Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Joy of Slower Travel

By Trish Milburn

People who know me know that I don't fly. I have flown in the past, but was never comfortable with it. But after a particularly bumpy flight where I thought the plane would shake out of the sky, I called it quits on flying. If I can get there by car or train, I'm sticking to terra firma. And recent stories about flying make me even more glad that I'm not a frequenter of the "friendly skies." Why?

1. I don't have to be scared for days before traveling.
2. I don't have to deal with huge airline delays and flight cancellations.
3. When airlines announce they're going to start charging for the first checked bag, I don't have to worry about it.

All those reasons focus on negatives though. What I want to focus on in this post are the positives of slower modes of travel like driving and taking the train.

First off, I find them less stressful. When I travel by car, I can start when I want, stop when I want. If I want to stop and examine the wagon ruts left by Oregon Trail travelers in western Nebraska, I can. That also brings up the fact that you get to see all kinds of interesting sights that exist in what is sometimes called "flyover country." I love seeing places and things I've never seen before. If not for a road trip from my home in Tennessee to points west, I wouldn't have been able to see:

Wall Drug (Wall, South Dakota), 76,000 square feet of touristy goodness. You see so many different Wall Drug signs driving across South Dakota that by the time you reach Wall, you have to stop.

The Enchanted Highway (Regent, North Dakota), home to some of the largest scrap-metal sculptures in the world, including "Geese in Flight," which holds the Guinness Book of World Records title as the largest such sculpture.

Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montanta, Idaho), America's first National Park and one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

South Dakota's 1880 Town, a replica of a frontier town that's also home to props from the movie Dances with Wolves. The horse that played Cisco, Kevin Costner's character's horse, in the movie is also in residence.

Even though he's not as hot on road trips as I am, Hubby and I have enjoyed some road trips to Florida and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. In addition to trips to see The Mouse, we've enjoyed drives along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, visiting everything from the remnants of an old sugar plantation to historic forts. Here we are at Fort Matanzas National Monument near St. Augustine, Florida.

In recent years, in order to save a little time, I've started taking Amtrak trips. In fact, I've got one planned for later in the summer when I head to the RWA National Conference and then to visit my sister. What's really cool about train travel is that I get to watch all the scenery without having to worry about also watching the road. I can sit in my little sleeper compartment and watch the sights go by, plug in my laptop and write for hours on end without the temptation of the Internet, and continue to cover miles as I eat in the dining car or sleep at night. And sometimes the trains take you through areas the roads don't, affording the view of even more scenery. Among these sights are the winding Colorado River as the train follows it through the western part of Colorado. (I took the photo above from the California Zephyr in November 2007 on my way to San Francisco.)

Here is the California Zephyr rolling into downtown Reno in 2005. I was about to board it for the first leg of my trip home after the RWA National Conference.

Another cool part of riding Amtrak's long-distance trains is that they often have volunteers from museums and national parks on board to give presentations about museums and parks located in the areas through which the train is traveling. If you're in a sleeper room, you don't even have to leave to hear the presentations. You can turn on the intercom in the room and listen.

I realize that it's nearly impossible to indulge in the slower, more scenic modes of travel when you work full time and you only get a week or two a year of vacation. Been there, done that. But if you have the time and inclination (and the money for gas, if you're driving), I highly recommend taking to the highways or rails for your next trip. It's more relaxing, and you get to see more than clouds and the insides of airports.

So, any other lovers of the road trip or train travel out there? Anyone love those goofy tourist sites like Wall Drug?


flchen1 said...

Love road trips, but the price of gas!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, so close and yet so far! Congratulations, Fedora! The chook must want some summer weather.

flchen1 said...

Trish, to elaborate a bit more, I don't mind flying (that has it's own pluses at times), but when traveling with kids, it's sometimes easier to travel more slowly. We've taken some very short train trips with them, and I think they might enjoy a longer one, too--it's definitely a nice way to see more of the land. And a plus for car travel is being able to be a bit more flexible about packing and being able to stop and stretch your legs or eat or take a peek at interesting or not-so-interesting sights! So you'll be traveling out here by train next month? Cool!

flchen1 said...

