the movie was out for a while the smiling happy faces had been changed to more of a reserved and stoic look. Probably just a random coincidence, and I don't even recall which airline, but interesting nonetheless.
 

jloewen

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
93
I met a senior front-office person with the Seattle Mariners on the Empire Builder once; I was in the corridor trying to get a ballgame on my radio in eastern Montana to get a current score--no cell coverage. He stopped me, we chatted for awhile about baseball and the Mariners, and he mentioned that he had been forced to sit through a law school graduation early in Safeco's history, because it was the first big non-baseball event held there and he was checking on how it went. He said that he was assuming that the whole shebang would be boring as heck, but the faculty speaker's speech was "Ten Things Yogi Berra Could Teach You about Practicing Law," and he said it was both funny and inspiring. I had to laugh when I said, "That was me!" Anyway, he promised to keep in touch, and we actually did, till his retirement a couple of years ago. Over the years we met up a few times in real life, emailed quite a bit, and I'm happy to say that he was instrumental in two of my students being hired by the M's--one in legal, one in analytics. So a serendipitous meeting indeed!
Why don't you post a link to "Ten Things Yogi Berra Could Teach You about Practicing Law." I'd like to read/hear it! -- Jim Loewen
 

jloewen

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
93
I've not met a lifelong friend on Amtrak, but I have confirmed at least four sundown towns as a result of conversations with my dining companions (when we had dining). [I'm trying trying trying to confirm every sundown town in the U.S. and hoping they will all apologize for keeping themselves all-white on purpose. Most now have a handful of African American families but still indulge in DWB policing, terrible casual rhetoric, and other second-generation sundown town problems.
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
12
Location
Salem, OR
Have you taken the ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon? I did that with my mom 6 1/2 years ago in the process of moving from Central Wisconsin, here. Beautiful trip and you skip the drive through Chicago. I'd rather maneuver through Muskegon than Chicago any day!

I need to get back to Milwaukee to visit the statue of the Fonz, speaking of those early "happy days". Maybe that's what you were subtly aiming at. I've been through MKE on the Empire Builder, but also a few times via car. I attended Summerfest in 2011 as well as the aforementioned ferry trip.
Where in Central WI? I was raised on a dairy farm near Wisconsin Rapids, and my earliest railroad memory is of the Chicago & North Western crossing the road near the farm in about 1948. Have loved them ever since and have taken the Empire Builder between Oregon and Wisconsin several times.
 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
3,983
Location
Holland, MI
Where in Central WI? I was raised on a dairy farm near Wisconsin Rapids, and my earliest railroad memory is of the Chicago & North Western crossing the road near the farm in about 1948. Have loved them ever since and have taken the Empire Builder between Oregon and Wisconsin several times.
Not far from Rapids....Marshfield. I lived there 2006-14. I have friends still in Neillsville and Medford. I was out there for a visit in May, 2019. My home Amtrak station was Tomah and I know personally a few of the current and past Conductors based out of Chicago, Winona and St. Cloud from my many trips, short and long on that particular route, Most trips currently are like old home week for me as at least one or two of my friends are working at some point on the East portion of the route, When I’m not traveling, I keep up with them on Facebook or by text message, especially during the pandemic.
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
692
Why don't you post a link to "Ten Things Yogi Berra Could Teach You about Practicing Law." I'd like to read/hear it! -- Jim Loewen
Unfortunately I don't have access to the original graduation version, which lived on my old computer and didn't get transferred when I replaced it. I do have a shorter version, 5 Lessons for Lawyers from Yogi Berra, that I read out to my students in their last class of their first year torts class, which I can't seem to attach here because of its extension, but I'd be happy to send it to you via email if you PM me here.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
I‘d like to get back to your neck of the woods as well. I have family in Portland and have been out there five times on the Builder to see them. Last time was June, 2019, with my sister and we rode out with a lady and her husband from Louisiana. She belongs to the Empire Builder Facebook page and just happened to be taking a trip to the left coast to see family in Cali. Circling back to the subject of the thread, we added each other on Facebook and have communicated since. Her husband doesn’t do social media. They’re in their late 70s so it’s somewhat unlikely we meet in person again but who knows?
We should definitely get together when you come out here... I sense that we will be talking for hours about railroads, wanderings, and all of life's adventures. Presently getting a bit scary as COVID cases and deaths are escalating... so the biggest challenge is to be as careful as possible and just get past what is now the pandemic crisis.

