#44HoursInATrain: DAY THREE

42 hours down | 2 to go

I blinked awake and saw total darkness outside. Then I blinked again and saw a blur of trees and mountains and snow. We’d just exited a tunnel, and I jolted into consciousness. It was so beautiful! We’d gone through Glacier National Park in the dark last night (should have planned on taking the train both ways) and before that, North Dakota and Montana were pretty flat and, well, boring. BUT NOW. We’re in Washington, and everything is stunningly beautiful.


Including Devon. Readers, I have not been entirely honest with you. I’ve been making eyes at this tall blond guy the whole trip, every time he or I pass in the aisle. By “making eyes” I mean I’ve made eye contact, smiled, and immediately looked away. I didn’t mention it because a) it was pathetic, and b) he didn’t act like he cared, which was hurtful.

But this morning, in a grand scheme of Let’s Give Tricia Everything She Wants, I threw my increasingly-greasy hair in a bun on top of my head, wound my scarf around my shoulders, and made my way back two cars to the observation lounge. We were in a tunnel again, and everything was dark. When I got to the doorway to the lounge car, Tall Blond Guy and Nice Woman (from dinner the first night) were blocking it. There was no other option:  I would have to speak to him.   Continue reading

#44HoursInATrain: DAY TWO

17.5 hours down | 26.5 to go

Okay, so the whole sleeping-on-a-train thing is not as great as I’d imagined. Although the rocking of the train puts me in a cat nap almost instantaneously, getting significant deep sleep is difficult. The seats recline, and there are footrests that can lever up. I brought a scarf that is massive enough to double as a blanket, and I used my jacket as a pillow. Still, with all of that, train seats are not beds.

The most comfortable sleeping position.


I woke up for good a little after 7:00, and I discovered a dressing room down the toilet hallway. There aren’t showers for those of us in coach, but changing just enough clothes to feel like it’s a new day goes a long way toward making me feel clean.   Continue reading

#44HoursInATrain: DAY ONE

1 hour down | 43 to go

Back in July, I decided it would be fun to go to Seattle to celebrate Thanksgiving with my brother Roy. I happened to see that Amtrak had a deal, so in a fit of whimsy, I bought a train ticket. Today I begin #44HoursInATrain, which simultaneously feels like the best and worst decision of my life.

The whole thing is new to me. At Union Station in Chicago, I wandered to what I thought was my gate. I got in line behind a group of Amish men and women, only to find out that all of us were not allowed to be there. I went back to the main terminal, marching with confidence. It must have looked fake, however, because a big Santa Claus of a man asked if I knew where I was going. I thrust my ticket at him and asked where I ought to go.   Continue reading