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I’m leaving for a week or so for my 5,000 mile tune up at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Many of you know that I’m a train buff (it rhymes with my last name) and that I take the Empire Builder to Minnesota. It always surprises me how many patients I run into out there who are from Montana, especially the eastern part of our state. I’ve often been asked how I get to Rochester on Amtrak when the train’s closest stop to Rochester is in Winona, Minnesota. Luckily there’s a van/shuttle service, Specialty Tours, that meets both the eastbound and westbound Empire Builder seven days a week. They meet the morning train from the west at 10AM and the evening train from the east at 8 in the evening. There’s always plenty of passengers either coming or going to Mayo. Often times, there will be seven or eight coming in on the evening train from Chicago. It’s been fun riding with Specialty Tours. The Rochester based shuttle service is owned by Dan Moulton, a practicing Rochester attorney. It’s been even more fun getting to know Dan-The Van Man. If running a shuttle service and practicing law isn’t enough for this barrister,  the man also owns and operates a chinchilla ranch a few miles outside of Rochester. Dan tells me that he has around 800 chinchillas on site at the ranch and they keep him more than busy. As many of us know, ranching is a tough and demanding occupation whether it’s cows or chinchillas! My only hope is that I get good medical results this visit and that I don’t end up  in the same place where Dan’s chinchillas end up. Enough said on that. If you are planning to take the train to Minnesota for a Mayo Clinic visit, I encourage you to give Specialty Tours a call (507 282 8673) ahead of time for pickup and delivery at Winona Amtrak. Then sit back, relax, and ride the rails.

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