For our honeymoon, Scott and I took the train to Denver, then rented a car to go in a giant circle, ending in the Mile High City once again. In two weeks, we drove, rode, or slept through thirteen states. (Travel tip? For Christ’s sake don’t do that. Take more time, OK?)
Amtrack from Cincinnati to Chicago was awesome. We took a Pullman and ate in the dining car. From Chicago to Denver? Less so. We were on top of a double decker, and my motion sickness never once relented. My body was sure the train was climbing into the mountains when it was on the flat plains of Nebraska. I slept poorly, we overpacked, and Amtrack will never get anyone anyplace on time ever.
And yet? Magic. When I stepped down and felt myself still swaying like I’d just gotten off a boat, all I wanted was to climb back up and ride on to the next station.
Cincinnati’s Union Terminal is a phenomenal location, and every year I fear the trains will stop running. It was worth a 2:12 AM (delayed from 10:15 PM) departure to be in that building at night, without the buzz of the museum/ event center it has become. Denver’s station is equally compelling.
Our families are railroad heavy. One of my great grandfathers was the superintendent of the L&N Line. Scott’s grandfather shoveled coal to power a steam engine in Vermont. We were both raised dreaming of tickets and cabooses. Steeped in the romance of steam trumpet whistles and train horns.
So that whole trip was like coming home for us. I want to do it again, only without the part where we have to stop riding at the end. Conductor, punch my ticket. Take me home.