I told Leila that I wanted to take the train because it was cheaper than flying. This is true, but not all true. The real truth is that I wanted to take a train trip. It seemed so cool, like a hipster way of travelling better than the frantic queues of frustrated fliers waiting to get through inane security. (Does anyone really think taking off our shoes keeps us safer? Don't get me started.) I hate driving long distances and the train stops one hour from Huxley. And somehow a train trip is an adventure, with the potential for good and for bad times. When I told Leila about the cost that was just an excuse. I wanted to do something exciting.
It takes ~ 28 hours to go from Osceola, IA to Washington D.C. Union Station on the train, including the 5 hours downtime in Chicago between trains. Leila saw through my arguments completely and decided that this adventure was one she could sit out. Sleeping on the train, in our seats, potentially bad food, truly strange strangers, and the very real possibility of train delays were actualities brighter than any romantic notions of train travel. Aleah and Emily I volunteered. I told them it would be awesome.
We were supposed to catch the train in Osceola, IA at 7:30 AM. I got the girls up at 5:00 AM to get there in time to get a parking spot and to be on time for the train. We didn't need to hurry. The tiny station was close to empty, and the train didn't get there until almost 9 AM. When the train pulled up, it was still exciting though. He tooted his horn and we climbed aboard. The seats were larger than plane seats with room enough that I couldn't reach my foot to the seat in front of me, only to the footrest.
|Aleah in the Lounge Car. She just beamed at everyone.|
The best part of the trip was the diversity of passengers: Amish, Mennonite, Brethren, Hipsters, Hispanics, Black, White, Indian, and Muslim. I had a couple of long discussions with the Amish families travelling. There was a little Amish girl that was Aleah's age and they played together some, but she mostly spoke Dutch and little English. It was a hoot to hear from two brothers' plans to increase production of furniture and hopes to be able to sell their chairs in China. We discussed corn prices and my job and the difficulties of raising kids in the world, but not of the world. I am fascinated with the balance of modern and traditional lifestyle from the different Amish and Mennonite groups. I feel like I have to make some of those same tradeoffs now, even though I have most of the modern conveniences.
I will put some more pictures up of the rest our trip later. It is getting late and I have to go to work tomorrow. Too bad I can't have a vacation from my vacation before going back to the everyday troubles.