Hi, Anna! The GR just missed a patch of very summery weather--it's cooled off slightly, but it'll likely still be sunny for his visit :)

Anna Campbell said...

As many of you know, I can't drive so slow travel is my mode of necessity/choice. I have to fly to get to places around Australia because of timing and frankly, our train/bus system is terrible. I have to fly to get to other continents (although one day, I'd love to do a ship voyage). But once there, I'm public transport all the way unless good friends come to the party and drive me around. There are some real advantages to public transport - you get to meet the locals. I've done car trips and really, I only talked to the people I was travelling with. You get to see all sorts of places you didn't know were there on the way. As Trish said, it's fairly stress free (particularly if you know where you're going). You put on some music, you stare out the window, you let your thoughts roam. The big disadvantages with public transport are that most places seem to be downscaling it because everyone has a car these days and also managing luggage can be a real pain in the... BUTT you know all about that!

Great post, Trish. I'd love to do the trip across the States one day. Wow!

Jane said...

I love road trips, but don't get to do it often. Our preferred mode of travel is usually by plane because it's the quickest way to get to the destination. Flying is now very stressful because of the security and luggage restrictions and the planes are filled to capacity. I would love to travel on a train through Europe, or maybe the Orient Express.

Congrats on the GR, Fedora.

Annie West said...


You can really see wagon ruts on the Oregon Trail? Wow! That would be fantastic.

Personally I don't mind flying as, given our big distances, it's the best way to get somewhere without spending the whole holiday in transit.

Having said that I have to agree with you. Getting out of the car or bus or train and seeing a place up close is the best. And I've always found it's the little unexpected things we've discovered that way that have made a trip so special. For instance: the collection of amazing letter boxes on the country road outside of Coonabarabran in New South Wales (Ned Kelly, a flying pig, a rocket, a jogger, a cow, you name it, they've got it). Or the tiny cellar restaurant on a hill surrounded by vineyards in the Moselle Valley where they served the best onion soup and dry white wine I've ever tasted. Or the takeaway store in Thirlmere (southern highlands of New South Wales) that sold the best hamburgers I've ever tasted. Or the voice on the country bus in Cornwall that sounded like Long John Silver (Arrrrrr!) and turned out to be a svelte young girl!

If we'd been travelling fast we'd have missed all those and so much more. Sometimes it's the things along the way that are just as important as the destination.

Helen said...

Congrats flchen have fun with him

Great post Trish I love road trips and so does my hubby we have done a few over the last 30 odd years and always enjoyed them we have seen some wonderful places here in Australia. On our honeymoon we drove from Sydney down to Melbourne and over to South Australia and went thru the Barossa Valley what a wonderful place that is and the wineries and their wine are beautiful. We have also driven to Queensland a few times I have a sister who lives there and my father in law used to live at Mullumbimby near Bryon Bay beautiful place.
We have only flown a couple of times and only short trips we enjoyed it but I am not really sure if I would like a long flight and we have been on a cruise on the Pacific Sky around the islands and we loved that we hope to go again one day. I went on a few train trips when I was younger and really enjoyed them as well.
Thanks for the photos and lovely places that you visited.

Have Fun

Minna said...

Train, plane or ship. You get to meet some interesting people, in trains and planes, anyway. Like that man from Scotland, whose English I could barely understand. And everytime I've been on a ship I've been going to Stocholm or going back to Helsinki and it's always been with family or friends. Bus is ok, but you can't really walk around in a bus and road trip by car... Only if someone else is driving -I don't have drivers licence, anyway.

Tawny said...

I'm not a big fan of travel. I prefer planes because I'm horribly impatient and want to get where I want to get as fast as I can get there. But I hate airports and crowds and waits (and flight delays and flying and, well, all of it) but road trips take so long. We do tend to do them more often than not, though -- we have one planned to Las Vegas for the end of the month.

I really do want to try Amtrak, Trish. I've heard good things, but its pricey and the places we tend to go - Idaho or Vegas - aren't on the route. Maybe we'll plan a 'just for fun' vacation by train someday :-)

Carol said...

