Well, almost three. Back from sort-of-a-vacation to California and back. Train, no plane, and an automobile.
We chose to take the train, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, to get to California. We went in style. Okay, we went in more style than we would have if we went coach. We got a Roomette, a small, private room with bunk beds. All meals on the train are included in the cost of the ticket, and let me tell you – train food ROCKS! This is the third trip we’ve taken on the train, the first two trips were both on the City of New Orleans, to NOLA.
The train is comfortable (if you are in first class); it’s as comfortable as a hard seat in a “vehicle” can be when you’re in it for 42 hours. You can get up and walk around. The bathrooms are comfortable, albeit small. The dining and lounge/observation cars are quite comfortable, and walking to them allows you to get some exercise. Much NEEDED exercise! When they stop the train for 10 or more minutes, they allow you to get off and get some air, take a walk or smoke, if you are so inclined. Then it’s back on for the ride.
One of my favorite parts of taking the train is the fact that you get to go through a lot of areas that you wouldn’t otherwise see if you were driving. It also creates a sense of appreciation for what you have when you ride through low-income areas and see the deplorable conditions some homes, sometimes entire towns, are in.
You also meet some interesting people. There was Shane, the welder from St. Louis, MO, who was headed to LA for a job. There was the nice couple from Ohio on their first train trip for a vacation to visit friends in San Diego. The elderly couple from Albuquerque that we had breakfast with on Monday morning, who cracked Dear Husband and I up. There was also a nice couple who lived in LA and were looking at buying their first home in the country so they could have a hobby farm. They asked a lot of questions about raising animals. There was also 158 Boy Scouts on their way to the Philmont Ranch in NM for two weeks, with all of their leaders and chaperones. WOW – THEY would tire me out! We avoided the lounge car while their were on, as they had taken over that car, as well as an entire coach car.
The train is fairly smooth riding. There is a rocking back and forth, but it’s not so bad. I actually find it comforting when I fall asleep. If you’re wondering, there IS a safety net for the top bunk, just in case there is a good jostling during the night.
The food? As I said previously – it rocks. The steak has been fantastic every time. My favorite breakfast: Railroad French Toast with sausage. Dessert? This time the specialties were pecan pie and peach cheesecake. DEEEE-LISH! Yeah, between the train and eating road food (and not getting in much exercise) this whole trip, I put on a few pounds. Thankfully, just a few – and back to eating good/smart with getting back to working out – will remedy the situation.
Tune in next time for: Fun in the High Desert!