Did we mention that we picked a “go” date? July 30. I just got off the phone with Amtrak and our tickets are booked! We’ll be taking the Coast Starlight up to Portland, Oregon, where we’ll spend a few days with friends and family before pedaling off. In booking the tickets, we opted for the “roomette” option. Not that there’s anything wrong with coach (we’ve done it several times), we’re just so darn curious about what those private rooms are like, and we love the fact that all your meals are included in the price! It’s a bit of a splurge, but I think it’ll be a great way to kick off the trip.

And, it just so happens that fate intervened recently and delivered a little starter fund for our trip – in the form of a severance check after I was laid off from my job (yesterday was my last day). It’s strange to be one of the masses affected by the recent “economic downturn” – and yet not look at it in the same way as others – and, indeed, be really quite happy with the opportunity it has created. (Back in January, I started to see the writing on the wall that my job was no longer “safe” – and that’s when we started really thinking about getting this trip off the ground.) Now that we’re no longer tethered to anything in Long Beach, it’s time to go!

All of this means that we have about six weeks between now and when we leave. Let the countdown begin!