Trish...I've been to Wall Drug too and seen those thousands of huge Billboards! Wall Drug is an amazing rabbit warren of tourist gizmo's!
And I won't forget Kevins horse either. Joan gave a very explicit, er...picture discription of stroking his horse (LOL...I mentioned that being the closest I'd ever get to Kevin-famous people blog)
I love flying in airplanes, I get a real thrill when the pilot puts the foot down and the the motors roar and the plane thunders down the runway...I know lots of people fear this and I used to think I was scared before I actually went on a plane, but once I'd been I was hooked!
Road travel is such a thrill too, Annies discription is many places with scenic treasures hidden away in the most obscure places.
We saw a baby deer (with spots)by the side of the road in Pennsylvania near Raymonds Falls.That was a perfect day!

Cheers Carol
Ps's.Congrats's been a bit Chilly here in Aus for the GR.

I've posted my cheesecake Recipe on yesterdays Post.
Hope gorgeous George's chest yet! Have to see the next movie!

Minna said...

Besides, you can do stuff when you are not driving yourself, like sleep, read, write, knit or crochet or something. At least I would have plenty of thread for knitting or crocheting, now. I just love trading stuff... =)

Gillian Layne said...

Hubby loves to drive. I am capable but get a tad jumpy about it; large trucks make me nervous. We always drove on vacations when I grew up, except when my parents pulled us out of school for two weeks when I was eleven. We flew from Kansas to Seattle and then spent two weeks driving down the coast.

We were just talking about taking our kids to Mt. Rushmore this summer; your descriptions make me want to go! :)

I wish my kids could have experienced flying before 9/11. It's just so different now. And small kids and airports are stressful.

In Philadelphia, my husband was outside the building next to a tram to take us to our connecting flight with our two oldest children, while I was inside at the bottom of an escalator trying to coax our six year old to step on and ride it down. Stupid, stupid me, I had stepped on before her. Luckily, the nice security guard took her by the hand and brought her to me by elevator.

Great post, Trish! I'm ready to go pack my bags. And traveling by train never even occurred to me, I'm going to file that away in my "must try" as well.

Christine Wells said...

Trish, lovely post. I'm afraid I'm the kind of person who likes the arrival, not the getting there part. Probably because I used to get carsick as a child, I've never really enjoyed road trips. Had a very nice honeymoon in Tasmania which involved a lot of driving, though. If you ever brave the skies and come to Australia, you must go there, Trish. It's covered in beautiful national parks. I've never been on a long train trip. It does sound great the way you describe it though.

Carol said...

Gillian, If you do go Rushmore, make sure you drive out to see Crazy Horse. 17 miles south west of Rushmore... it is truely wonderful!

I have to admit that I seen more of USA on road trips than Australia!
Cheers Carol

Christie Kelley said...

Trish, I love road trips too. I don't mind flying but it really has become a pain in the neck. DH and I are taking the kids to Disneyworld for summer vacation and I'm dreading the two hour flight. Mostly because it isn't a two hour flight anymore. Must be there at least an hour to an hour and a half early, fight the security lines, then hope your flight is actually on time.

Last year we went to Yellowstone and flew out of Bozeman, MT. Our flight from there to Chicago was on ground delay because of storms in IL. We had to wait five hours in the Bozeman airport. Not much too do there. Only five gates and one place for food.

But as far as road trips and quirky place, well you can't drive down I-95 south without going to South of the Border. Been there twice.

Dev said...

I love road trips! We live in Montana, so Yellowstone, Rapid City, Wyoming, Denver, and (of course) ghost towns are always a must when we travel.

Tiffany Kenzie said...

I'm not a afraid to fly, but taking a train would be really lovely, especially across Canada--says she who's not been out west since I was a wee babe.

Is the train really expensive down in the states? It's more than, sometimes equal to, flying up here. I wouldn't be able to drive any distance--I caught the Toronto bug most people my age have--don't have a license, have no desire to have one, transit can take me anywhere and I can read. I did once have my drivers permit, but let it expire--so I can drive--just not legally. :)

jo robertson said...

Trish, what an interesting and unusual post. I should hook you up with Dr. Big. He loves road trips and is always stopping at some obscure marker to read about what happened there.

