Planning a Train Trip is Half the Fun.
I’m going to be attending the annual Spring meeting of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) next April in Washington, DC. As is my habit—and, of course, it’s my preference—I’ll fly to the West Coast and take Amtrak from there. Likewise, when I leave Washington, I’ll take the train back to the West Coast before flying home to Maui. The fun comes when I look for places of interest where I can stop off for a day or two when traveling to and from Washington.
One of the possible itineraries I worked up was to take the Southwest Chief from Los Angeles to Chicago, the City of New Orleans from Chicago down to New Orleans for a couple of days of good food and great music, and then the Crescent from there to Washington.
And that’s when I had a moment of inspiration: Wouldn’t it be fun to take the luxury train operated by Pullman Rail Journeys from Chicago to New Orleans? Several times a month, this company adds a sleeper, a lounge car, and a diner onto the Amtrak train and their passengers travel overnight to New Orleans in style: gourmet meals in the diner, relaxing in comfort with other passengers in the lounge car, and a comfortable night’s sleep in the classic sleeping car. Yes, it’s pricey, but single occupancy roomettes are not that bad and, besides, NARP members get a 10-percent discount.
The only problem would be timing: the company only runs those wonderful old cars a few days each month and they would have to be operating on a very specific date in order for me to get to Washington in time for the meetings.
So I went on line to the Pullman Rail Journeys web site and . . . WOW! The timing was perfect! The Pullman cars would be part of the Amtrak consist on the very night I was planning to leave Chicago.
Then … disappointment. According to the web site, there were no roomettes available on that specific night. It appeared that the only accommodations left were bedrooms that sleep two persons. Since there would only be me, and since the price for the double bedroom was more than $1,100, that’s not going to work.
OK … now I’m looking for a Plan B. Maybe I’ll take the eastbound Zephyr and stop for a couple of days in Glenwood Springs. And I could go back on the Southwest Chief, but get off in Dodge City. Boot Hill is just up the street from the station there.
See why I like train travel so much? You really can’t do stuff like that when you fly!