Riding The Rails On An Outbound Train
If you haven't ever traveled by train, you have missed the boat.
Traveling by rail is still as romantic, relaxing and fun as it ever was, although considerably more comfortable. When my children were about ten and seven, I took them on an Amtrak train from Utah to California and back. I'd planned on driving out; it's a little faster, but then I considered the options. If I drove, I'd be a single woman with two young kids driving a long distance. There would be constant requests for stops, bathroom breaks, gas station candy, possible flat tires/wear and tear on the car, the kids would be restless and fight, I'd be tired, and we wouldn't really get to enjoy much of the scenery off the road. Taking the train meant that I wouldn't have to drive; I could relax and play with the kids, instead of scolding them to behave. It meant meals onboard, seeing landscapes we'd never be able to see from the highway, relaxing and enjoying each other and the thrill of a train ride. I bought them both little backpacks complete with cameras and journals, and talked about our trip with them. They were very excited. We had a sleeper car, so there was some room to stretch out and rest. Sleeping in a bed on a train while it moves down the track is a true indulgence. There are showers on the train (which is in itself a new experience in adventure), a cafe car with windows going all the way up into the roof for good views, beverages, games and activities. One of the kid's fondest memories of the train was the dining car. Mealtimes on a train are an event. It isn't just sitting down to eat; there is enough style and elegance to it that it feels special and timeless. Our regular server was a wonderful woman we will never forget, and she made the occasions even more exceptional. It was one of the best experiences we've ever had traveling. It may take a little more time, but in today's rushed world, having a little more time with people you care about, taking a bit longer to get to your destination while relaxing and enjoying the scenery, and getting off the beaten path by rail is an experience that is well worth the endeavor. If you haven't taken the train before... pack your bags and head for the door; there's a whistle calling your name.