Many who know me, have already heard all about the big train trip my youngest daughter and I took back in May when she was moving to New York to begin an internship on Long Island. While planning the trip, we decided we wanted to do something different and fun instead of simply jumping on a plane and flying up there and back… so we decided to take Amtrack from Houston to New York’s Penn Station. Here are a few of the lessons learned along the way… some are quite noteworthy, others might come in handy for you someday if you should decide to ride the rails instead of flying.
– First of all, a train trip is going to take much longer than flying, so be sure and work that into your schedule…its not the fastest way to get to a destination if you are in a hurry.
– When you take an overnight train trip, get a sleeping car ticket. Its worth every penny. We chose to have a sleeping car for the trip between New Orleans and New York, which was to last about 25 hours or so… But the sleeping car was not just for a place to stretch out… it was also the first class ticket of the train world… we had special boarding accommodations and a special lounge to wait in at the New Orleans terminal on the morning of our departure. The room’s cost was a single charge that covered two of us in the room… and it included all our meals in the train’s dining car! Not bad, because you have to eat something and there are not too many choices unless you bring your own sandwiches etc… We feasted on burgers, sandwiches, steaks, salads, omelets and much more… and didn’t even need to bring a wallet to the table with us.
– The sleeping car also provided us with our own private toilet while traveling… and shower facilities were available just down the hall..
– We got to meet some interesting folks in the dining car during meal times and up and down the narrow hallways to and from our room… One couple across the hall from us had brought some movies on DVD to watch while riding… they were nice enough to loan us a movie which we never even took the time to watch.
– Sitting facing each other in a space that is just barely big enough for two adults to stand or sit in sounds like it could become a problem in itself by the end of a long trip, but it wasn’t. In fact, it encouraged more communication between us than if we had been sitting side by side. We didn’t go stir crazy… we didn’t get tired of talking to each other…
– The most interesting lesson learned during the trip was when we got to discussing the things we were seeing out the windows as we rode along…. I was facing forward.. Andi was facing backward… So I would see a cool looking house or beautiful scene as we approached it… then she would get a good long look at it as we pulled away from it. We could each see the same distance ahead and behind, but yet for me seeing something in the distance getting closer, it took awhile for me to determine exactly what I was seeing… then by the time it was close enough to really see, it would zip right by and out of my view.. but then it was in her view and it stayed there until it faded out of site. We talked about how that was such a metaphor on life… we can’t really see into the future to know what is coming our way…until it is upon us. On the other hand, we can see our past very clearly… we can study it… we can hopefully learn from it…
I think that was the best lesson learned from the train trip.. that and the fact that men should probably sit down when using the restroom on board a train… otherwise it can get pretty messy.
Thats all for now…