Summing it all up
Title Image: Talking trains and bikes with Portland's Mayor Charlie Hales and Amtrak's Mariah Morales.
It was difficult to think of an appropriate final chapter for this remarkable journey I've been on all summer. Disembarking at Union Station and finding a gathering of NARP and Amtrak staff to greet me was certainly a warm welcome back. (And it was great to be able to say "thank you" to Amtrak in person; goodness knows I can't say "thank you" enough to the thousands of women and men at Amtrak who work so hard everyday to keep Americans -- and their bikes! -- moving around the country safely.)
But to try and process the vast rail network while in an individual station, even a station in our nation's capital, somehow doesn't do the experience of the trip justice.
Which is why I was so glad I was able to travel to Indianapolis and take part in the U.S. Conference of Mayors' 84th Annual Meeting. I met mayors, business representatives, a candidate for president of the United States -- even the Dalai Lama! To be able to tell the story -- not MY story, but the story of how American communities are connected, and how everyday people are working to improve those connections, to build a better future -- was a privilege.
Just as important was the opportunity to get mayors excited about next year's Summer by Rail. YES, NARP will be organizing a trip next summer! So if you're a college-aged student, follow along with NARP to find out how to apply to have your own ultimate summer internship. Based on the reaction I got from mayors I spoke to, you'll have an amazing group of cities to choose from!
As for how to sum up the trip... I guess I'll have to let the video speak for me.