More Questions and Some Answers.
Q: When you travel with your wife, I understand you prefer two roomettes in a Superliner to one of the big bedrooms. Why is that? The roomettes are tiny by comparison.
A: Yes, they are. There may be a larger bed in the Superliner bedroom, but it’s still just a little wider than an ordinary twin bed, so it’s actually pretty narrow for two people. That means someone still has to crawl up into the upper berth which is—for me, anyway—borderline claustrophobic. With two roomettes, one of you has privacy if you want it … or can turn in earlier that the other. But the main reason is you get to see out of both sides of the train. Of course you don’t have the convenience of the en suite lavatory, but for me it’s just not that big a deal to use the facilities “down the hall.” Finally two roomettes are often marginally less expensive than one of the bedrooms.
Q: Seriously, how do you pass the time on one of the long-distance train rides?
A: For me, time flies when I’m on a long-distance train. I observe the passing scenery. I enjoy meeting other passengers during meals in the dining car. I read my Kindle. I write about the trip on my laptop for emails to my wife and for posts on my blog. And I listen to music—Hawaiian music, especially when I’m heading back home.
Q: I’m taking my first cross-country train ride this Spring, but I’m not real good at meeting people. I don’t know what to talk about. Can I have the car attendant bring my meals to my roomette?
A: Sure you can, but please, please don’t do that! You’ll be missing out on one of the best things about train travel. Here: I’ll give you the first few things so say:
-Good morning! May I join you? My name’s Jim.
-Where are you folks headed?
-Where did you get on?
-How are you enjoying the ride so far?
That’ll get you started and—trust me—you’ll be old friends by the end of the meal and the dining car steward will have to ask you to move to the lounge car because other passengers are waiting to be seated.