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Train Travelin’

If you’ve never heard of Dierks Bentley then you may not recognize this post’s title*.  Dierks sings this with the Del McCoury Band.  It tells a tale which has always intrigued me, and what a great sound!  The instruments are reminiscent of a mournful train whistle and the lyrics evoke a time when you could hop a boxcar and see the country. 

Am I a fool to think it glamorous
Box-carrin’ like a hobo, it must have been rough
But a simpler way of life is what it really means to me
When we weren’t so dependent on money to be free

My commute home in the afternoon makes me think of this song almost daily.  Walking from the bus stop to the train station, I follow an overpass that crosses over the tracks and I can see the trains waiting there.  Usually the 4:33 northbound commuter is still boarding in preparation for its departure.  Often my southbound train hasn’t arrived yet.  Sometimes a line of Amtrak cars waits on the track next to mine.  As I round the curve and follow the overhead walkway I find myself studying the cars, trying to see the passengers.  Imagining myself among them.  I wonder where the train is headed and wish I could drop everything and climb aboard. 

Some day I’d like to take the train on a real journey, not just to work.  My daughter doesn’t recommend it…the trip she took from Seattle to Sacramento wasn’t pleasant.  She and her boyfriend got almost no sleep (they traveled through the night to save on the fare and hoped to arrive rested).  But her older sister enjoyed the trip, as much as you can toting two young children with you.  Of course she was comparing it to Greyhound, so there is that. 

I’ve researched traveling by train a little.  Hubs doesn’t like to fly … no wait, he LOVES to fly.  He hates the airport.  Let’s not go there.  So as I was saying — I researched traveling by train, wondering whether we could go see the chilluns in Southern California by train.  It’s definitely possible, if you have the time.  The direct trip from Tacoma (our closest station) to Burbank takes 34 freakin hours!  For less than $100 more you can get there in just under 2 and 1/2 hours if you fly. 

But where’s the adventure?  Besides that whole terrorist/hijacker thing I mean? 

Maybe I’ll take a train trip when I’m retired.  I’ll have a lot of spare time then.  If I ever get to retire that is.  In the meantime, I’ll keep watching the trains wistfully as they depart the station and make up fascinating tales about the people and where they’re going. 

*The link goes to a youtube rendition of the song set to a slideshow of different trains; the sound quality on this was better than the live version.

4 thoughts on “Train Travelin’

  1. A bunch of friends and I took the Amtrak from Wisconsin to Seattle once–we spent more time on the train than at our destination, but that was the point. It was really cool to see so much of the countryside from a non-freeway point of view.

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