I hate driving. I love flying. But your post has gotten me really excited about Amtrak travel.

Congrats on the GR, Flchen1, isn't gas horrible? We're sucking it up here in California, but trying to cut way back on trips around town.

Joan said...

Trish....will you come take me on a trip?

See, in the same way a bumpy plane ride put you off on flying, the old bridge phobia thing keeps me from driving :-(

I love those types of trips though. My CP's and I left about 4 days early for the Atlanta conference and drove from Kentucky to Charleston, SC. LOVED IT!

They didn't have Wall Stores but I kept aggravating them wanting to see a Stuckey's. I don't even care for pecan rolls but when I was a kid riding to Florida, Stuckey's (and Howard Johnson's) were the only places they had to stop. Sigh....the simplicity of childhood.

The desire to take a train trip increases with every mention you make about yours. But as you said, when you work full time at a DDJ you don't have the luxury of tacking on extra days.

So, I'll stand in security lines, I'll get to the airport an hour early and I'll force myself to eat greasy airport food and keep on flying.

Louisa Cornell said...

Congrats on nabbing the chook, Fedora! I was going to say take him for a nice drive, but with gas prices the way they are, perhaps a nap and a movie?

I don't mind flying, although it has been a while and I have not flown since 9/11. Ask me about it AFTER I fly out to San Francisco and back.

I love train travel! I haven't done much here in the States. A trip from Alabama to Washington, DC to sing in the National Cathedral is my only train excursion, but it was a really great experience.

Now, when it comes to Europe I have lots of train travel experience. Schlepping the luggage can be a pain. I was lucky when the trip was opera related we had "people" to handle the luggage. God bless 'em too!

But for private trips luggage provided for much humor and swearing on the parts of myself and my traveling companions. I distinctly remember my Austrian baritone buddy saying "Good God woman! Nobody has a trunk just for shoes!"

The trip from Budapest into Transylvania was really memorable as the train was slow and the scenery was gorgeous.

I love traveling in a sleeper car where you can just make yourself at home. I took the last sleeper on one of our trips. It was at the very back of the car and nobody else wanted to be that far from the dining car. (Singers LOVE to eat!) However, when everyone came to get me for dinner they were all amazed at how big my sleeper was. It was quite luxurious. That was a fun trip - everyone piled into my bed watching the scenery and talking about anything and everything.

Joan said...

Ok, now I'm getting confused. Louisa Cornell are you also louisa aka doglady aka Pam aka GH finalist?

Are you in the witness protection program?

Terry Odell said...

We wanted to take the train from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth and enjoy the countryside, but alas, that train only ran twice a week and our schedules didn't match.

Back when gas was cheaper, we enjoyed a 4 day trip in Colorado where our destinations were set to be close enough so we could stop along the way. Driving just to get somewhere gets tedious, and only the passenger gets to enjoy the scenery (especially when driving the coastal route or through the redwood forests in Northern California -- definitely eyes on the road driving.)

I love the lower-stress packing on car trips...can't decide? Toss it in the car.

Sometimes it's just too hard to spare the time for a road trip. I live in Florida, and driving to RWA in San Francisco isn't a possibility.

But someday, we plan to take a leisurely train trip to somewhere.

Trish Milburn said...

Yeah, the price of gas is really crimping my style! What's sad is that I'm seeing reports that those prices are here to stay. That's really going to hurt everything, even the tourist industry.

Yep, Fedora, I'm headed to San Fran for the RWA National Conference. If you're nearby, you should come over for the open-to-the-public enormous book signing July 30. Even though I don't have books to sign yet, many of the other Banditas and hundreds of other authors will be signing.

Trish Milburn said...

Anna, there are definitely cities (NYC, D.C., San Fran) where it's much easier to get around via public transport than driving, but here in the South, for the most part, there seems to be a prejudice against it (it's something the "poor people use") and it's not convenient. Carpooling isn't even huge, though I imagine with gas prices it's increasing. We do have a commuter train that runs from out side of town downtown a few times a day now, and I'm seeing more cars in the pickup station's parking lot these days.

