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I ended up taking Amtrak home today from Durham, because for long and convoluted reasons I had to leave little Go with the Mr. for this week. It was my second trip on Amtrak this year after a long hiatus, and I realized how much I've missed it.

The train was crowded, with regulars and fliers displaced by the snowstorms in the Northeast, but still roomy and relatively quiet. I'm sure the fare subsidy from NCDOT doesn't hurt the popularity of that route. Instead of roaring down I-95 with Fatboy Slim, Massive Attack, Pelican or, God help me, the B-52s blowing out my hearing, I sat serenely in near-silence, read the entire Sunday paper and spent a decadently long time doing the crosswords, and then tucked into some tasty articles and stories in Granta. All along the way I saw some gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous scenery, especially after Richmond as we rode in and out of the trees along the Potomac in the fading afternoon. The river was so wide at that point it looked more like a frosty-blue lake. I even got to see some snow falling, briefly, in Rocky Mount! Sigh... As we traveled north into Virginia, the snow on the ground got heavier and heavier. It was a welcome dose of wintry scenery after the hideous premature warmth of January.

Now if my seatmate hadn't plugged a skanky mango/passion/generic-tropical-fruit Glade air freshener into the seat-side outlet it would have been perfect. WTF was she thinking? That can't possibly be the use God intended when He inspired Amtrak's engineers to place outlets by every seat as a standard amenity, along with the lovely blue-green ocean-patterned upholstery.

Current Music: gospel, from somebody's laptop (briefly, thank God)

6 comments or Leave a comment
zemarkable From: zemarkable Date: February 13th, 2006 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
i LOVE train travel.

from Philadelphia, i've been to Chicago, Albuquerque, New Orleans (not recently), Cleveland (don't ask) and Iowa, some of these destinations more than once.

i love that i can look out the window, i love that i can read or write (neither of which i can do in a car), i love that they are less cramped than a bus...

what a nice trip.
riding into snow.
florafloraflora From: florafloraflora Date: February 17th, 2006 12:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Just now remembered to reply!

I love Amtrak too. Years ago, when it was cheaper, I took Amtrak all over the country: from Boston to Miami; from Boston to Chicago several times and once on to Wisconsin; from Chicago to New Orleans and from there to Atlanta and back to the Northeast; from Seattle to Eugene, OR (gorgeous scenery, mountains and even a dahlia farm); cross-country from Seattle to Boston (3 days! whoo!); and from DC to Montreal. Even now that it's more expensive I still take it as often as I can. There's no better way to travel, if you ask me. It's like cruising, without the seasickness
martip From: martip Date: February 13th, 2006 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I SO want to take a train trip. I never have. Sounds lovely, other than the idiot with the air-freshener.
florafloraflora From: florafloraflora Date: February 13th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Do it!

Marti, you have got to try Amtrak. They've renovated the coaches since I last rode, four years ago, and it's just a wonderful experience.
ottawabill From: ottawabill Date: February 13th, 2006 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Air-freshner phobia

Oh My Gawsh...we're going to Toronto next week and I will ahve to pray no one has heard of this idea...some of those air-freshners are hideous. I've never heard of this before...what is the world coming to...LOL
teotakuu From: teotakuu Date: February 13th, 2006 08:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I LOVE train travel. Do they have electric points for laptops? That was what ours needed so that I could work for more than an hour on an eight hour journey. Unfortunately they have taken ours off so I am SO jealous of you, apart from the Glade thing, that is.

Welcome to LJ flora3
6 comments or Leave a comment