Stay safe... keep in touch... and consider a zoom connection. Happy new year! 🌈
 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
3,983
Location
Holland, MI
We should definitely get together when you come out here... I sense that we will be talking for hours about railroads, wanderings, and all of life's adventures. Presently getting a bit scary as COVID cases and deaths are escalating... so the biggest challenge is to be as careful as possible and just get past what is now the pandemic crisis.

Stay safe... keep in touch... and consider a zoom connection. Happy new year! 🌈
For reasons you stated, indeed I’ll not be coming to Oregon anytime soon. I’ve already received an invitation to return to central WI after the pandemic is under control and am looking forward to visiting both places again. The scenery in Oregon, Washington and California is amazing to this midwestern lifer, as is the trip out that way on the Empire Builder. I’m stir crazy as I usually do a couple short trips and three or four long distance ones every year and my last one being almost a year ago, a same day birthday trip to Seattle and back (meaning I took 7 out, sat at King Street and took 8 back same day) in February. I was going to head to Kansas City in May to see my Detroit Tigers play the Royals for a couple of games but Covid shut everything down and my trip was canceled.
 

oregon pioneer

Conductor
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
2,310
Location
near Seneca, Oregon
I am happy that this thread has given everyone some good memories to think about! I've only met a couple of AU'ers out there on the rails, so I have a lot of catching up to do. 20th Century: Hubby and I would love to visit and walk the beach with you, but as several have mentioned, all that's on hold for the moment.

Tim, I understand not doing well in crowds. Since I've done several zooms over the holidays, I have learned to appreciate when there is a skilled moderator on the call. I also have learned that in a large crowd, I may want to leave my video and microphone turned off unless I am called upon to contribute (something I could tell the moderator to avoid, but usually it's just that I don't want to push myself into the conversation). If I turn off my devices, my name appears but nothing else. I can still hear and see everyone else.

There are many of you on this forum I'd love to meet in person, but since that's not possible, a zoom get-together would be wonderful. It would allow me to participate from where I am (and that's 150 miles from the nearest Amtrak station, in the mountains!). So if you can schedule a zoom call, I will try very hard to make it.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
For reasons you stated, indeed I’ll not be coming to Oregon anytime soon. I’ve already received an invitation to return to central WI after the pandemic is under control and am looking forward to visiting both places again. The scenery in Oregon, Washington and California is amazing to this midwestern lifer, as is the trip out that way on the Empire Builder. I’m stir crazy as I usually do a couple short trips and three or four long distance ones every year and my last one being almost a year ago, a same day birthday trip to Seattle and back (meaning I took 7 out, sat at King Street and took 8 back same day) in February. I was going to head to Kansas City in May to see my Detroit Tigers play the Royals for a couple of games but Covid shut everything down and my trip was canceled.
Amazing! In and out of SEA same day on the EB... what an absolutely thrilling experience that must have been! Too bad the magnificent station has no restaurants or anything... but there are some coffee shops nearby. Like you I'm getting desperate to travel anywhere... and like everybody else have been sticking close to home. Of course now with the escalation of infections here at this coastal town... it's risky to go out and do anything.

