Well its been ages since we've had internet access but we are finally in Seattle and the hotel has it so I can catch you up on our trip.
We left Houston for a couple of business stops in Dallas and Chicago and then we went to Clarkston in Michigan, which is about an hour north of Detroit, to stay with friends we've known for 40 years. It just seems that it doesn't matter how long since you've seen them you just pick up like you saw them yesterday. We had a lovely three days with them, just relaxing. Bill of course had to go to the big boys toyshop - aka the Home Depot and Lowes, both hardware stores similar to Bunnings. Irene and I went to a giant supermarket near their house and you would not believe what they can buy there - even clothes and a pharmacy. Unbelievable.
Then at 6.05 am (I kid you not, we got up at 4.30) we boarded the Wolverine train service from Michigan to Chicago, where we picked up the Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle. If you ever get a chance to take one of these trips grab it. We had a ball. We had a sleeper with ensuite (little bit squeezy but didn't have to line up to use public facilites). We had two days and nights on board. The dining car did an exceptional job, the food was actually quite good. They had a wine and cheese tasting on the second afternoon, and I won one of the opened bottles in a trivia quiz. We shared it with a lovely couple at dinner that night. They go to pains to sit you with different people each night and we met some great people. All except the one lady who said her job was a body repairer. Now we thought crash repairs, but no its one of those touchy feely hippie type things. Weird!!!
The actual trip took us through 8 states just south of the Canadian border. The snow started in western North Dakota and by the time we got to Montana it was really snowing. We got off and played in the snow a bit, crazy Aussies. Then overnight we came through the Rockies and after breakfast we saw some of the loveliest mountain scenery.