Midnight Train to Georgia

Sharon October 26th, 2009

Thanks, everyone, for the wonderful music suggestions for my journey!  Remember, if you are in the Macon area, I’ll be at Mercer University, speaking about energy and ecology and our collective crisis.  I’m a completely new talk about how to personal responses -  and their political implications, and a variation on one I’ve done before, both on Friday.  There is still time to register for the conference – more info here: http://www2.mercer.edu/caring/about.htm.  I’m really looking forward to meeting people – I think this is going to be an exciting and important event.

Also, I’m returning to Albany via Amtrak on Sunday afternoon, but husband and children will be elsewhere, and cabs always hate going out as far as my place - if anyone would like to barter a ride from Albany-Rens train station to Knox, for, say, space in one of my classes or something else I’ve got, email me at [email protected] – I’d love to trade.



8 Responses to “Midnight Train to Georgia”

  1. Suzon 26 Oct 2009 at 8:24 pm

    We discovered a great secret – please don’t tell everyone Sharon. Train travel is much better than air travel. We have done our past two holidays on long distance trains with a five year old, train mad boy. The first long haul was 16 hours each way. He loved it. Even at the end of the journey, a full day on a train, he said that, yes, it was much better than flying. Why? “You can see more, you can walk around more and you don’t have to wear a seatbelt.” We had no electronic entertainment, just a few games, books, a picnic, little toys and a great big window with ever changing scenery. As for the adults, where else do you get to sit for such an extended time with nothing to do? We talked, we read, we slept a little and we caught up on some crafts, arriving refreshed at our destination. Some were shocked that we would choose to travel this way instead of flying, but it is now our first choice, where available. So please don’t tell everyone how great train travel is, Sharon, or else they’ll all want to do it!

  2. Mike Cagleon 26 Oct 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Suz, I think Amtrak’s ridership is up, and I bet (and hope) it’ll continue to increase. Hopefully this may help them in trying to get funding — or resist cuts! I love the train, too — for the same reasons your son mentions. (I was a five-year-old train nut myself, when my family moved from southern California to southern Indiana — taking the train for that journey!) Plus the seats are much more comfortable than in airplanes. And, you meet people. Especially in the dining car, where they seat you with strangers. I’ve met some interesting people that way. One thing I like to do is sketch the characters aboard, or sit in the observation car, looking out the window and sketching the landscape. I have to say, though, that the trip from Chicago to LA is pretty long (almost 2 days) — and at about the 85% point, I feel a bit drained, and ready for it to be over (and ready for a shower)! But later, I remember mainly the fun parts and not so much the annoying parts — and I think, “yeah, I’d like to do that again!”

  3. Shambaon 27 Oct 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Safe travels, Sharon! Trains are lovely to travel in I think.

    Peace, Shamba

  4. homebrewlibrarianon 27 Oct 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Unfortunately, train travel isn’t really an option out of Alaska. During the winter one can take the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks once a week and during the summer trains can get you to Seward as well as Fairbanks several times a week. But leave the state? Out of the question. We’d have to pass through Canada and while a hundred years ago there was rail all over the place, almost all of it has been ripped up. Most rail was laid during the mining boom but it’s long gone now. Not only that, but the Alaska Railroad is laying off 17% of it’s workforce and ending any sort of special services (ski train in March, etc.). Gas is $3.25/gal in Anchorage and slowly climbing but rail service is being cut back. What’s wrong with this picture??

    Kerri in AK

  5. Laurie in MNon 27 Oct 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Have only taken the train once, when Northwest Airlines was on strike and we were stuck out in California (just NE of LA). The other airlines could get us to Chicago, then to Milwaukee via commuter plane, then to Minneapolis/St. Paul via Amtrak. TWENTY HOURS of travel and dashing about airports, not including the ride into LAX. Gack! But I admit — the train was very comfortable, and if we hadn’t had loud and annoying young men right across the aisle from us, I’d have enjoyed it immensely. (By that point, I was pretty much ready to just crash, given that we left my FIL’s house at 4 am and would be getting into St. Paul at 2am. They were loud, obnoxious, and foul mouthed. And *I* was in theatre — it’s hard to offend me that way.)

    The seats on a train are WAY more comfortable than on a plane — hope you brought some good projects to relax with!

  6. Mark Non 27 Oct 2009 at 7:36 pm

    The last time I took the train was when I hopped a freight train overnight from Helena to Livingston, Montana during the month of November some 30 years ago. It was brrrr cold inside that boxcar, but the price was right.

  7. Julieton 28 Oct 2009 at 4:28 am

    I love trains :) Last year I travelled from London to Singapore by train (aiming for Australia; unfortunately I ended up taking a plane Singapore-Darwin). And then back again via a cargo freighter, Amtrak from San Francisco to Philadelphia, and another cargo freighter back home.

    Train travel is *so* much more pleasant than plane travel – and I love getting to actually see the places you’re travelling through. Knitting is good entertainment – I knit myself one quite complicated lace shawl on each of my long journeys!

  8. Mike Cagleon 28 Oct 2009 at 7:18 am

    Juliet: That’s quite an adventure! How long did it take? Tell us more about travel by cargo freighter — how does one do that? What’s it like?

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