|Chicago's Union Station|
If passenger rails still threaded this country, I would never fly again. It was that wonderful an experience.
We traveled by train from Toledo, Ohio (our nearest Amtrak station) to Chicago, where we boarded the Empire Builder to Oregon. As a nod to my health and energy levels, we bought a roomette. (More about it later.)
We have traveled by train before, but never so far for so long. We left Toledo in the early morning, after a very short night and a two hour drive from our home. I thought briefly of napping on the five hour trip to Chicago. But as the train rolled through the dark, I caught a glimpse of someone standing in their kitchen, the yellow light of the room spilling out into the still, dark morning and I could not go back to sleep.
As I mentioned, we bought a roomette for our travels. An adventure in micro-living if ever there was one, a roomette requires two adults to live in a space in which one youth might comfortably take up residence. It taught me a lot about packing light and being compact in how much space one takes up. Fortunately, Warren and I are highly compatible travelers (no surprise), so we made the roomette work with a great deal of laughter and love. While a roomette adds to the cost of travel, it includes hot showers (a wonderful luxury), linens, and all meals, which on Amtrak are substantial and excellent. (There is a full galley on a dining car, and the food is cooked right there on the train.) I don't think Warren and I stopped smiling from the time we got on the train in Chicago, we were so pleased.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, like E.B. White, also spent a lot of time on trains, even after she took to the air. In a letter to her younger sister, written while en route from the east to Mexico City (where her father was the US Ambassador), she wrote, "Tonight all through supper, having ordered baked apple with cream (I hesitated between that and cornflakes), I regretted the cornflakes. And it occurred to me later that life might so easily be that eternal "If only I'd ordered cornflakes—"
At breakfast, I contemplated the hot crab cakes versus the Amtrak french toast. I chose the french toast. It was magnificent.
I did not once regret the crab cakes.
|Sunrise over the Columbia River Gorge|