Aspen, Part 1 – Amtrak

The Aspen adventure was the training trip to prepare for the 2018 expedition across the Greenland Ice Cap to  raise awareness for autism. (I discovered a Swedish group already did the exact expedition, also to raise awareness for autism, just last year. I contacted them to discuss specifics, but it actually dampened my enthusiasm for recreating the same trip, not unless we could tie it to the melting of the Greenland ice – global warming, or something to make our trip unique…

Back to Aspen: the team is mostly composed of staff from Ascendigo,, a sports camp for autistic individuals, located near Aspen in the town of Carbondale, Colorado.

I  and the only other autistic member, Paul, whose brainchild this expedition was, took Amtrak, my first trip to Colorado ever, and my first real train ride in the United States.

In fact, this was the first time in many years I left my room to go somewhere like this. Sure, I go out to get food, etc.; but a trip like this was a major undertaking for me, both in physical and mental preparation.

There was a large group of Mennonites on the train, and I vaguely remembered something about them not usually flying in planes; so I just Googled it, and, here, from

To clarify, some Amish will not ride in cars. But many Amish think nothing of hiring a driver to take them grocery shopping or on a hunting or fishing trip.

What’s the difference between owning a car and riding in someone’s car? They fear that owning cars and traveling at will could pull the community apart. The horse and buggy signifies the separation of being “in” the world, but not “of” the world. Families and neighbors should stay at home, work together, eat together and play together for the sake of the community. Traveling by tractor is accepted in the less conservative orders of the Amish, but again, many tractors don’t go much over 20 miles per hour.

Amish taxi drivers are often Mennonites.

By the way, Amish do go on vacation, usually by van, bus or train. They do travel on long trips to Florida or the western US, but they rarely fly unless there is a medical emergency. Air travel is not allowed by the more conservative orders.

Taking pictures of the Colorado River,  I got a nice picture of a Mennonite woman reflected in the train window.

I even managed to sleep some that night (25 hour train ride), thanks to a dose of Benadryl.

I also brought my squishies – I even took pictures of the orange bracelet one going along for the ride.

Next: Aspen, Part 2, Arrival.





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