Wednesday, August 02, 2006

#4 The Surface of the Earth

Our objective is to circle the globe without leaving the surface of the earth - I’m married to a geographer, aren’t I? - so we’ll travel primarily by train, ship, and car. Other modes of transportation along the way may just include a bullet train, some jeeps, a bus or two, and maybe even a camel.

The ship. For the most part, we’ll be traveling by ship, the MV Explorer, a 24,000-ton passenger ship built in 2002 and equipped as a floating university.
The shipboard campus includes classrooms and a fabulous library (of course) that supports the itinerary. Other facilities include dining rooms, a student union, a campus store, a swimming pool, fitness facilities, a wellness center, and a health clinic.

The train. Since the MV Explorer sails from San Diego, we need to navigate from the middle of the country to the left edge of the country. The quickest option is to fly, but speed is clearly not our objective, since we’ve opted for a 2-day train trip. Amtrak’s Southwest Chief runs between Chicago and Los Angeles, across the mighty Mississippi through eight states - past wheat fields and ranches, missions and pueblos, mountains and deserts. From LA, we’ll take the Pacific Surfliner to San Diego. Our train trip starts on August 19 and we’re thrilled to think we might see some of you along the way.  Post a comment below to let us know to look for you on a train station platform in your town!

We board the MV Explorer in San Diego on August 23 for 4 days of orientation and the ship sails on August 27.

Yours in anxiously awaiting the train to leave the station with us on board,


  1. Would love to see you at the train station in
    Kansas City -- when will you be here?

    Tina Smith & Eric Larson

  2. Excellent! The Southwest Chief is due to stop in KC between 10:11 and 10:55, so we should have a full 44 minutes – unless, of course, we’re running late. But that never happens in train travel, does it? ;-)

  3. Hi Mary, Hi Kelly! What fun to read your blog. Hope to see you at the train station! And speaking of books to read on the train... Have you read "Ireland" yet? I'm enjoying it at the moment. Maybe you'll stop in Ireland?

  4. Mary & Kelly,
    I will be looking for you in Los Angeles on Monday! If your connection is late, I'll have to go to work, but if you are there between 8am-9:30am, look for me!
    I don't think Dan can make it on Monday morning, but I'll bring his spirit.
    Christina Hennessey (of the Dan Bell's)