As far as luggage, you should see me trying to lug my many bags for a three-week onto the train in the middle of the night. Where I get on is a little town where the station isn't even open. You get stand on the platform and wait for the train to pick you up at 12:30 in the morning. Thus, no baggage check. But it's really not that bad. They have big luggage shelves on the bottom level of the train, so I can get to my bags while traveling for extra changes of clothes and such.

Trish Milburn said...

Jane, that trip sounds like it'd be great. I want to do the coast-to-coast one in Canada. I bet that'd be beautiful. I've taken the California Zephyr from Chicago through Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada to San Fran. One of the other beautiful parts of that trip is the climb through the Sierra Nevada. Gorgeous on a clear day.

I've also taken the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Sacramento; the City of New Orleans from Tennessee up to Chicago (the big hug for trains going west); the Empire Builder from Chicago through Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idado and Washington to Seattle; and the Crescent from Charlottesville, Virginia to NYC.

Louisa Cornell said...

LOL! Yes, Joan, my schizophrenia is showing!! Doglady is Pam who is Louisa who is Louisa Cornell who hopes to one day see that GH finalist manuscript on the shelves with the aforementioned LOUISA CORNELL emblazoned on the cover! (Hopefully with a gorgeous shirtless Regency hunk on the cover!)

La Campbell suggested that I get the whole moniker online ASAP for name recognition. Very savvy our Aussie friend, isn't she? This is the last name change, I promise! And I will answer to any of them. As my brother says "I don't care what you call me so long as you don't call me late to supper!"

Trish Milburn said...

Annie, yes, you really can see ruts from the Oregon Trail at various points throughout the West. Where I saw them was in western Nebraska at Windlass Hill and near Scotts Bluff National Monument. Both places were major points along the trail. This is the area:

Joan said...

La Campbell suggested that I get the whole moniker online ASAP for name recognition.

Sound advice. It's worked for me. You have, of course, heard of Angelina Jolie?


Trish Milburn said...

All you gals from Australia are making me want to visit there. Hmm, I don't think there's a train from here to there. I've always been fascinated with Australia, and even grew more so after reading Bill Bryson's Life in a Sunburned Country. I think of the Outback as being a lot like our American West (huge, wide open, big skies), which is why I like it.

Minna, travel by bus here is different, I believe, not as enjoyable. I've not gone on Greyhound (our major bus line), but my sister has and doesn't want to do it again. I don't think I'd like it because I sometimes tend to fell ill on buses. I loathed riding the school bus when I was a kid.

Ellen said...

I'm with you. I don't (won't) fly. My main reason is however different from yours-intense motion sickness. I stay off planes and boats. I travel by road for some of the same reasons as you -- I can stop and see sights I wouldn't see by flying. I actually got the chance to see Mount Rushmore that way and Little Big Horn. It's hard for me to travel by train because of the lack of availability of them in my area.

Trish Milburn said...

Tawny, there are lots of places that I'd love to take the train to that don't have service. In fact, I have to drive three hours to get to a train station.

Carol, OMG, that roaring down the runway to take off in a plane is when I really start to freak out and keep going in my head, "Let me off! Let me off!" Seriously, I need calming drugs if I ever fly again.

Trish Milburn said...

Gillian, I want to go back to Mt. Rushmore and explore more. When I was there with my sister and Mom, we didn't have much time and Mom can't walk around much because she's got bad asthma. I really like the Dakotas -- loved the Badlands too. Funny story -- we have pictures of Hubby and I driving our little remote-controlled Jeep around the Badlands. :)

You know, the next time I drive out west, I'm going to go through Kansas. I've been north of it and south of it, but not across it. I'm in a group called the Extra Miler Club, and the goal is to visit as many counties in as many states as possible. I have a county outline map of the U.S. on my office wall and I highlight each county I visit. Hubby says you can tell where the interstates are. :)

Trish Milburn said...

Gillian, I don't have kids and thus haven't flown with any, but especially when my nieces were younger, my sister would always look so worn out after getting off the plane here for a visit. One time, I think my littlest niece pretty much screamed from Seattle to Nashville. I'm sure that wasn't a pleasant flight for anyone.

Trish Milburn said...

