Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Leavin' on a midnight train...

I love traveling by train. I hop aboard whenever it is an option. And, usually, some kind of adventure follows.
I met the man I would marry on a restored steam engine making a trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I met one of my best friends on the Crescent as it snaked up the Shenandoah Valley on its way to New York City.

I once had a meltdown on that same train as it traveled through the deep south down to New Orleans. I was 5 months pregnant with my first child, and I was so hungry I couldn't wait another minute for the dining car to open. The conductor (obviously a man with children) brought me a bag of chips to tide me over.

I've rolled through a winter wonderland as I rode the Empire Builder through snow-covered passes in the Cascades and sipped my coffee sitting in a domed observation car as we snaked along the Columbia River.

Like I said. I love riding the rails.

In Spokane, the Amtrak trains roll in around midnight and depart not long after. Heading to Whitefish, Montana for winter visit, the train was darkened and quiet as I opened the door of my sleeper.
The bed was made up and turned down. All I had to do was stow my gear and turn out the lights.

As we pulled out of Spokane, I watched the city roll away. The rhythm of the train lulled me. The last thing I remember before getting a 7am wake-up call was a song running through my head.

" Leavin' on a Midnight Train..."

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