Next Time, Try Power-Touring.

An interesting feature for a visit to Dodge City is the re-creation of what I guess would have been Main Street, circa 1885. In the summer, they have college kids dressed as gun-slingers wandering around to provide a little atmosphere.

Several years ago, I interrupted a cross-country ride on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief to hop off for a 24-hour look at Dodge City, Kansas. It was something I had wanted to do for some time. The Chief, you see, gets to Dodge City right around dawn . . . which is right around the time I’m waking up. 

On several early mornings over a number of years, as a passenger on the Chief, I’ve opened my eyes, gathered my wits and—wondering why we weren’t moving—raised up on an elbow and peered out the window. . . to discover were were sitting in the station at Dodge City, Kansas. 

On each of those occasions, as we started moving and were gathering speed, I could see a weathered wooden sign indicating the direction to Boot Hill, the cemetery where a host of would-be gunslingers are buried.

That’s where the idea for a power-visit was born. Why not structure my Amtrak ticket to include a one-day visit in a town like Dodge City  . . . where 24 hours would probably be enough time to check out the main attractions and if not, well,  I could always come back.

And so, on my very next trip to the East Coast—It was to a Spring meeting of the Rail Passengers Association—I made a stop in Dodge City on my way back.

I do think the concept of a 24-hour stopover is—for me, anyway—a good idea. It was just right for Dodge City and I’d like to do it again. (I’m thinking of Alpine, Texas, for the next one.) 

Actually, I did try it a second time . . . in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. I enjoyed that visit, but I’ll admit that a second night there would have been a better plan. There’s enough to see and do for a 48-hour visit.

The only downside to the idea is your total rail fare will be a little more because of the stopover. 

Well, actually, there is another potential issue with this concept. If, for some reason, you  wanted to spend 24 hours in Fargo, North Dakota, the westbound Empire Builder isn’t due there until 3:24 in the morning. Changing directions won’t help because the eastbound train gets there at 2:18 a.m.

Well, OK . . . nothing’s perfect. 

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Just Released!

A New Book by

Fifty stories from life and 350,000 miles of train travel.

  • Across the U.S. and Canada by train.   
  • London to Paris at 187 mph.      

  • An unexpected performance of Cats in Mongolia.
  • Goose bumps on a warm night in Red Square.
  • Spotting wild camels in the Australian outback.
  • Finding real cowboys in Hungary.

Now available in Kindle and paperback editions from Amazon.



This new book by Jim Loomis is a quick and easy read, full of interesting information about Hawaii that most people don’t know and are surprised to learn:

• There were actually two attacks by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor during World War Two

• There were real cowboys working on ranches in Hawaii *before* there were cowboys in Texas.

• Outdoor advertising (billboards) has been illegal in Hawaii for 100 years.

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All Aboard: The Complete North American Train Travel Guide

Fifty stories drawn from 300,000 miles of train travel. The latest version of Jim Loomis's acclaimed All Aboard: The Complete North American Train Travel Guide (4th Edition, 2015) is available in stores and online in both printed and electronic formats.
Chicago Review Press, 4th edition (Jan 2015)

Available in four formats:
Trade Paper, EPUB, PDF, and Mobipocket (for Kindle)
ISBN 9781569761823

Learn more about the book or order it now directly from Chicago Review Press.


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