Christine, Tasmania looks lovely. I am a great lover of parks, and I'm currently yearning to visit Alaska. And yes, I'd probably be crazy enough to try the Alcan Highway (through Canada into Alaska), though not by myself. It's very remote and "highway" is a misnomer in spots as I believe it's more like a gravel country road at times.

My husband can get carsick if it's really curvy or jerky driving. So I try to take it easy on him. I love to drive and he'd rather sleep, so it works out well. :)

Trish Milburn said...

Carol, we didn't have time to see the Crazy Horse monument when we visited Rushmore. I definitely want to do that as well as Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Monument, which are in the same area.

Christie, LOL, I can imagine not having much to do at the Bozeman airport. Though that area of Montana is lovely. If I could handle cold better, I'd so live in Montana. What you describe about a two-hour flight turning into many more hours is one of the things I don't like. Seriously, I could be halfway to Florida and a lot less stressed by the time I went through all that.

Pat Cochran said...

Happy Father's Day to all spouses
of the Ladies of the Lair!

Love road trips! We're off to The
Woodlands, which is just north of
Houston, to our son's home for a family gathering in celebration of
the day!

See you all later!!

Trish Milburn said...

dev, you live in Montana! I'm so jealous. I just love it. What part do you live in? I've been across the northern part (Wolf Point, Havre, Cut Bank, Glacier, Whitefish) on the train, and have driven I-90 across from the Wyoming state line through Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Missoula to Idaho. On that driving trip, I visited the site of Custer's Last Stand at the Little Bighorn Battlefield. It's so cool to stand in such a historic spot. I've also driven from Livingston down through the Paradise Valley to Yellowstone. My sister worked in Yellowstone for a year.

Trish Milburn said...

Tiffany, train travel is fairly inexpensive if you're willing to ride in coach. I do this on shorter trips (like from Tennessee to Chicago). I'm looking at my tickets for my trip now, and my rail fare from Tennessee to Chicago is $72.90. Where it gets more pricey is if you add a sleeper compartment, which I do on longer trips (like the two days from Chicago to the West Coast). I'm not willing to go that far in coach. It gets really uncomfortable (not to mention no privacy) if you're in there for more than a few hours. But the first time I did the long-distance trip with a sleeper, I figured out it's probably not all that much different than if I drove once you consider that I'd have hotel, food, gas and rental car costs if I drove. When you have a sleeper compartment, your food is included -- three meals a day in the dining car. Plus, you're still traveling when you go to sleep at night.

I'm just amazed at everyone who doesn't drive. I got my license the moment I turned 16 and have been driving ever since. Of course, there's really no such thing as mass transit in rural West Kentucky. :) You're more likely to see combines and hay trailers on the roads.

Trish Milburn said...

Jo, I'd be there right next to Dr. Big reading those markers. :) I'm also one who stops and has my picture taken next to state signs -- you know, the ones that say, "Welcome to Texas!"

Joan, sure! We should totally do a trip sometime. We're close enough to each other. My sister has that bridge phobia, and she's not afraid of much. She used to live in Tacoma, Washington, and hated going across the Tacoma Narrows bridge. She recently visited San Fran and refused to go across the Golden Gate Bridge. I think the only times I was a little uncomfortable going across bridges was on a big one in Charleston, S.C., and on the long one going out to the Outer Banks. That had more to do with the water underneath though. I can't swim, and being over that much water kind of freaks me a little.

Trish Milburn said...

Joan, LOL on the Stuckey's. I don't really have an affinity for Stuckey's.

Louisa, the idea of traveling all over Europe by train sounds awesome. Your trip from Budapest to Transylvania sounds so exotic. It is nice when you're going through scenic areas where the train has to go slow. That's the way it is going through the Sierra Nevada. You can look down and see gorgeous Donner Lake in Donner State Park (yes, where the Donner Party spent that ill-fated winter), and as it weaves along the Colorado River in Colorado. In warmer months, the rafters on the river wave at the train. Oh, and one time, there was a guy who mooned the train. Wasn't expecting that when I looked out the window! Just had to laugh.

Kim said...

Trish, I'm SO jealous of you! I'm already freaking out about the flight to RWA. Taking the train sounded awesome to me but it was SO expensive AND it takes 3 days one way. That would be a long trip.

