Well, now that I have an internet connection at home, I figured it was time to do a full post on the train ride that I took just over a month ago.
I went from Provo, UT to Denver, CO. The trip lasted just over 15 hours. Which, according to Google maps, isn't all that much longer than driving there. And I didn't have to drive!
Anyway, I took notes along the way as I thought of things that I really enjoy about train rides. This list isn't in order of preference or importance, but just in the order that I thought of things.
So here goes:
1. People on the train aren't worried about quickly getting to their destination. They are enjoying the journey. If you smile at them, they smile back. And there's no hint of the "are you psycho?" look that I often get on planes.
2. Infants and young children aren't as much of a nuisance. Frazzled mothers who have been awake all night with their children can actually pick the kids up and walk through the cars in an attempt to comfort the children. It makes a big difference.
3. The train conductor from Utah to Colorado would occasionally come on the loudspeaker and mention points of interest, turning the train ride into a semi-guided tour. For example, he mentioned when we were passing through Cisco, UT, which has a population of 1. Yes, one. When we got to Ruby Canyon, on the Colorado River, he mentioned that the only way through this canyon was either by train or on a raft. He had a particular way of speaking that made you think he was just pausing for a moment when he's really done with that particular announcement. It was hilarious.
4. No motion sickness like I get on boats or sometimes in cars. No air sickness. Just a soothing rocking motion. I actually fell asleep a couple times, only to wake myself up when I started snoring. I should mention here that I can't normally sleep on planes or in cars. Don't know why, but it's not one of my talents.
5. There's no big security fuss to go through. The train stops, they check your ticket, and you get on. It's that simple. They stopped for about 15 minutes, at the most, in Provo.
6. I could bring my own food and drinks! Lots cheaper than prices in airports.
7. No seat belts. I could get up at any time and stretch my legs or go to the bathroom.
8. The leg room was amazing! I once found myself wishing that the seat in front of me was a little bit closer so that I could reach and use the foot rest and the fold down tray a little easier.
9. Tunnels! I'm a big fan of tunnels. There were many on the way through the Rockies. One was a 6.2 mile tunnel. It was fairly close to Denver.
10. The lounge and dining cars. The lounge car had large windows and seats that faced out the windows. You can just sit and take in the sights or converse with other passengers if you've the urge. The dining car was a little expensive, and they have assigned seats, but it was nice to get a hot meal.
11. Train moved fairly quickly, but still slow enough to enjoy the sights. Some of the things I found interesting and saw along the way include: Ducks, Canadian geese, a wild turkey, rabbits, a prairie dog, a bluejay, a golden eagle, river rafters (the younger ones mooned the train), and Juicy Lucy's steakhouse in Glenwood Springs, CO.
So if I get the chance, and have the time to spare, I will absolutely travel by train again. I think it's my favorite mode of travel now.
If you get the chance, take a train trip. It's wonderful!
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