Train In The Distance

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.


6 thoughts on “Train In The Distance

  1. My husband is from a long line of railroad men. Train travel for that reason alone seems like something we should try. Plus it seems so wonderfully romantic. Sounds like I need to do some investigating beforehand though. I don’t want to feel packed like a sardine!

    • We were in a sleeper car, and it was never really a sardine feeling. More that once we got on that double decker, I felt impossibly unstable. The sway at that height completely messed with my vestibular system, and I’d go to sleep convinced I was going to bounce right out of my cot only to wake up convinced we were climbing (and therefore on the brink of plunging over) a narrow mountainside. This happened once in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Scott and I laughed about it all afternoon.

  2. Jessie, MTM and I still try to ride the train. The experience is just as you describe it. His Mom lives outside Tampa. The station there is also glorious, and we are always afraid it will close. Claustrophobia and trains must be tough.

    • Only at night in the bunks. I’ve seen the Tampa station (never arrived by rail) it’s absolutely beautiful. Train stations are so much more beautiful than airports. I wish the same kind of architecture went into both buildings.

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