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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Train's Most Sane and Better than the Plane

I am a backward person in some ways. That is to say, I don't believe that every new thing is necessarily an 'improvement' on things that went before.

Travel is definitely one of the things that was better once upon a train.
Shamus Culhane used to tell me of the beauties of the Super Chief and the Twentieth Century Limited.

"They had crystal on the table and linen tablecloths. Outstanding service and civilized travel. NOW you have plastic and paper and the food would discgrace a MCDONALD'S. I saw a MOUSE run across the floor the last time I took an American train. And DON'T change in Chicago, you'll never get your luggage back."

Well it seems that there is one Glamour Train left in the Western Hemisphere.

After enduring the indignities of plane travel once too often I opted to take the CANADIAN from Toronto to Vancouver, stay in the city with friends, and then take the CANADIAN back to Rochester.

The CANADIAN features Pullman style bunks, of which I had one, or private cars; the food and scenery were both outstanding.
At this point I'm in Vancouver and I'll be writing up more about this trip later on, but since computer time is rationed here I'll keep it short for now.

But I did make the right decision. This is my idea of roughing it: all the grandeur of waterfalls, the Rocky Mountains, and the occasional bighorn sheep,viewed from the comfort of a Streamline Moderne dining car with observation decks and four star restaurant service and without the blackfly, mosquitoes, and poison ivy (although you can name your poison at the bar).