Author: Craig Mashburn

Day 3 – 2018 Vacation

We started early this morning going to the Kansas City Zoo. We decided to go early because it was going to get hot and I figured big crowds because of July 4th. I was right about the heat, but not the crowds.

They had a skyway where you could ride over the park…

This is another pic of Stephen with flamingos. Trust me, they are back there…

Stephen petting the stingrays…

This was a big zoo. After four hours, we were ready to go get something to eat and cool off.

Then it was off to add another Major League Baseball Stadium to our list of stadiums visited.

And being the 4th of July, fireworks after the game…

And now, to bed, late!

Day 2 – 2018 Vacation

We slept in a little this morning before making the drive to Kansas City. After checking into our hotel and grabbing lunch at a mall, we went to the Truman Presidential Library.

The Truman’s graves…

Vicky enjoyed it…

I was hoping to get a library card, but they explained to me that it was not that kind of library.

So today was another relaxing day. Tomorrow will be a long day.

Day 1 – 2018 Vacation

Most of today was straightforward. Driving. We drove to Wichita Kansas. We did stop in OKC for lunch.

After checking into our hotel in Wichita, we went to an escape room. We killed it with time remaining!

The escape room was next to a place called The Alley so we did some stuff there. Like a VR game…


And I also got to school everyone in go cart driving…

Now we are back at the hotel to get some sleep. Tomorrow, on to Kansas City.

2018 Mashburn Vacation

It is that time again. Though this year will have something different than all others since 2006. No trains. We decided to try and do a cheaper trip this year to save up to do something bigger next year for Michael’s “Senior Trip”.

So this years is a road trip. We start by spending a few days in Kansas City, then a few days in Des Moines, Iowa, then a few days in St. Louis before heading back home.

Should be a nice, relaxing time spent together.

We would like to again thank our friend James for house and dog sitting for us. You da man.

We hope you enjoy following along with us.

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Coming Home

Our last day started early with breakfast at 6:30. After that we stepped of the train in Texarkana. Here is Michael with one foot in Arkansas and one in Texas (approx.).

We pulled into Fort Worth right on time.

We took an Uber back to back to our friends house where we got our car and headed back to Amarillo.

We got home around 7:45.

It was a good trip and we were happy to go places and see things we have never seen before.

Until next year. 

Returning On Amtrak

The day started early. We left our final hotel at 6:15am and walked a couple of hundred yards to the train station next door. It was raining, but fortunately no heavily. 

Michael at the Dearborn Station. 

Our train was on time. We were in business class on this train. It was about a five hour trip to Chicago. 

We arrived into Chicago Union Station and went to leave our bags in the Metropolitan Lounge. Then we walked down the street to Lou Mitchell’s for lunch. 

Our next train, the Texas Eagle, boarded and left right on time at 1:45. As usual, we are in sleeper. We have two small roomettes. 

We just hung out and relaxed and let Amtrak do the driving. We eventually went to dinner and all had steak and shrimp.

We had an extended stop in St Louis. 

After that stop, I made everyone’s bed and time to get some sleep to the sways of the train. 

Last Day In Michigan

Today was a slow day. We slept in a little and then checked out of hotel number four. We then went to play not one, but TWO escape rooms.

The place we went needed to reschedule is later so they gave us a second room for free. We got out of both of them even with the second only having an 18% escape rate.

We were planning on the zoo after that but we got lots and lots of rain. So we grabbed some lunch and drove back to hotel number one that is next door to the train station. We had some pizza delivered while I went and returned the rental car.

Now we are settling in to get to bed early cause the train leaves at 6:50am. Oh, and a good chance of rain so it could be an interesting walk to the station.

No pictures today so here is one of me and of the little guy we are all missing.

Greenfield Village

Today was all Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford.

Train ride.

We took a ride in a horse drawn bus. Then a model T bus and while we were on that who walked by? Mo Rocca.

Turns out they were filming today for Innovation Nation which is a show I watch on Saturday mornings.

We happened upon him several time around the place.

And then we were able to get a pic with him.


We got to ride in some Model T’s

Stephen tried walking with some ducks.

This was a courthouse that Abraham Lincoln worked as a lawyer.

While we were watching some filming going on, a group of people walked up. I saw one guy who I thought looked like someone who would be famous, but I did not know who or take a picture. Found out later it was JJ Abrams. Yup, he was there.

It was a long, tiring day, but we loved it. Tomorrow will be our last full day in Detroit.


Today was pretty simple. We slept in a little later then checked out of hotel number three. On our way back to the states, we stopped off to see a Canadian destroyer from World War II.

After that is was just the drive back to the good ole USA. We went over the bridge this time instead of the tunnel.

After crossing the border, we went and checked into hotel number four. We went and got dinner at some Tai place and then back to the hotel to rest up for tomorrow.


We started the day on the subway again heading downtown. Then to the aquarium.

We found him.

Then a quick lunch and then we stopped by the railroad museum.

Then on the subway again to go a little ways north where we went to Casa Loma castle.

We had a final ride in the subway back to our car and then to our hotel for a bit. Then we left to go do an escape room. It was a lot of fun and we did well. We got out with 10 minutes to spare.

Then back to the hotel. Earlier than other nights so hopefully get some extra rest. Tomorrow, we head back to our homeland.

Niagara Falls

We started the morning EARLY. Leaving the hotel before 6:00. We swung by McDonalds since the hotel was not serving breakfast yet. We went back to the subway for the long ride in to downtown.

