Sunday, July 3, 2011


We arrived in Boston a few hours late. This meant that we got there in the dark. We walked through the dark streets of West Boston to the HI Boston Hostel. We checked in around 9:45. This was possibly the most unused hotel ever. We slept the night. Got up around ten and checked out. The room we stayed in was pretty nice. We got a private room with two twin beds. They were not comfortable at all. There was even a tv! Gasp!

Unfortunately we were unable to store our big heavy bags at this Hostel. Through our entire tour of Boston we had to carry those bags. And keep in mind that we walked. We walked around West Boston for a bit. We checked out the Baseball stadium and got lost a few times. Then we walked to downtown.

Downtown Boston was nice and clean in comparison to Chicago. Our first goal was to get some of Boston's famous New England clam chowder. It was very easy to tell when we entered the tourist section of Boston. There were people dressed like colonial times leading around tour groups. Also there was a huge amount of people. And I mean huge. We stopped by a tourist shop to grab a few souvenirs and then walked into the heart of it.

Unknowingly we stepped onto a path called Freedom Trail. On this there was a very sobering Holocaust memorial. The glass towers were covered in the tattoo serial numbers that signified the prisoners. It was world crushing and emotionally huge.

After that experience we squeezed ourselves into probably the most famous Oyster House in Boston and sat at the bar. Two bowls of delicious and unmatchable clam chowder later and we were happy campers. That was the best clam chowder I've ever had.

Where we went next was really the main reason we went to Boston. We went to see the oldest commissioned warship still afloat. The U.S.S. Constitution. Dakota was particularly excited to see it. After passing through security we navigated the close quarters of that beautiful sailing ship with our huge bags. It was quite an amazing experience.

After we bought a few souvenirs we walked to a science museum. When we arrived we found it closed. So we began to work our way towards the train station. On our way passed the farmers market we picked up some cheap fruit that ended up being the most bitter fruit I have ever tasted. We walked through a shopping area where I picked up the coolest bracelet ever for Jenny and then we stopped for a show. A street performer gave the funniest and most amazing show ever. I can only regret not having cash to give him. He was a professional and did this for a living. A lot of his funny came from making fun of the audience. It was great even if he was a little bit unpracticed. He messed up a few tricks.

Now we walked to South Station to leave Boston. But we arrived at Back Bay station. Boston has 4 different Amtrak stations. No other city, not even Chicago, has more than one station. We learned that thanks to city of Boston restoration we had to figure out which station was which. It was not an easy task and we were lucky I had done a little research. With that we left for New York.

Chicago cont.

After checking out and storing our bags with the desk we headed out to explore. It turns out my dad's Kindle broke somehow and I had to figure out the warranty on it. But besides that we were out to have fun today.

We started out heading towards the Navy Pier. Unfortunately we got kind of lost and ended up on the wrong side of the harbor. We hung out around there because there was an aquarium and a museum. We didn't go in but we did grab some Chicago style hot dogs, which were delicious. The walk to Navy Pier ended up being about 2 and a half miles. This was just the beginning of our walking careers. In total we would walk dozens of miles on this trip.

Personally I did not know very much about the Navy Pier. I had never heard of it. But Dakota knew about the memorial and amusement park. We walked down the mile long pier, looking at all of the tourist attractions. This is where Dakota decided to get a fire department shirt from every city.besides doing a little souvenir shopping we didn't do very much. We played one round of mini golf, which I lost badly by the way.

After deciding not to see an IMAX movie we walked to the most important part of our visit to Chicago. We went to the Man vs. Food acclaimed Chicago-style pizza joint: Gino's East. There we ordered the 3 inch deep dish supreme pizza. The 6 inch wide pizza could have fed an army. It put any pizza I had had before to shame. It made me want to go to Papaurphy's and spit on their so-called Chicago-style. It was amazing

We took our large amount of leftovers and walked back. By this time we only had a few hours left before our train to Boston and we had to walk back a good 3 or 4 miles. Luckily the walk wasn't disinteresting because we walked through downtown and passed Willis Tower again. We grabbed our bags from the Hostel and walked the three blocks to Union Station. Our train left in the evening and would take about 22 hours to get there.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


The train to Chicago was not nearly as bad as the one to Minneapolis. We arrived at the railroad center of the country after only 8 hours. We played cards for most of the time. I am still beating Dakota consistently, though he is getting better.

Union Station was big, but sort of overwhelming. It is difficult to get a good look at a marble building in the middle of the city. I found it interesting how there were so few different names for train depots. On our itinerary I believe we go to 4 union stations and 2 or 3 Penn stations. The lack of ingenuity is surprising. Besides the name Union Station was interesting. It was very very busy. This was the first busy busy town that we would be in.

Right after we got off the train a homeless guy named John came up to us and offered to help us find our way. Being both scared and a little lost we agreed. As we walked with him towards a hostel I checked my Phone's directions. It took us a few blocks to realize we were going the wrong way. We thanked our guide and then went on our way.

We stayed at the AAE Parthenon Hostel. It was in Greek town and was owned by a fancy restaurant so breakfast was free. Our accomadations were interesting. We stayed in a dorm with 6 other guys. They were mostly nice, especially one fellow who we shared our cookies with.

After dropping our stuff we went to go check out Willis Tower. It used to be called Sears Tower. We decided to not go up it because when we entered a security guard said it was closed to the public except for a restaurant. Oh well. After grabbing some Subway we headed back to catch some zzzz's

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Sorry for the late update. The internet has been sketchy here and Dakota's tablet is not working out so well. I have a lot to talk about so bear with me. If you want pictures of the events described here check my Facebook. I'm the only Soren Underdahl on there.

