On April 22, 2017, Ashley Hendrickson, Kelly Robare and fifty fabulous FAIR trekkers traveled to Baldwin City, Kansas to ride the Kansas Belle Dinner Train and take in the USO show. It was a crisp, clear morning when we departed the Calvert parking lot and, fortunately for us, the good weather held throughout the day. We had several first-time travelers on board and many of our frequent flyers as well. Roger Cronk of Arrow Stage Lines piloted our deluxe motor coach and his wife, Mary, joined us, which is always a pleasure.
The ride to Baldwin City took just over four hours, with one stop for coffee and other necessities. FAIR travelers bring the party with them, so the time went quickly. Juice and rolls were savored while working the brain puzzles supplied in our travel goody bags. Mid-morning found us playing travel bingo, and our lucky winners received their choice of FAIR Program playing cards, screen cleaner, or shiny dollar coins. We also guessed the number of buttons in a jar, with the winner receiving a UBT coffee cup and Scooter’s gift card. Our activities, as always, were peppered with jokes, stories, and lively banter. Our travelers familiar with a locale are always great at pointing out popular attractions and bits of history, so we often have impromptu narratives on the drive-by scenery!
We arrived at Baldwin City in time to board the train and settle in for our nostalgic ride. The Kansas Belle is a long running (pun intended) business of 27 years and was formerly the Fremont Dinner Train before relocating to Kansas in 2012. We enjoyed a magnificent dinner in elegant cars filled with patriotic décor and war-era memorabilia. The veterans in our group were recognized and thanked for their service, which kicked off the USO show. The show was simply wonderful, with period costumes and slapstick, but the music was the real treat. The entertainers regaled us with such World War II classics as “I’ll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time,” “We’ll Meet Again,” and “Swinging on A Star.” We were treated to an extra-long performance as our engineer had to slow down due to routine track maintenance. We didn’t complain – we just enjoyed the show and the scenery.
The trip back to Lincoln brought more fun. We drove through picturesque Baldwin City and saw a bit of Baker University Campus before hitting the highway. On the road, we talked about upcoming FAIR events, shared amusing anecdotes and drew names for door prizes. We had several lively card games going as the group made good use of their Bingo prizes! We were a bit weary of sitting and in no hurry to return (most FAIR Travelers don’t have curfews) so we hit a couple of rest stops along the way. This gave our group an opportunity to move around a bit more, enjoying some ice cream or another delectable treat. We pulled into the Calvert parking lot still humming ‘40’s era tunes, content after another fun day of FAIR Travel. We hope next time you can join us!