The drive was great. We had the ipod hooked up and so had our pick of music to rock out to. The drive becomes really beautiful after Bismarck, and quite fun to drive too with lots of big curves and an open open road. We stopped at a park to see the painted canyon at Theodore Roosevelt National Park and took a 45min hike through it. You would never know its there off the freeway until you walk up to it, then it is huge! The first day we made it to Billings 850 miles away. This allowed us to take it easy the next day and look for some apartments for David. We ate really well, hiked up to the top of Mount Helena City Park (yes, a 1,300 ft tall city park) and generally toured what we could.
Davids parents made me feel right at home for the short time I was there and left me with a survival sack of food for the train. I am sure my seat was the envy of my Amtrak fed neighbors. The train itself was great. I just spent most of my time in the observation car, which is like a big rolling glass lounge where you can sit and look out or spread out on dining tables. It makes for quite an office! I must say though, that getting dropped of on a train and saying goodbye is by far the most emotional way of departing. Get in a car and you are just driving, get in a plane and you are in a hurry, but on a train you slowly speed away.
The best part was arriving in St. Paul, and walking the two blocks to home! Winnie came out of her depression and my whirlwind loop was complete. So now, pictures!