So… it’s a lazy Wednesday morning here at the apartment and now that Carolyn has left for work, it’s finally just lil’ ol’ me with nothing at all on my schedule today for a change. Yes…. and that means I can finally get a chance to share with you Gentle Visitors the details of our recent Honeymoon excursion. 😉
I had been meaning to get to this… and a few other things here at the Litterbox… waaaay, waaaay last week, but, as always, taking time away from the restaurant meant that a huge pile of stuff needing my attention had accumulated in my absence. That, along with the planning for a catering event that got booked while we were gone, has had me pretty darn tied up most of last week. But after that busy push, I’ve scored a couple of days off in a row… all for myself… Yay! (It’s good to be the boss….)
So… with luck… and if I can maintain focus (a real task for this ordinarily scatterbrained lady..) I’ll have at least one posting a day right up until the weekend. 😉
Anyways… enough dilly-dallying! It’s time to hear all our adventures…. 😉
I have to admit. I have always loved traveling by rail. Ever since I was a little girl, trains have fascinated me. I blame it on movies of course… as naturally lil’ Miyuki learned all she knew about rail travel from film. “Murder on the Orient Express”, “Strangers On A Train”, “Terror Train”, “Horror Express”….. I watched them all, and so just as naturally I absolutely knew that train travel meant excitement and travels to all kinds of faraway exotic locales filled with colorful… and probably sinister… characters of all sorts. Grown-up me still wants to believe that to be true…
I took my first train ride when I graduated from high-school and got accepted to an upstate college in New York. Given that I have an almost instinctive terror of flying… that meant that coming out to the East coast from California to go to school involved either a long exhausting bus ride or…. to me anyways… the option of the much more civilized sounding journey by rail. It isn’t hard to guess which one I chose back then. 😉
It’s a long trip. Taking right around 4 days to complete, but it’s something I absolutely loved experiencing. Not only that… but I first met my sweet Carolyn at the end of that trip, when we became roommates at college… and who would have guessed I’d complete that journey full circle back to California with her by my side over 20 years later? It’s one of those things that almost make you think that there really is some larger secret scheme of things behind this crazy journey we call “Life”.
Carolyn knows all about my fascination with trains… I still remember how incredulous she was to hear I’d come to school that way all those years ago when we were making that small talk two strangers use to get to know one another and break the ice back then. I bet she never dreamed then that she’d be sharing another trip just like it all these years later with me as Wife & Wife… Sigh…. ❤
When we first decided to plan our honeymoon for this summer, it was Carolyn that remembered that trip, and it was she who suggested we go rather than slip away to some boring beach resort in Hawaii just like every other newlywed couple seems to do. Mind you… a train excursion isn’t a cheap vacation by any means… and neither of us working girls is exactly swimming in extra money. Still… organized planner that she is, it really wasn’t hard for my sweetie to show me that given our free accommodations with my Mom and Dad out in California, it ended up being a very cost effective choice for a one way trip once she’d scored some budget airline tickets for our return journey. Heck… there was even some spare cash in our budget for a nice one day stop in Chicago where we needed to change trains anyway. Another exciting trip by rail? Yep… twist my arm, sweetheart… it’s a done deal. 🙂
We ended up leaving on Sunday, and as Carolyn didn’t want to leave her car at the station for the week, we convinced Sam to come along with us for the three hour trip down to the city and share a “girls day out” with us to celebrate things before catching the train that evening. That way she could drive the car back home and then come back for us at the end of the week when our plane came in. It was a nice day and we got to spend time shopping and eating a nice meal at our favorite restaurant before reporting to the station in plenty of time to get things sorted.
Our actual train trip was in two stages. The first leg was on the edge of the Great Lakes, a winding 13 hour or so trip to Chicago’s Union Station where we were to change trains for the western leg of the journey. We didn’t have to do it… but since the first part was an overnight run, we splurged for the bedroom for both legs of the trip and… **ahem**… let’s just say it was absolutely worth it. Oh, yes… Completely. 😉
Yes.. yes… that whole first part of the trip was spent taking advantage of those cozy accommodations with plenty of cuddling, lots of talking… and… ummmm… a few other sweet ❤ “pastimes” ❤ before we slept that probably made us both miss lots of the scenery as we wound our way through the countryside. Fellow newlyweds… c’mon… you know what I’m talking about… 😉
For those of you curious about our accommodations, I found this nice little video someone did of the very Amtrak train route we took for the first leg, the Lake Shore Limited, and it’s almost exactly the sleeping compartment we had. Hahaha!! Oh, and yes… I can confirm that two people can indeed snuggle (and even enjoy some fairly naughty fun) quite nicely in that lower bunk… (Well… OK… it probably helps if one of you is as tiny as lil’ ol’ me…) 😉
The layover in Chicago was originally supposed to be for some 4 hours before we boarded the California Zephyr for the final 50+ hour long leg, but rather than sit around Union Station for that we opted to spend the rest of the day and night in Chicago so Carolyn could show me the sights. She’d been here a few years ago and along with some shopping spots, she also knew a really good Korean restaurant that she was certain I’d love. She was right. It was a lovely meal with the best daeji bulgogi I’ve ever had. Sweet and spicy and hot… in just about the perfect finger licking good balance.
