Marion Liebler: Train travel provides new view of country - The Buffalo News

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Marion Liebler: Train travel provides new view of country

I finally got a chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do, and that’s “ride the rails” on Amtrak.

My granddaughter was moving back to Albany, so off I went to help her pack. It was a fun and interesting trip. The conductors certify your ticket, just like in the movies, except they scan it now instead of punching it.

Looking behind the scenes at some of the towns puts them into proper perspective and reveals how many local industries supply us with our everyday products we take for granted.

The train was quite comfortable, with a club car and an extensive menu. Of course it’s cheaper to bring a sandwich from home, but I was on an adventure so I wanted to do the full experience.

I was surprised to see all of the amenities the train has to offer, such as Wi-Fi, comfortable seats and pleasant workers. You can text, talk on the phone, take a nap or converse with your seat passenger. It seemed like the perfect time to write, because my trip was long, but I found it so much more relaxing to just read a book. Being able to get up and walk around during a long journey is certainly a plus.

People are always fascinating to watch. Each stop brings on new passengers, excited to start their travels. I love to look around and wonder what adventure they are going on. There were lots of young people traveling; how lucky they are to take in some experiences before settling down. The different dress codes were a surprise. Some casual, some fancy and some – oh my gosh.

As I gazed out the window, I noticed that graffiti is still a staple. Some very good artists are wasting their talents. I saw lots of homes that must have been beautiful in their time – eclectic designs and interesting architecture. What stories they must hold.

It was great to just sit and eat and enjoy the sights and realize that many moons ago, the settlers and Indians traveled this area on horseback and covered wagons. It took them many months to reach their destinations without all the comforts of today.

Sleeping cars are especially appealing on those long trips. The rhythm of the wheels can lull you into a peaceful sleep. There are many options to pick from, and compartments for families of all ages and sizes.

Carry-on bags are a must. You can store them overhead, just like the airlines, and by your feet. It’s wise to bring a book and some snacks. Sometimes unforeseen waits occur, so it’s always good to be prepared.

Gazing out the window, I viewed some of the damage caused by rains and devastating flooding. Seeing the overflowing rivers up close puts everything in a different light.

I also saw gorgeous mountains – another splendid sight I normally don’t see. There are so many open spaces to explore. The greenery along the roadsides and in many of the towns we passed through was spectacular. It is a blessing to live in this country and to enjoy God’s gifts to us.

So if you’re struck by wanderlust but don’t want to drive, and you’re not in a hurry but prefer to stop and smell the roses, then train travel is ideal for you.

It’s great to have family and friends out of town because it will prompt me to ride the rails again. I look forward to it!

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