All aboard

I'm afraid I've reached a new plateau of adultness. It involves permanently cutting out the chinatown bus from my life. I'm not fussy when it comes to travel, I'm fine with sleeping outside if push comes to shove and I don't need a shower or an outlet for my nonexistent hair dryer. I like to camp. I can rough it with the best of them.

But after 8 years, I can't handle the chinatown bus anymore. Vomit, beer, freshly chewed spearmint gum, residual pot smoke. All things I got on my person last bus ride home. None of which were mine. VOMIT, people. Another human's VOMIT. Don't ask how. You don't want to know.



Enter the new love of my life. The train. Sure it's 3 times more expensive, but I ask, can you put a price on vomit-free travel? I took the train to Baltimore over thanksgiving and was blown away by the insane snippets of nature along the ride. Things you could never see in a car. Things far better than the Jersey Turnpike.

I've spent the past hour looking on Amtrak's website and dreaming of all of the places I can go on the train. So far, my trip's looking like Erie, Chicago, Bismark, Helena, Spokane, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Austin, New Orleans, Memphis, Louisville, Baltimore and home. An Apple a Day whistlestop tour, coming 2010.

38 comments:

  1. Go, Girl, hit those tracks. You deserve a safe non-gross ride. We all do.

    Don't forget your camera and maybe a notebook.

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  2. I love Amtrak! Good luck on your travels! Oh, and make sure you get an Amtrak Guest Rewards account. It doesn't cost anything, and if you enter your code in when you book a trip online, you can get free trips!

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  3. While I too love the train, you might try the Bolt bus or Megabus. Definitely a step up from the Chinatown buses and I've taken the Bolt from D.C. to Manhattan and back many times and have remained completely vomit-free!

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  4. "Insane snippets of nature"? You so nailed it! I love my train trips home to Connecticut from DC for that very reason. (And the insane snippets of Manhattan skyline too.)

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  5. if you make to spokane you should pop over to coeur d'alene idaho while you're there. it's pretty and you won't be sorry you stopped just something to think about. :)

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  6. lol! oh boy. you canNOT put a price on a vomit free ride that's for sure

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  7. Portland or Spokane--I'll meet you there! Where was Seattle on that trip? I can meet you there too!
    hmm...did that sound stalkerish to you? I suppose since I noticed how it sounded, I must not be a true dyed-in-the-wool stalker, right? Right?!

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  8. We Amtracked across many States in the USofA. Loved it. Saw the real America...the backyards, the car wrecks, the veggie patches, folks out in their yards, sitting on their back steps (stoops you say?,) just getting on with life... "Fried Green Tomatoes" came to mind. Never bussed anywhere.... took the tramcar lots of places, (New Orleans, San Fran)...loved it. NO VOMIT!! Yuk!!

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  9. oh, I love a long train ride. I've been trying to come up with a reason to catch the train to Kalgoorlie from Perth (and back again). So much nicer than the bus. Enjoy your non-vomitous travel.

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  10. Ah the joys of train travel!

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  11. ew. narsty on the vomit. i have been thinking about taking the chinatown having never done so and being the cheap person i am. rethink.
    i am wanting to take that train that travels the length of canada. i just rewatched "the polar express" and was dreaming of trains myself.

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  12. tracks are kind of comforting in that you have an idea of where the wheeled dragon plans to go. i hate being a passenger with unknown drivers
    possibly i'm a control freak
    or maybe i've just had too many horror rides.
    quite happy to drive alone though...kinda fun really

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  13. VOMIT!!!!! I rode the chinatown bus once. That was it. I love the train. You can read and don't get carsick. Enough said!
    xo

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  14. LOL, I could not put a price on Vomitless travel.
    I always loved trains as a kid and as an adult i am always fascinated traveling in them.
    sightseeing certainly the best. I was always weary of buses because i never trusted the bus driver being fully alert at the wheel. i think trains are much safer anyway.
    Love your sense of humor.

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  15. Funny, I just came to the same place: Was making a last-minute trip to NY and couldn't possibly do it on the bus. Not happening. Next time you come to Boston you have to take the train; the scenery as you wind up the coast is to die for. (Though my nose was stuck in Letters of a Woman Homesteader most of the time!)

