amtrak

My brain is full, and my extrovert buffer overfloweth

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I'm freshly back from 2 days in Chicago, representing my fair Ypsi at the National Brownfield Association's "The Big Deal" conference, and, after 2 full days of being "on", am quite looking forward to hiding in the office with some nice quiet paperwork. (Chicagoans: yeah, I'm sorry, I didn't let you know. This was a very surgical strike sort of trip, with almost no time spent outside of Navy Pier and Union Station.)

I was there primarily playing marketer - the NBA invited us to bring our 38-acre crown jewel brownfield site to their "property showcase", and was nice enough to waive the $400 registration fee. I was the guy uncommitted for those days, so was the lucky representative - and, while I ordinarily can easily talk up Ypsi's virtues at great length (a former faculty member recently asked if I secretly work for the Chamber of Commerce), it's a little more high-stress when the person you're pitching to is representing a private equity firm that's walking around the conference saying, "Hi, we've got $1 billion to spend - what've you got?"

Traveling in the height of c. 1910 luxury!

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We've been hoping to take a trip to Montana in the next couple of months, once Cara is free of classes for more than a week at a time. Plane tickets don't seem to be getting below about $550/ea, though, and, since N'western is just about the only way to get there, there's no guarantee our flight would actually go anyways.

So I decided to look into Amtrak. I've taken Amtrak to MT and back before, and it's not a bad trip - really, more relaxing than the same trip by car, and much more comfortable than flying (the fact that it takes 32 hours by train, compared to 8-10 flying, makes the two modes about equal in my book, assuming I'm planning a decent vacation). One Amtrak trip was, in fact, where I met my friend Kenzi - nothing like sharing a seat for the 8 hour Mini-no-place to Chicago stretch with someone to get a feel for whether or not they are a psycho killer. (My vote: not, hence my first foray into blogging activism, five years ago now.)

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