I woke somewhere in North Dakota, the waning gibbous moon looking at me across patchy snow-covered plains. The sun was slowly turning the eastern sky behind us orange and yellow; I pulled some levers under the seats in my roomette to slide them up out of “bed mode” and back into seats, then looked out the window for a while. I'd tell you what was on my mind, if those thoughts happened to be in English — but they weren't, so all I can say is that it was a very pretty morning.
It's 3 am and we're going through... some city. Cleveland, I guess. Yep — Cleveland. My left hip is killing me. Somehow the arrangement of my limbs isn't only affecting the muscles around my hips, but also around my knee. Is my leg asleep, just not at the pins-and-needles stage yet? No idea, but it's stiff in ways I've never felt, so I have no idea how to fix it. Anyway, next stop: Chicago.
Sleep last night was punctuated by a sore hip, a stiff knee, a quick lateral jerk by the entire train, seemingly going faster than usual, I guess to make up time (it was about 40 minutes late getting into Jacksonville). With my footrest down and my legrest up, I slept about as good as anyone can in that position — my only enemy was a giant, undimmed light hanging over the vestibule door, shining directly into my eyes at my slightly-reclined angle. So I covered my head with a hoodie and slept quite deeply, between the random jarring moments.
I'm taking the train from Jacksonville, Florida to Portland, Oregon for the AWP conference, where the Write.as team will exhibit. This is the story of that journey.
I love taking the train. I can't really remember when I started regularly riding it — sometime in the past six years of living in northern Florida. But I often get on the Silver Meteor or Silver Star for a relaxing trip up the east coast to visit family in the DC area. Whenever I travel abroad, it's my preferred mode of transportation — whether the Shinkansen in Japan or the many rail lines in Europe. I wish it was possible to travel the United States with the same ease as in those countries, but today I'm content that we have a passenger rail system at all.