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  16. I was staggered by how wonderful Amtrak when I was living in the US...it beats the socks off English trains, it really does. Train conductors who know what they're doing and take charge, spacious and clean - I loved travelling on them!

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  17. You will enjoy the train trips - the ride between from Spokane through Portland and points further South is breathtaking. Enjoy the scenery.

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  18. Oh I LOVE trains. If you do end up in San Francisco, I'm moving to the Bay Area at the end of April - let me know you're there!

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  19. I took my first long distance train ride back in September, from North Carolina to Minnesota. I'm quite nervous when flying (ok, I'm borderline neurotic - I love looking out the window and daydreaming, but the beautiful clouds and patchwork farms do nothing to quell my anxieties), but my train ride was wonderful. The sights, the people, the stops in D.C. and Chicago - all insanely memorable. The most surreal sight I witnessed was a doe and fawn running through an abandoned parking lot, taken over with weeds peeking through cracks in the concrete. It was apocalyptic. I wish I could travel by train for every trip. I'd bring a cute vintage suitcase and a thermos of tea. Add in a pair of little gloves, a good hat, and a Tiffin box filled with snacks and I'd be in heaven, I think.

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  20. I can never understand why some people would drink till they become nauseous and then vomit!

    So silly and wasteful of food and resources!
    So undignified!

    When we sip the drinks, we can savour the taste, and drink just enough and not too much!

    Good for the health, good for the liver and good to keep the environment safe and clean!

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  21. I took the train from Portland, OR to Glacier National Park in Montana and it was such a treat. Amazingly beautiful country we live in.

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  22. amtrak is just fantastic- though I would recommend scheduling a few extra days on the end of your trip to make room for train delays.

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  23. WOOOOO. Im going to Mexico tomorrow, buses and trains all the way down to Mazatlan and around.
    Im scared shitless, but so so so excited to be doing something I want to do. Sketch the world, photograph the world. Etc.

    :) I may turn my blog into a travel blog, who knows. I've secretly always wanted to be Indiana Jones.

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  24. I love the train too. Only thing bad thing about amtrack in new york is penn station. I hate that place.

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  25. After the cross country trip, try getting a Eurail pass. Hop on and off clean trains all over Europe. Admittedly, the sudden announcements in strange languages was always a bit scary. It would fuel your active imagination.

    You reaching your limit with creepy china town buses reminded me of when I gave up being a hippy. Sleeping under that picnic table in the COLD rain in Yellowstone park. That was my last hitch-hiking trip EVER!

    Congrat's on your new vomitless limits!

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  26. I remember when I reached this exact same plateau of adultness. You can put no price on not having a bathroom door (and all the odors therein) swing out with great force just a couple feet from your head every five minutes. Or on not being forced to watch a Britney Spears movie. Do you remember when several of those buses caught fire? That's when I got acquainted with the train.

    My brother and his family lived in the DC area most of the time I was up in NYC, so that was my route. I loved when it would lose power for some random reason and we'd all just sit there waiting in the semi-darkness. Inevitably, someone would get on their cell and start explaining what was happening with a distinctly non-indoor voice.

    Oh, and just wait til you discover the QUIET CAR! Sigh.

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  27. Chicago, Chicago!!! A good friend, a free place to stay and some good ol home cook'n!!!! But only til Jan 22nd then Im on my way back home....so either way Ill be seeing ya soon

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  28. Hilarious. Vomit-free travel is my preferred way of traveling, so I think three times the price is worth it.

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  29. "You've got Railroad in your blood!"

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  30. Happened upon your blog last Sunday morning. It speaks to me somehow. Love that train to Manhattan...

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  31. I was a bit shocked by Amtrak prices myself. Last year I took the train from NYC upstate to Hudson and it cost me $40. Gas wouldn't have cost me that much if I drove myself! But you're right, it is such a lovely ride...

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  32. The overnight trains to Helena, Seattle, and San Francisco aren't so glorious (read: body in pretzel knots); and train people are some of the most interesting (& strange) people you will ever meet, but when you get to these places, you will have forgotten there was any travel ever involved.

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  33. ugh! all the things i love about taking the greyhound for 16hours up to Portland ..yuck :(

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  34. Gas wouldn't have cost me that much if I drove myself! But you're right, it is such a lovely ride...

    Wagyu Steaks

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