I’ve been on the train for about 50 hours now. I’m almost to my destination after about 2 and a half hours worth of delays. Then from there (Ottumwa, Iowa), Carolyn will be picking me up and we will drive another 2 hours or so to Ames. This has definitely been an experience.
For those of you who haven’t taken Amtrak trains, they are very nice. They have food, which will cost you 5 times the price it should, an observation car to look out of and sit at tables, and surprising amount of room for each seat. I’ve met a lot of very kind and interesting people. Some people were (and still are) quiet, but since we’ve been on the train together, I feel like we’ve formed a special bond. It’s almost sad to see people who you have been riding with for more than 24 hours get off, even though you don’t know their name. And then you get new people on board who become outsiders to this weird clique you have. It’s funny how fast people form groups when quarantined (more or less).
My group (or really just the people who I’ve met) includes an art student coming back from studying abroad in Australia, a young man moving to ny, some hilarious middle aged man who has travelled everywhere, an elderly photographer who shared some tips on 4/5 photography, many more people who travel and hike a lot and have shared lovely stories, and the sweetest little lady originally from Guatemala who sat/slept next to me. She was coming back from a 2 week sculpting class. We talked about all kinds of things, from her life and mine. When she left this morning, she put an orange on my stuff (I was in the observation car), because I got an apple yesterday that sucked, so she told me that I could have her orange. It was just a funny little gesture that I will always remember.
Downsides to trains: sleeping in the most uncomfortable ways, people who annoy you but you can’t escape from, no wifi, and trying to avoid getting stir crazy. It helped that I had books and could take photos and video, but at times it was still very boring and I just wanted to walk around outside.
Well I have no choice but to ride it home, but even still I’d ride the train again. Just probably not this long again. And if I do, it won’t be for a very long time.
A couple of terrible iPhone photos: