I’ve been on a train that goes by the name Coast Starlight and it took me to Seattle.
Yes a train.
Unfortunately traveling by rail has become more of a curiosity and novelty in todays fast paced modern, oh so wonderful world.
Tell a person you’re taking the train and you almost have to remind them of what a train is and that it is possible to use them for personal transportation. Some won’t believe you and suggest that only animals, lumber, and nuclear waste can take the train.
For them there is the plane.
Well I’m sick of planes — being crammed, shoulder to shoulder, in long pressurized tubes with stale air being forced into my lungs. No room to move except when the old lady next to me has to use the bathroom, for the third time.
And why is it that I can’t get a full bottle of water on a plane? There’s plenty of Coke, beer, tomato juice (well not really, the best a plane’s galley can ever muster is Bloody Mary Cocktail Mix — which tastes more like marinara sauce than juice) but damn if they will give you an entire bottle of water.
Ask for water, the substance of life, and the stewardess just smirks and hands you the 4oz. sample bottle that a group of airline industry suits deemed appropriate as the required portion of water required during flight.
Then there is always the thought that this aircraft might make breaking news. Before every flight I can forsee the fiery end as the wings snap off, oxygen masks drop, and the captain tries, oh how he tries, to both calm the passengers and fight the control stick to regain lift with no wings:
‘Boong, Uh, ladies and gentlemen this is your captain speaking, Uh, we have been asked to, uh readjust our altitude a little, today we’ll be fliying at an altitude of 125ft. … if you feel your head going numb it might be a good time to take a little nap. So, uh, sit tight and enjoy the ride, the flight attendants will be around shortly to serve life jackets. Boong doong.’
Back on land, train travel comes with none of these problems or concerns, especially when riding in style aboard the Coast Starlight. I have more to expound on the matter of train travel but this entry is already too long and I must get on with this vacation.
However, before I leave just one word of caution about rail travel, the one chink in the planes vs. trains armor, make sure you have time to travel. Trains are notoriously late and the problem has plagued the industry for years — for instance, we pulled into Seattle four hours behind schedule.