BTW - where in central WI? WI is my home state... grew up in MKE, went to Camp Manitowish in Vilas CO, and undergrad school in Superior. There were some great railroads that criss crossed the state during the golden era... which I never had a chance to travel on. If I could turn back the clock I'd have taken the Soo Line to Superior when passenger service was running there, and the CNW Flambeau. I did have a chance to take the Milwaukee Road to MSP and connect with the GN Badger and Gopher service to Duluth Superior.

Here are three pictorial compositions of the Wisconsin Passenger RR's that are hanging on the wall in the guest cabin here in OR so I can deal with my missing the beauty of Wisconsin...


Soo Line in Wisconsin.png

CNW in Wisconsin.png

Milwaukee Road in Wisconsin.png
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
I am happy that this thread has given everyone some good memories to think about! I've only met a couple of AU'ers out there on the rails, so I have a lot of catching up to do. 20th Century: Hubby and I would love to visit and walk the beach with you, but as several have mentioned, all that's on hold for the moment.

Tim, I understand not doing well in crowds. Since I've done several zooms over the holidays, I have learned to appreciate when there is a skilled moderator on the call. I also have learned that in a large crowd, I may want to leave my video and microphone turned off unless I am called upon to contribute (something I could tell the moderator to avoid, but usually it's just that I don't want to push myself into the conversation). If I turn off my devices, my name appears but nothing else. I can still hear and see everyone else.

There are many of you on this forum I'd love to meet in person, but since that's not possible, a zoom get-together would be wonderful. It would allow me to participate from where I am (and that's 150 miles from the nearest Amtrak station, in the mountains!). So if you can schedule a zoom call, I will try very hard to make it.
Like many others in our AU community I do flip out with frustrations surrounding this newfangled technology... but when we must remain socially distanced and isolated it's worth figuring out how to zoom and etc.

We all have a pent up desire to travel, and the opening up of the new station in NYC would have been motivation enough to schedule a cross continent trip.

Anyhow, as I become more familiar with AU after a year of trying to figure things out... how to post and etc, I am hoping we can actually formalize a system for AU'ers to have zoom gatherings... maybe with a moderator coordinating. Is this possible? If so, would really like to meet newly made friends on the site with picture and voice.

To the moderators... do you see this as a possibility???
 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
3,983
Location
Holland, MI
Amazing! In and out of SEA same day on the EB... what an absolutely thrilling experience that must have been! Too bad the magnificent station has no restaurants or anything... but there are some coffee shops nearby. Like you I'm getting desperate to travel anywhere... and like everybody else have been sticking close to home. Of course now with the escalation of infections here at this coastal town... it's risky to go out and do anything.

BTW - where in central WI? WI is my home state... grew up in MKE, went to Camp Manitowish in Vilas CO, and undergrad school in Superior. There were some great railroads that criss crossed the state during the golden era... which I never had a chance to travel on. If I could turn back the clock I'd have taken the Soo Line to Superior when passenger service was running there, and the CNW Flambeau. I did have a chance to take the Milwaukee Road to MSP and connect with the GN Badger and Gopher service to Duluth Superior.

Here are three pictorial compositions of the Wisconsin Passenger RR's that are hanging on the wall in the guest cabin here in OR so I can deal with my missing the beauty of Wisconsin...


View attachment 19929

View attachment 19934

View attachment 19935
I've heard of many who do what I did. Of course, I had to open my big mouth in the middle of North Dakota to one of my table mates at dinner on the way out and next thing you know, the whole dining car was singing "happy birthday" to me. Next time, I'll learn. LOL

I did answer the same question as of where in Central WI a few posts above. "Marshfield. I lived there 2006-14. I have friends still in Neillsville and Medford. I was out there for a visit in May, 2019. My home Amtrak station was Tomah"
 

JayPea

Conductor
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
3,920
Location
Colfax, WA (CFX)
I understand very well about not doing well in crowds. People tell me I get lost in a crowd of two and that when people say hello to me I'm stuck for an answer. Both are more or less true. 😀 I too do much better in one on one situations and even then,only when the other person does most of the talking and doesn't mind when I don't say much.

