Riding the Rails

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Andrea Skalland Editor

For my husband’s birthday this year, I took him to St. Louis to see a Cardinals baseball game. He’s been a huge Cardinals fan since he was a little boy, so seeing them play at their home stadium was a dream come true for him.

We decided that rather than drive to St. Louis, we would ride the rails, we’d take the train. With current gas prices, we discovered that we could purchase round-trip train tickets from Amtrak cheaper than we could drive.

I had never ridden the train, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I insisted on being an hour early, because when traveling by air, one has to be at least that early. I expected long lines, security delays and throngs of people. So I was pleasantly surprised when we were able to walk right up to the ticket counter to confirm our reservation. We then waited in a waiting room with two other couples for the train to arrive.

When it came time to board, there were no big security gates with long lines. The conductor simply stood on the side of the train shouting, ‘All aboard!’ We boarded the train and had our pick of seats, which provided enough leg room that my 6-foot-2-inch-tall husband was comfortable.

When everyone was situated on board, the train started its familiar chug, chug, clickety-clack, clickety-clack down the rail line.

While traveling by train is certainly not the fastest mode of transportation, it definitely has to be one of the most relaxing. We rolled along through fields and trees, along highways and interstates and through several small towns. It was fun to see people in their vehicles waiting for us at railroad crossings, waving as the train went by on its journey. Jon and I were able to relax as we traveled along. Gone were the stresses of fighting heavy traffic and navigating an unknown city. We were able to just enjoy the scenery and each others company.

As we picked up travelers at different stations throughout the route, it was fascinating to watch the goodbyes. As people boarded the train, their loved ones would stand on the platform, waving and blowing kisses as the train pulled away. It was like watching a scene from a movie.

All in all, our train trip was the peaceful adventure we’d hoped for, and we’re excited for the next opportunity.