I Survived My Summer Vacation

Three Important Travel Lessons

It’s been at least a decade since I took a three-week vacation on public transportation, and this summer’s vacation taught me a thing or two about aging! I promise this isn’t a travelogue, but let me set the stage by outlining how my eyes were bigger than my stomach!

This dream vacation included all the things I love: train travel, sightseeing, water excursions, museums, public gardens, good food, different cultures, history, and quality time together.

Greg and I scheduled a lot into this 18-day trip in order to get the most for our time and our money.

Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Butchart Gardens

A long train trip was part of our dream, so we drove to Kansas City (4 hours) to board Amtrak. From K.C., it was Amtrak all the way. First to Los Angeles (35 hours), then to Seattle (24 hours).

We stayed in Seattle for five days to pack in a tour of the city, a day at the Chihuly Glass Exhibition and the EMP museum, Pike Place Market, Space Tower, and a couple of ferry rides to an island dinner—all the things tourists do in Seattle.

Chihuly Glass

Stanley Park

Next, Amtrak to Vancouver (4 hours) where we spent five days seeing all we could in Vancouver which included a day in Stanley Park viewing the famous totem poles, a ferry trip to Victoria to see Butchart Gardens, etc.

Then, back on the train to go home–Amtrak from Vancouver to Sacramento (25 hours), Sacramento to Denver (32 hours), Denver to Galesburg, IL (16 hours), then on the K.C.(5 hours) and the car trip home.

In the six-hour layover in Sacramento, we toured the major sightseeing
spots of that city. In Denver, we spent a day in with my sister in Long
mont, CO, driving through the Rocky Mountain National Forest.

It was a fabulous vacation, but it was an endurance test for this older body.


Here’s What I Learned

Be realistic about my physical endurance. My optimism and enthusiasm got the best of me when I planned this trip. Health and endurance don’t improve just because we’re on vacation.

Plan more rest time. We built in three days of the eighteen to do nothing but lounge in our hotel room. We took bus tours in order to save some energy. In addition, I used a wheelchair in most of the public places. But, still!  Riding on trains and busses—which sounds relaxing—keeps the muscles active as the car rocks and rolls and stops and surges. All the little things add up quickly.

Pack less. I  know, who doesn’t say that? I tried my best. After packing, I spent three days taking things out of the luggage. My excuse: ten years ago, I didn’t need all the medical equipment and supplies that must accompany me now. I’ll just keep trying to pare down. Less stuff, more fun.

I keep trying.

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