Krissie and I went up to New York City last week for vacation. At least I went for vacation. Krissie went for social media lobotomization. So while her employer flew her up, I went by way of Amtrak.
If you haven’t taken the train before, it’s a crazy mix between flying and taking the bus. Everything seems fairly clean and nice, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’re a moment or two away from a shank in the neck.
Before the trip back to Richmond from NYC, I had taken the train twice. It’s a magical experience. 6 hours of enforced relaxation in a mostly empty car. Unlike flying, you can get up and move around. Maybe head down to the cafe car for a snack or a beer. The wifi is complete shit, but it’s still wifi.
On the way back to Richmond, I took a train called the Silver Meteor. Holy shit! That sounds like quite a time. If that train isn’t a raucous, booze soaked swing dancing adventure down the eastern seaboard, I’ll eat my hat.
The reality is that it’s a long haul train. Which, unlike regional trains, doesn’t have wifi. The lack of wifi was intensified by the busted HVAC system, which was stuck somewhere between black vinyl seats in the summer sun and the boiling point of human flesh. We may have achieved controlled fusion on that trip. What a discovery for science!
Another discovery is that despite pricing that rivals budget airlines, the mix of clientele is similar to what you might find sitting at a blackjack table in old Vegas at 5am on Christmas morning. If you’re looking to score some meth, the Silver Meteor is probably a good place to do so. In fact, the old lady without any teeth in the cafe car will be happy to show off her collection of pirated DVDs or point you in the direction of the best buzzard dust for your buck. Someone’s alcoholic dad was much more into the bootlegs than you’d expect.
All in all though, it’s hard to beat the inaccessibility and lack of stress. I definitely recommend it if you have the time, a strong pair of headphones and aren’t scared to fight to the death for your very own row of seats.