The Train has Left the Station

_ Union Station- where people talk to themselves and wireless has yet to be invented._

The Obama Express is underway. Just before 1 pm today, we (Brooks graduate and Big Sur native Kodiak Greenwood is along for the ride with cameras in hand) rolled out of Santa Barbara's Amtrak Station and, after a few hours in the Heart of Darkness (i.e. Los Angeles), we are on our way via Amtrak's Southwest Chief train #4. Next stop Chicago- though that won't come until Saturday. It is a 44 hour haul from Union Station to the Windy City and from there another 17 hours on to Washington D.C. With any luck we should pull into our nation's capitol exactly 24 hours before Barack Obama becomes our 44th President.

On the way down the coast, I had the opportunity to chat with 23rd District Congresswoman Lois Capps about the historic day awaiting us on the other side of the Country. Just back in her office after a days work on Capitol Hill, Capps described the energy in D.C. as "pretty much off the charts right now." A veteran of three Swear-In ceremonies, Capps explained that, thus far, this one feels like a whole different story. "I've never seen anything like this before." she beamed.

And, after speaking with her, you get the feeling she isn't just referring to the historic pomp and circumstance about to go down in the District. Capps talked excitedly about work already underway at the National Resources Committee level to restore the teeth of the Endangered Species Act- something which the Bush Administartion reduced to a shadow of its former self- that might even be ready to be signed onto reality by Obama by the end of next week. As she put it, "Soon we will have someone in the White House who won't veto environmental legislation."

Similarly, Capps waxed optimistic about things like restoring/strengthening offshore oil moratoriums, establishing a national health care plan, and restoring America's role as a "strong and diplomatic" international leader. Clearly enthused to have a new Congress and a new President, a noticeably joyed Capps observed, "It really just feels like a team approach here now."

That's about it for now- time for a steak dinner in a diner car. Be sure to check back in as the Obama Express steams east towards history. Next stop Hyde Park and a few days of digging Obama's Chicago roots.

_ Journalist hard at work_

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