Amtrak

Let's step away from all this technical stuff again.

I've ridden Amtrak a few times, all of them between Salt Lake and Ohio. When you've ridden trains for two days at a time, you get some experiences.

You meet interesting people. And if you're on a train with them for a day or two, conversation is inevitable. Surprisingly (or not), the majority of Amtrak's clientele aren't bums, hippies, and conspiracy theorists, but every day folks. Saw some Amish going west once. Had dinner with a lady from Boston who liked her "coawffee".

Then there's the security, or rather, lack of. You can travel 2,000 miles and not go through a single metal detector or get intentionally irradiated. (Although some are looking to change this.) A security officer might ask to see your photo ID and your ticket (along with everyone else's) when you're waiting for your connecting train. Of course, keep an eye out for anything suspicious. But if anyone hijacks a train, what would they do with it? "We're gonna take this train all the way to Lake Wobegon!" Oh. No.

On the longer routes, power outlets can be an issue. I remember getting on in Salt Lake once, and walking through at 3 AM, I'm trying to find a seat. I noticed that this one car doesn't have outlets spaced frequently. Next car, Boom! Outlets everywhere. "Find a seat," I'm thinking. "Ok there! Take it! Don't move from this seat! EVER."

The view is amazing. On an airplane, you can only see everything, but on a train, you are staring at everything up close. Going through Nebraska during the night, I went to the lounge car (the one with the big windows). Every 5 minutes or so, a dozen street lights of many small towns went by. You can see people fishing from their boats on the Colorado River; then they moon you.

Posted under Miscellaneous.

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