Bailey Elementary teacher traveling with 29-person family by trainBailey Elementary Early Childhood and Family Education teacher Cathy Feltes will be leaving July 24 for a cross-country train trip with her family of 29 – herself, her three sisters, her brother, her father, 17 nieces and nephews and 11 “spouses and siblings” – to Whitefish, Mont.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Editor’s note: This is the second in a series chronicling Woodbury teachers’ summer plans. If you are a Woodbury teacher with interesting or unique summer plans contact the Woodbury Bulletin at email@example.com.
For most teachers, summertime is a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and family and this summer Bailey Elementary Early Childhood and Family Education teacher Cathy Feltes will be taking that idea to the extreme.
Feltes, of Prescott, Wis., will be leaving July 24 for a cross-country train trip with her family of 29 – herself, her three sisters, her brother, her father, 17 nieces and nephews and 11 “spouses and siblings” – to Whitefish, Mont.
“It was my dad’s idea – he said he wanted to do something like this,” Feltes said. “There’s not a single person that’s not going.”
The group of travelers is varied in ages. The youngest grandchild is 2 years old, the oldest grandchild is 27, and the oldest traveler is 72.
“There’s lots of different ages,” Feltes said. “There’s some similarities, a lot of differences too.”
It was about two years ago that Feltes first started discussing a potential trip with her family.
It was Feltes’ dad who suggested the idea of taking a train trip.
“When he was a kid he had done something similar to this and he wanted to do it again,” she said. “My whole family kind of all likes the train.
“I think it’s very peaceful and quiet when you’re riding along with just the sound of the tracks.”
Feltes said her favorite part of the train is eating in the dining car.
“It just seems so old world,” she said. “This used to be the normal way people traveled years ago and now it’s just neat to try.”
Feltes took it upon herself to organize the train trip.
“My dad wanted to do this, so I said ‘Why don’t we do it and just start looking into it,’” she said. “I basically volunteered to be the leader, which is turning into a little bit of a headache.”
Feltes said her job as a teacher has helped keep her organized.
“I’m a teacher, so I feel like I’m organized,” she said. “I do a lot of forms, I make a lot of lists – it’s probably almost obsessive compulsive.”
Feltes and her family will all leave from the Red Wing Amtrak Train Station.
“The trip itself takes almost exactly 24 hours,” she said.
Feltes said the group of 29 should be able to all share the same car, since they made a group reservation, however the group will not be riding in sleeper cars.
“To get enough sleeper cars for 29 people would be a little pricey,” she said. “I’m not looking forward to sleeping in my seat.”
Once the group arrives in Whitefish, they will be split up among three different condo resorts.
Activities planned include zip lining, riding a giant alpine slide, eating breakfast atop a mountain, white water rafting and horseback riding.
“Not everyone will do every activity,” she said.” I’m excited about that zip line thing because I’ve never done it. I’m kind of excited to try that.”
Neighboring Glacier National Park, however, is the big destination.
“The reason we’re going to (Whitefish) is that my dad wants to visit Glacier National Park again,” she said. “He visited there when he was a kid and he wanted to relive that trip.”
Feltes said she is not expecting to have any major issues on the trip.
“I’m going to be ready for drastic mood swings, probably mostly for the teenagers I’m guessing,” she said. “But, I feel like I have it pretty well planned out so that we’ll be in good moods most of the time.”
Feltes said the aspect of the trip that she is most looking forward to is being able to spend time with her family.
“I love to travel, I would travel every month if I could,” she said. “But, I’m kind of just looking forward to being able to hang out and just talk with my sisters for longer than an hour – just being able to talk to people in the family uninterrupted.”