Inspired by this thread. I have been fondly reminiscing all day about some of my long train trips, and I am sure some of you have tales to share, too.
My first trip ever on a train was when I was 3 or 4 - we went to my cousin’s wedding. It wasn’t far, (Yorkton, SASK to Vegreville, ALTA) but it was an overnight, and so we got a sleeper car. The only reason I remember that trip at all is the sleeper car had these hammocks for putting your clothes in, and I was so upset that I couldn’t sleep in a hammock like a pirate!
I remember another trip, when I was 18, from Brandon, MAN. to Kamloops, BC. I got carded in the bar car, and a couple of hours later, the bartender said to me “You have to finish that beer and get out - we’re about 10 miles from Saskatchewan.” I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Nope, he wasn’t. Guess who the bartender was just as we left Jasper, ALTA…
I also remember a few trips where I got to travel with my guitar - there is something just incredibly inspiring about the fast, rocking motion of the train coupled with the stillness of objects in the middle distance and the fenceposts just off the train whipping past in a regular rhythm. It instantly transforms even a mediocre player into Pat Metheny. Get a sleeper car, a day-nighter or a window seat on the right side of the train and try it out. You’ll be amazed…
I haven’t even begun to talk about the people, and how fun it is to share stories in the dining car, or late in the bar car or the old dome cars.
Even on the short runs, our current family vacation strategy is for one parent and both kids to ride the train, the other parent takes the car so that we end up with a car at our destination, but we haven’t had to deal with anything like the same level of “Are we there yet?” boredom from the kids. We’ve gone to Ottawa, Québec and Montréal that way - it’s fantastic.
Lordy, I love the trains. How about you folks?