RELATED: Riding the Rails: Taking the Amtrak from West Palm to New York
When we need to get to New York, and it's not a rush, our first choice is Amtrak. Which surprises most people, and even shocks a few.
"You can do that?" they ask. "I had no idea. But why would you want to?"
Why indeed. It's definitely slower -- around 25 hours from the West Palm Beach station, if all goes smooth (and it usually doesn't). It's more expensive. Get a sleeper and you could pay as much as two or three times what a flight would cost.
For us, there are several reasons:
Many years ago, we had our first big train adventure. Amtrak was running a special promotion -- unlimited travel between three designated zones across the country. We thought, why not? So we booked travel that took us from Fort Worth, Texas to Chicago; Chicago to Los Angeles on the Southwest Chief; Los Angeles to Seattle on the Coast Starlight; Seattle to Chicago on the Empire Builder, then back to Fort Worth. We covered some 8,500 miles in two weeks. We were hooked.
Later this year, we are scheduled for another "big train adventure." Stay tuned for that one.
We are the first to admit train travel isn't for everyone. You have to have a lot of patience, and time. The sleepers are adequate, but don't expect a hotel room. The close quarters could trigger a little claustrophobia, but nothing like being squeezed onto a jet. And for the "slow" factor -- couldn't you say the same thing about driving a car cross country?
Let's face it: If you travel , there are going to be glitches, whether by car, bus, train or plane. Try to relax and as our boy Steve Winwood says, "roll with it, baby."
Yes, I know it's spelled like "Jerry." No, I don't know why it's pronounced "Gary."