At Union station we boarded a Via train (think Canada’s version of Amtrak) for a two hour ride to Niagara Falls. Some sleeping was done on the train.

When we arrived we went straight to do Niagara’s Fury. It was an interesting indoor presentation on how the falls were formed. It requires ponchos!

Then we went to the behind the falls tour. Pictures were difficult because of lighting, but we went through tunnels behind the falls.

We grabbed lunch and then went to the Hornblower Cruise to the base of the falls.

We chose to not get soaked.

Then back to the train station for the two hour ride back to Toronto and back to the hotel to get some rest.

And now, some misc pictures from today…

O Canada

We had a slow start today. Took it slow cause we were not in a hurry.

We checked out of hotel number two and hit the road towards Toronto. We went through a tunnel under the river.

Then went through 20 questions with Canada officials and we were officially out of the country.

The drive to Toronto was actually quite boring. And slow! Max speed is 100kph wich is like 60mph. Making that adjustment has been interesting.

We ate lunch in London at some Canadian place called Wendy’s.

we got to our hotel around 4. Then left soon after to get on the Subway to go downtown.

There we went to Roger’s Centre to see the Astros! They ended up killing the local team.

Subway back to car and then back to hotel. Have. Early start tomorrow. Good night.

The Henry Ford

After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we drove to The Henry Ford museum. We first went and took the Ford Rouge factory tour where they build F150’s. 

Then back to the museum.

For my good friends…

The car Kennedy was asassinated in…

The bus Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Michael is in her seat. 


And finally, Stephen playing the role of the hot dog…

This museum is HUGE. We are pretty tired of all the walking. We left around three and headed back to the hotel to relax. 

We ran to Boston Market for dinner and then back to the hotel for the night. 

Arriving Dearborn

Our train got in to Dearborn at 11:50pm. We walked next door to our hotel and went to bed. We took the morning slow to catch up on sleep, but I did go at 8:30 to get our rental car. 

We checked out of that hotel at 11:30, got some lunch and then headed to the Motown Museum. No pics allowed inside but it was a fascinating tour. 

We then drove over to the Ford Piquette Avenue plant. This is the first place Ford built the model T. Interesting stuff. The best was us running into one of the board members who showed us a bunch of cool historical stuff and even some behind the scenes stuff. I think he could tell I was a history buff. 

So then we headed back to Dearborn and checked into our second hotel. The first was  a nessesity because of the late arrival, not one I would have normally picked. Not bad, but not great either. Anyway, our second hotel is much better and much more room. 

After a dinner at Panera, off to Comerica Park to watch the Tigers play the Giants. 

We did not stay to then end but it was 5-4 Giants after seven. 

Back to the hotel and to bed to rest up for tomorrow. 

Amtrak Day Two

We got up at 6:30 and went to breakfast. We all had the Railroad French Toast which was good. 

Shortly after breakfast, we made a long stop in St. Louis. 

Arch outside my window…

After St. Louis, we all went back to bed!

We then woke up and went back to the dining car for a quick lunch and then back to the room to wait on our arrival into Chicago. 


Chicago has an awesome new sleeper car lounge that we hung in.

Around 4 Stephen and I headed outside to Giardano’s to pick up a pizza for Vicky and I. 

Then boys ate something from the food court.

We boarded our next train around 5:30 and it pulled out right at 6:00pm. No sleepers on this train but we are in business class. 

We are scheduled to arrive late in to Dearborn where we will walk to our hotel next door to the station.

Start of Trip – Amtrak

Our good friend Caroline dropped us off at the Fort Worth station around 12:45.



Our train was right on time arriving at 1:50. We boarded and settled in to our rooms across the hall from each other. We enjoyed the views and the boys and I played cards until dinner at 6:00.


We had steak and shrimp which was VERY good. Cheesecake for dessert, not so much. Okay, not great.


After dinner, we went back to our rooms to hang.

We made a short stop in Texarkana…


After the stop we put our beds down and turned in. Early breakfast in the morning at 6:30.

2017 Vacation Schedule

Once again the Mashburn family is making a trek across this country and even into another country. This year will not be as fast paced as in the past. This year will have plenty of things to see and do, but also time to relax and rest.

As always, we are taking a train. Here is the basic schedule…

  • July 2nd – Drive from Amarillo to Fort Worth and spend the night with our friend Caroline
  • July 3rd – Depart Fort Worth on Amtrak’s Texas Eagle
  • July 4th – Arrive in Chicago and switch trains to Amtrak’s Wolverine. We will arrive late into Dearborn, Michigan
  • July 5-6 – We will be in Dearborn/Detroit area
  • July 7 – Travel to Toronto
  • July 8 – Travel to Niagara Falls for the day
  • July 9 – Explore a little of Toronto
  • July 10 – Return to Detroit area
  • July 11-12 – We will be in Dearborn/Detroit area (again)
  • July 13 – Early morning we will board the Wolverine back to Chicago, change trains to Amtrak’s Texas Eagle
  • July 14 – Arrive back in Fort Worth and spend the night again with our friend Caroline
  • July 15 – Drive back to Amarillo

It is a bit longer than most of our trips, but that will be nice.

We would like to again thank our friend James for house sitting for us, the Moore family for taking care of Baxter, and those who will be checking in on Vicky’s dad.

We hope you enjoy following along with us.

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