I wish I could say our room for the night was an amazing 5 star experience, but we were on a budget, so it was a fairly spartan place we booked, clean and comfortable but nothing compared to the train and it’s full service. Still, it was only for one night.
The next day we set off for Sacramento on the California Zephyr, a 50+ hour journey through the Great Plains and over the Rocky Mountains, winding through some 30 stops across 7 states. A long leisurely two and a half day ride that let us relax and really let our hair down. On this leg of the trip we spent a wee bit more time enjoying all the amenities, like the dining car and some time in the Lounge car to watch the scenery roll by and sip coffee. Feeling in a goofy mood, we spent a lot of the time people watching… and trying to fit all these strangers into the roles of characters from all those movies about trains that we’ve seen.
Now… although we never did come across the perfect match for a certain fussy Belgian detective, surprisingly enough there were quite a few folk on board who would have fit right into a movie. There was a swarthy, bearded, rugged looking man in his early 30’s that we immediately dubbed “Nicolai”, a character that would have looked smashing in a dark wool overcoat and fur ushanka, brooding and thinking dark thoughts as he traveled aboard the Trans-Siberian Express. There was also a strikingly beautiful redheaded woman our age that we could definitely see as a Victorian dilettante aboard the famous Orient Express. She was on a family excursion with her two daughters and husband, and although they seemed a happy ordinary couple, I still feel there was definitely the air of the “femme fatale” about her… 😉 Yep, we had loads of fun with this game and there were times the other passengers must have really wondered about the two giggling ladies gawking at them and whispering to themselves. 😀
The scenery out West was really amazing, especially when we were outside the urban areas, and Carolyn had never been through this part of the country before so for her it was a treat to see such landscapes… so different from those back east where we live. Once we got up into the mountains it was so darn pretty that I wished we could have spent some time off the train to do a bit of hiking and exploring. Definitely something to consider for our Anniversary in a few years…. 😉
Carolyn, worried about crazy expensive roaming charges, actually left her cellphone at home on this trip…. which surprised me considering how much she usually feels almost naked without it, so we didn’t take any of our own pictures or videos…. but luckily I was able to find a video on Youtube to show you Gentle Visitors some of that scenery just as we saw it.
I enjoyed this leg of the trip especially. The amount of time we were spending together really let us loosen up and share some special things with one another, like Carolyn’s feelings about finally being married. She confessed that although she’d always assumed she’d be married someday, she’d also always assumed that although she enjoyed her relationships with other women, being bisexual she’d eventually find a man she liked enough to settle down with and raise the traditional family her Mom expected her to have. She never expected to find me. “You shake me up… knock me off balance and leave me breathless sometimes… and now I can’t imagine being with anybody else.” You can’t imagine how special hearing that makes me feel. That’s exactly the way I’ve always wanted someone to feel about me and now I have it… my own dream come true. I myself never imagined it would be with another woman… never in a million years…. but now I’m so glad it’s with her.
That’s pretty much the way we spent those miles, sharing those moments, basking in the pure pleasure of being with each other right up until we reached California. There we got ourselves a rental car and drove up to Mom and Dad’s place where they were ready and waiting for us to arrive. Mom had gone all out fixing up the guest room for us and we stayed there for the next couple of days. It was a nice visit… although that first night definitely felt weird, us cuddled together in bed with my parents right down the hall. Somehow that was just a strange as I thought it would be, but it didn’t seem to faze Mom or Dad in the least. Of course we had to do the whole excursions to their favorite diner to meet their friends… so surreal… “Oh, I’d like you to meet my daughter Miyuki and her lovely wife Carolyn.” Somehow that phrase always made me blush every time she said it… and she said it a lot. Still, it’s nice to know they really are happy for us, and I’m glad they want to share that with their friends. My sweetie needs to feel that especially… and Mom has certainly made sure she does.
It was a very nice time we spent with them. With them getting older, it’s nice to be able to see them and to let them know that I’m not going to end up old and alone. Mom told me she’d been worried quite a bit about that as I approached 40. Dad on the other hand just said, “Miyuki’s just picky, she wasn’t going to settle for the first person to pop the question. I knew she’d find what she was looking for. It was just a matter of looking for the right fit.”
“The right fit”. That’s Carolyn alright. She’s responsible and sensible when I’m silly and whimsical… she’s gentle, tender, and loving when I need to feel loved… and she’s sentimental and soft when I’m so overflowing with a need to pour my own love on her, drinking it up like a sponge and eager for more. We are perfect together. I’m so glad my parents understand that.
I wish we could have spent longer with them, but before long it was time to head home, the dreaded plane trip…. but this time out I was soooo much more relaxed and only a wee bit apprehensive. Mind you… I still think flying is a pastime best reserved for birds and angels… but a few more trips and it might stop bothering me altogether.
Once we got home, it was back to our busy daily routine, and I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get this all together for you, Gentle Visitors, but you all know how “Real Life” can interfere with my “Blogging Life” here at the Litterbox. If I’m lucky, I’m going to try to get a Review for “The Raid 2” up later today or tomorrow. But don’t hold you breath… somebody’s bound to figure out I’ve got a couple days off in a row from work… 😉