Have you ever wanted to escape on a scenic train trek?
I had the opportunity on a recent northern roadtrip to combine seeing 5 northern states and 3 far northeastern states to get closer to finishing out my bucket list item of experiencing all 50 US states prior to my 50th birthday.
After conquering the vast farmlands and over 3000 miles driving North & South Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, I needed a no stress excursion to transport me from Minneapolis to Boston. Amtrak has an inexpensive option via Chicago that allowed me to stretch out and just be.
I had plenty of snacks and entertainment to keep me occupied, so I jumped onboard the 2 day trek. With new Covid safety protocol, I enjoyed the seats to myself and quickly settled in. While I would have loved to snag a sleeper couch, those were a bit out of my 10 month on the road adventure budget. But I was actually fairly comfortable and with the help of an eye mask and earplugs, dozed often.
We passed the Great Lakes and countless working farms, which truly makes you appreciate the rugged lives of American farmers. Little towns pop up along the route and we whizzed through quickly but not without the deafening blare of the train’s horn.
As you approach the big cities, more passengers are bustling about and going about their own plan to get to their final destination. Stops are rarely longer than a few minutes, so it’s a surprise that we are late by a whole 2 hours arriving into Chicago’s historic Union Station. Instead of a 5 hour layover, I have less than 3 hours to stretch my legs and enjoy the unusually warm April weather in the Windy City. Post Covid, I couldn’t find any restaurants open in the early evening so I opted for a slice of pizza from a local joint that was literally closing as I arrived and hit up the Walgreens for a 4 pack of uncrustables plus a bag of chips. Lunch & dinner TCO too for day 2!
Overall, I enjoyed the downtime to just think and, of course, begin to plot out the next adventure!