Friday, August 5, 2011

Stuff I've Learned About Train Travel

  1. Spring for a spot in the sleeper car. It's a little more expensive, but on a trip with two overnights, an actual bed with a blanket on it is well worth having. Also, meals are included in the price of the ticket and they have special activities for sleeper car passengers, like wine-and-cheese tastings.
  2. Those packages of moist towelettes are awesome! It's not the same as an actual shower, but they sure made me feel better.
  3. I'm not so sure how I feel about dry shampoo. I may not have done it right.
  4. The Great Plains are vast and seemingly unending.
  5. Glacier National Park and the nearby Flathead River are beautiful.
  6. The Border Patrol checks everyone out in Havre, MT. I'm not sure that there's anything else going on in town.
  7. The Columbia River Gorge is awe-inspiring. I'd like to see it next by boat.
  8. Don't count on the train to travel 2300 miles without any delays, especially if it has to go through a place that was very recently under five feet of water. My train arrived 6 hours late to Portland.
  9. The food in the dining car was only alright, but better than what was available in the sightseeing car. The Amish folks got it right by packing their own meals in a cooler. Had I done that, it would have been my best chance for any kind of a vegetable.
  10. The coach car attendants are fantastic people. They had to put up with a lot of crap from people who were unhappy about how far behind schedule the train was. Like it was their fault, or something. I know I couldn't do their job and keep a civil tongue in my head. (Mary, if you see this, thanks for being so great!)
  11. The Mississippi River in Minnesota is just gorgeous, and I'm glad I got to see it at sunset. It was the end of a great first day on the train.
  12. A sweater is a good thing to have. Even better things to have: a neck pillow and a blanket. Or possibly a Snuggie, but I wouldn't be caught dead in one. Unless I were being ironic, or something, and anymore I just can't be bothered.
  13. Most of my fellow travelers were very nice people. Many of them were very chatty. Headphones and pointy sticks mostly insured my solitude. One guy, upon discovering that I was from Kentucky, told me a dirty joke about a horse named "My Face." I avoided him thereafter.
  14. The trip would have be infinitely better had my husband been with me.

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