In Celebration of Train Travel.
Yesterday I came across this wonderful little informal essay on Facebook, but I screwed up by not getting the writer’s name and therefore cannot give credit. Furthermore, I may be compounding the felony by reprinting it here without formal permission. That said, I do believe the writer would not object to my sharing his words and I will, of course, pass along his name should it be made known to me.
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Here’s what I wrote when a friend of mine teased me about not flying:
I prefer to travel on the ground. There is so much more to see on the ground. You’ve seen one cloud, you’ve seen them all.
I’ve seen things that can only be seen from a train. I’ve been in canyons and along rivers where the nearest road is 20 miles away.
I’ve been under mountains and skirted the edge of Puget Sound and the Great Salt Lake. I’ve followed the Colorado River for over 200 miles and been mooned by rafters on the river. I’ve ridden across Lake Pontchartrain on a narrow trestle bridge at sunset.
I’ve seen deer, elk, bears, beavers, wild burros and wild horses, mountain goats, bison, and once, I think, a mountain lion. I’ve watched Eagles soar on mountain winds.
I’ve made friends and heard stories and shared my own.
I’ve woken up in the Nevada desert and gone to sleep high in the Rockies. I saw the lake where the Donner party became infamous.
I’ve ridden the route Lewis and Clark followed and seen the wheel ruts left behind by the pioneers on the Santa Fe trail.
I’ve spent time in gloriously elaborate historic rail stations in Philadelphia, Kansas City, Washington DC, Seattle, New Orleans and Chicago and will add Los Angeles to that list this June.
I wouldn’t give up any of these memories just to get there faster… and be treated like cattle.
On the train you are a guest. You are treated as a guest. The crew actually takes pride in the service they give. The food is excellent and it’s included in the fare.
But the most compelling reason I travel by train is simply this: I love trains. Always have. Always will.