Perhaps the simplicity of rhyme is what caused me to think of riding on a train today: rain-train. Or maybe it was the sound of the water drumming on a metal roof that reminded me of our train journey from Portland, Oregon to West Glacier, Montana and back.
Whichever it was, I perused my photos from the train and was surprised to find a collection of landscape shots from our ride home. Shot through the windows of a moving train in the low light of sunrise with a Canon 40D and the Canon 17-55mm EF-S f/2.8 lens, I’m pretty amazed I managed to get any shots at all.
Riding on the train was quite an adventure. It seemed so easy–you hop on the train at one station and, eventually, hop off at another. The lines were short, access to the stations were easy, and it took us right to our destination, unlike a plane.
There were a couple of down sides. First, the 14 hours spent on the train each way. Second, the seats were described as reclining with leg rests, so we didn’t book a bedroom. That turned out to be a big mistake.
The reclining seats didn’t recline far enough. The foot rests were made for someone under 4 feet tall. On me, the footrest ended just below the knee and left my feet dangling until gravity pulled them back to Earth with the footrest jamming me in the back of the thighs.
On the way back, we managed to add a “roomette.” It was a little private cabin for just the two of us. We faced each other while we rode and when it was bed time, a Porter (or is that on a ship?) came and helped us convert our seats into two bunk beds with sheets and pillows. It was pretty impressive.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure traveling by train in a sleeper car is cost effective for most locations, but it is a nice way to get to remote places. We both got to enjoy the scenery when there was scenery.
I think it would take some time to get used to sleeping on a train, however. Even with our flat bunk beds (which were a vast improvement over the reclining seats), the train rocked side-to-side and we were lying lengthwise to the car. I had this constant sensation I was going to rock out of the bed.
The next morning, we woke early and headed up to the dining car. It was one of those big, glass bubble cars that allows you to see the whole landscape. I could have sat there all day, but we only had a couple of hours after sunrise before we arrived back in Portland.
Taking the train was low stress and allowed us to see some things we would have missed from a plane. If time and money were not factors, I would probably always choose the train over a plane.