The train... It was a very long trip. The food was subpar and expensive. I had a cup of noodles, a pepsi, and the chicken dinner during the 44 hours. I spent a grand total of 20 bucks for all of that disgusting food. I was lucky that I had overpacked on snacks and drinks. I had plenty of stuff to fill in the lacking parts of my diet. Granola bars, poptarts, and arizonas helped me live through the train. You may notice that I said the train trip was 44 hours long. Normally the train would have arrived at 7:05 on Saturday. Since my cousins wedding was at 4, this should have left us plenty of time to go to my Grandmother's (who we are staying with in Minneapolis by the way) and take a shower and rest up. Because of storms that closed the middle America train route a lot of freight was routed to the line that we were on. On multiple occasions our train stopped in order to allow another train to pass us. Freight takes priority I guess. This meant that we came into the Minneapolis/St. Paul station at 1:30 PM instead of 7 AM. 6 hours late...

Luckily we made it to the wedding just in time. Surprisingly the ceremony only took about 15 minutes. It was very short and rather untraditional. The minister was a woman who gave a lot of advice while conducting the ceremony. She talked to the newly joined couple and the audience and told them their responsibilities. My cousin and her groom looked very happy. We stayed for a very delicious dinner (I might add that even the Mcdonalds right next to the train station tasted like Ambrosia after the train food) but left before the cake was cut. All three of us (Dakota, my Grandma, and I) were very tired and needed some rest.

The next day was very eventful. After sleeping for a good 10 or 11 hours my Grandmother took us to the Back to the Fifties Car Show. It is the biggest car show of its kind. Grandma had a stand where she sold hobby stuff (she coowns a hobby business) so we got in for free. Dakota and I cruised the thousands of '64 and older cars that filled the Minnesota Fairgrounds. They were all quite amazing. I introduced Dakota to my favorite greek food. We had a lunch of Gyro's from Dino's. If you have never had a gyro you must try one. Delicious.

After the car show we went back to my Grandmother's house. She lives in Andover Minnesota which is a suburb of Minneapolis. We then went to the Coon River Dam on the Mississippi. It was a very interesting experience because we were able to observe a massive amount of matter moving quickly past the rubber dam. I am still not sure why it is called a "rubber" dam. It seemed like concrete to me. For dinner that night we had some of my Grandma's Lasagna. That was some good stuff.

Yesterday we visited my Great Grandparents. I had not seen them in a while and it was nice to visit with my oldest living relatives. Great Grandpa De's Grandpa was Soren Underdahl who moved here from Norway. He is my namesake. We had some chilly and yummy brownies made by my Great Grandma Betty. Unfortunately we did not procure any of her famous rice krispie treats because she was out of marshmallows. Alas, we still went away loaded with cookies and brownies.

After visiting for a few hours we headed over to the best known landmark in Minnesota, The Mall of America. I was impressed by it's size even though I had visited before. If you can imagine a 4 story Building with hundreds of stores, an amusement park, and an aquarium... It is quite impresive. The shops were mostly full of clothes and Dakota had to stop at every shoe store. I didn't end up buying anything but Dakota and my Grandma did.

The final thing we did yesterday was to visit Minnehaha falls. It was overflowing with water and the spray could be felt from quite a distance away. My Grandma had quite a few stories of her childhood in Minneapolis in this area. It was rather beautiful. Afterwards we ate dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. Yumm roadkill

Today has so far been very eventful. It is the 21st of June. This morning we went and visited a Sculpture garden that was extremely interesting. It wasn't the most famous sculpture garden here in Minnesota. The art looked like everyday objects hit by a tornadoe. They took abstract art to the extreme. The best part was that most of the art was interactive. We were encouraged to look and touch. On our way home the radio announce a tornado warning. Maybe it's lucky we are leaving tomorrow. Though I wish I could stay with my Grandma longer. The clouds were right above her house but luckily there was no touchdown.

Check on Facebook for more trip updates. Our next stop is Chicago. Wish us luck.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I finished packing today. My backpack feels like its full of bricks. I just hope I haven't forgotten anything. Oh well. I also booked Hostels for Chicago and Boston. The Boston hostel was extremely expensive. 40$ per night per person! It's still better than the 150$ hotel rooms though.

Tomorrow instead of taking the train from Albany Jenny is going to drive us up to Portland and drop us off. It's so nice of her. I am going to miss her terribly. :(. Especially the home cooked meals I just had! Chicken Fettuccine for the win!

I'm nervous. I will be gone for an entire month! It is crazy. Ugh. I hope this all goes well and we don't get shot or mugged or killed by a tornado. I think that last one is the most likely haha. Anyway. Expect a post every few days or so. Check Facebook for pictures.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Well the countdown says I have 4 more days until we leave. Dakota and I are going to spending the next 4 weeks traveling around the country by train. We will visit most major American cities on the east coast. It will be fun for sure.

Today we bought our train tickets. For a months worth of train travel 1604$ really isn't that bad. The only problems we had making reservations were: that we have to take a 9:45AM train to Portland to catch the 4:00PM train to Minneapolis (Any suggestions of what to do in Portland for five hours?), The train from D.C. to New Orleans will cost an extra 100$, our tickets to Montreal can't be reserved until Dakota gets his passport (ordered 6 weeks ago), and we might not even get to Minneapolis because of flooding.... That last one has me worried. Why couldn't the weather wait to be crazy until after our trip.

Anyway. Got to get packing. Looking for reminders on what to pack. There is so much stuff and I don't want to forget anything. Also check my brand new Facebook for updates and pictures!