Saturday, July 21, 2012

Train Travel

I’m about to board a train – to do some traveling – and I’m thinking about trains and how much I love them!
by Charlie Leck

I’m on my way to see a couple of my grandkids and their parents. Then I’ll be off to visit a daughter in the Big Apple. Then into Pennsylvania to visit my two brothers. I’m waiting to board an AmTrak train (the Empire Builder) as I write this. I’ll spend 60 hours riding trains in the next week. I have sleeping rooms arranged, so I’ll be comfortable even though the travel is slow. I’ll be able to get up and walk around. I’ll sit in the observation car for a while and I’ll spend time in the dining car. I’ve got some good books loaded on to my iPad, a copy of the day’s paper, and a writing pad.

What more does a fella need? Perhaps, a glass of wine a bit later!

I’ll keep you posted from the road.

Since today is Saturday, I’ll try to catch Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me on the radio and, after that, Radio Lab. I brought a little, gadget radio along and I’ll see if it works on the train. Tonight I’ll be having dinner with two granddaughters, a daughter and a son-in-law in their new home.

I got used to train travel when I lived in Europe as a young man for awhile. I so hoped the U.S. would catch up to our allied European nations when he came to train travel, but, alas, it seems like something our national leaders can’t get their collective heads around.

Train travel is growing more popular as air travel gets so much tackier than it used to be. The train I'm about to get on is completely sold-out. The airlines have taken the fun out of flying – and charge us ridiculous rates to handle us like stray animals when we travel with them. I don’t like sitting shoulder to shoulder with strangers. Nor do I like some strange person in front of me, lowering his seat into my lap and stealing from me most of what little space I have.

The conductor on the train still calls me “sir” and asks me if I’d like him to make a dinner reservation for me. And, if I accept his offer, he’ll get it done with a wide, bright smile on his face. At dinner time, he’ll knock on my door and tell me my table is ready.

AmTrak is not as good as the elegant TGV in France, but it’s one heckuva lot better that being stuffed into one of Delta’s regional jets.

They’re calling for us to board now. I’ll write more tomorrow.

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1 comment:

  1. Who's your traveling companion. Makes train travel attractive.