I've never met anyone on the train that ended up being a friend. I have met up with a couple of AU'ers on a few occasions and occasionally IM'd another one who passed away a few years ago. I've also had some nice PM conversations as well with AU'ers.

I am hoping the 2021 gathering in Chicago is a go. I've only been to one, the Seattle gathering in 2011, and would like to go to this one. As long as no one minds if I don't add much to the conversation in any group I might end up in.🙂
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
I've heard of many who do what I did. Of course, I had to open my big mouth in the middle of North Dakota to one of my table mates at dinner on the way out and next thing you know, the whole dining car was singing "happy birthday" to me. Next time, I'll learn. LOL

I did answer the same question as of where in Central WI a few posts above. "Marshfield. I lived there 2006-14. I have friends still in Neillsville and Medford. I was out there for a visit in May, 2019. My home Amtrak station was Tomah"
HWY 13 goes through there... took it as a scenic route to WSU Superior during many journeys between there and MKE. Been through Tomah many times too... on Amtrak. Miss Wisconsin and enjoy the ride these days on the EB / pre and post covid... of course.

You're making me 'wistfully' and nostalgically miss Wisconsin! Planning the 'Mother of all car trips' to get out there with a revisit to Camp Manitowish, my alma mater, and a ride up to Grand Marias in Minnesota.

And yes, it's too bad trains don't go everywhere as they do in England... otherwise I'd for sure be aboard! ;)
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Location
Oregon Coast
I have never done a zoom call, but it sounds fun... where do I start?
OMG... it would be so cool to connect with you across the big pond... face to face! Could talk for hours about the 'trains go everywhere' British Kingdom!

Let's do try to set something up. Have you downloaded the zoom app on your computer? Everything's free but limited.

Two parties can talk for an unlimited amount of time; but larger groups are required to get a paid subscription.

Another interesting thing to consider is what time of day... there is a up to a nine hour time difference between Jolly England and the West Coast of the USA.

 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
3,983
Location
Holland, MI
HWY 13 goes through there... took it as a scenic route to WSU Superior during many journeys between there and MKE. Been through Tomah many times too... on Amtrak. Miss Wisconsin and enjoy the ride these days on the EB / pre and post covid... of course.

You're making me 'wistfully' and nostalgically miss Wisconsin! Planning the 'Mother of all car trips' to get out there with a revisit to Camp Manitowish, my alma mater, and a ride up to Grand Marias in Minnesota.

And yes, it's too bad trains don't go everywhere as they do in England... otherwise I'd for sure be aboard! ;)
Been on 13 many many times, of course....it's now an expressway east of Marshfield to I-39 in Point, sorta like WI-29, bypassing such thriving megatropolises like Auburndale, Junction City, etc. That happened about ten years ago. If you're familiar with Marshfield, I used to live across West 17th Street from Wildwood Park and Zoo. I moved to Holland to care for my elderly mom, who passed away in April, 2018. I have no desire to live there again, way too cold for me! I'd never experienced -30 temperatures until living there and don't care to again, plus my only friend I had in Marshfield itself passed away in 2019. The places I have friends still are too small and too remote for my tastes. As I said in another thread, I have plans to move into a retirement home here in Holland adjacent to the Amtrak station.
 

Charles785

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
96
Meeting people on the train? Who might even become friends?

This might tie into that idea. The first woman executive of a major railroad was Kansas native Velma McPeek. She was hired by the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad as Supervisor of Passenger Train Services in 1936. Miss McPeek created the Zephyrettes on-board hostesses on CB & Q's various named Zephyr trains.

And her favorite poem relates to possible passenger relationships:

Life is but a journey taken on a train
With a pair of travelers at each window pane

I may sit beside you the whole journey through
Or I may be seated elsewhere never knowing you

But when fate placed you seated by my side
We were pleasant travelers, but - oh -too short a ride
 
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