Wednesday, August 10, 2011

B is for Baggage

Baggage: suitcases, trunks and personal belongings of travelers.
[According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary]

Take a long-distance train ride and travel alone. Check and check. On Sunday, July 31st, I boarded an Amtrak train as a single rider at 3:30 am heading to Boston, Massachusetts. The trip was scheduled to last a good, long 17 hours, and though there were some complications, (which are further detailed in B is for Bus) I must say that I was not disappointed with the train. First off, so I board at 3:30 in the morning and I’m already pretty wore out from the day’s activities, so I’m ready to just get on and sleep. Of course I got paired with a random rider since I was traveling alone, but the man in the window seat was crashed out. At least he was in his own seat and not sprawled out into mine as well. It was a bit awkward though because he had a jacket over his head and upper-half so I couldn’t tell a thing about this guy. That’s fine though. All I wanted to do was sleep, and I realized why Mystery Man had his coat on his head - the emergency overhead lights kept the cabin pretty lit up. No matter - I fell asleep in an instant once I was all covered up too.
So next thing I know I’m awake, it’s about 6 AM and the sun is rising. It was pretty sweet to see that from the train but I was still pretty tired and tried to go back to sleep - and by that I mean pretty much just laying there with my eyes closed. I have to compliment this train though, because seriously, these seats were pretty amazing. They were probably better than first class plane seats because they were so cushiony and give you so much leg-room! There was even this little leg rest thing that propped up like a recliner would and the seats leaned back pretty far too. So nice! Anyways Mystery Man wakes up and moves around a little. I think he got off at the next stop and no one filled his spot so I had probably an hour or so to sleep laying down in both seats. It was glorious. Both seats combined with the leg rests out was like the size of a small bed - enough for me to curl up comfortably anyways. Just what I needed to get some rest from the day before. It didn’t last too long though, because the spot was filled at the next stop.
Now if you read B is for Brave, you’ll know that one of my goals was to have a nice friendly chat on the train with a stranger. Enter Gloria, a cute grandma traveling home to New York after her granddaughter’s bridal shower. Gloria and I chatted for a good couple of hours or so about everything from family to politics and from the job markets to our life adventures. Then I had to go check out the dining car and grab some 'real' food for lunch. Though I wasn’t overly impressed with the food options and all that, I wasn’t disappointed either. The vegan burger I ordered filled me up and tasted pretty good too. I mean as good as you can get from a microwavable bag on a train. The most interesting thing I found to be, though, were the bathrooms. I can’t tell you how awkward it was to be in there with the train rocking around on the tracks all over the place - definitely easier on an airplane, though the train's was more spacious. Anyways that about sums up my first train riding adventure. Be sure to check back for the next part of my trip!

-~- B.

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