Trish Milburn said...

Terry, I know what you mean about just driving to get somewhere not being enjoyable. I've been in that situation when time was of the essence. Probably my most exhausting driving experience was on my way back from Yellowstone with my mom and sister. My sister had just completed her work at Yellowstone and was coming back to Kentucky with Mom. I was still working full-time then, so I had only a two-week window in which to go to Yellowstone, tour a bit and get back. (This was the trip with the rushed look at Mt. Rushmore.). Well, we had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere Montana. I had to drive on the flat for miles because we were taking a shortcut that ended up being a deserted gravel road (this story is much more dramatic in person). Thankfully I didn't ruin the rim, but because of the delay getting anywhere to get it fixed, we were running really behind. My mom can't drive, and my sister's license had expired while she was in Yellowstone, so I was doing all the driving, really long days. The last day (day before I had to be back at work), I drove from North Sioux City, South Dakota, to Nashville, Tennessee. OMG was I tired when I rolled in about 1 in the morning. Then I had to get up a few hours later to go to work. Yeah, I don't plan to get myself in that situation ever again. :)

Trish Milburn said...

Ellen, I have the motion sickness thing with boats. I've not done too many boats, but my main problem isn't when they're underway but when they're still tied up at the shore and rocking a lot. I really had a problem with this while on the ferry to Ellis Island in NYC. I was okay once we pull away from shore, but sitting there made me want to heave.

Trish Milburn said...

Pat, I went to The Woodlands back in November when I was in Houston for an RWA board meeting. Ate at a wonderful place called Jasper's.

Kim, the train travel definitely is pricier and slower than flying, but I'm looking forward to all that uninterrupted writing time. I'll be on deadline writing my second YA, so it comes at a good time.

Minna said...

Trish, it depends on the bus, the other passengers and how far I'm going. Schooltrip to Lapland and even the schooltrip to Russia in a bus were one thing, but going to Helsinki in a bus full of people who are on their way to a ship that is going to Sweden was something else entirely and if I can choose, train wins every time.
Besides, going to a bus station is just not the same as going to a railway station, especially the railway station in Helsinki.

Caren Crane said...

Fedora, congrats on the GR! I'm sure you have all sorts of plans for him. He was longing for warm weather - we have plenty in NC!

Trish, I LOVE to drive and am in the mood for a long road trip. Fuel prices are high, though, so it's not always economical. We are leaving Friday for a vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina. That's a nice trip. Takes about 6-1/2 hours from Raleigh, so it's not bad at all. Especially the parts that are NOT on I-95. *g*

The very best trips are the ones where we have the time and inclination to take alternate routes. I love a shortcut - or even a scenic longcut. I much prefer the two-lane highways to the interstate. It's amazing how much "local" stuff lies just a couple of miles off the interstate. Along the interstates it's all McDonald's, Cracker Barrel and Wendy's. Fine in a pinch, but really, there's so much more out there!

I've wanted to take a cross-country (or cross-Canada) train trip for years. I hope that when we get rid of the kids - er...when they are all out of the house - my husband and I can do that. I think it would be the most fun ever!

And I would never have guessed the train would have tour guides! That is the coolest!

Caren Crane said...

Dev, you live in Montana? How wonderful! Well, you know except for the major snow and all. *g* My husband was stationed in Grand Forks, ND while in the Air Force. He would love to take us out west to see places he got to visit while there, but we can only go during the summer. Living in ND really cured him of ever wanting to see snow again (he's a North Carolina native *g*).

I have a writer friend who moved to ND who is devastated because there are no RWA chapters in ND, SD, Montana or Wyoming! Any suggestions on where writers congregate in the vast western territorie?

Caren Crane said...

Sorry, that was "territories". *g*

Caren Crane said...

Annie, your best takeout story reminded me of a place we stopped while on a road trip from Tennessee to Pennsylvania.

My grandfather took my next older sister and me to see my aunt in the mountains of PA. Not sure why, except to give my poor mother a break. *g* There was a place he insisted we HAD to stop and get a hamburger and a vanilla milkshake. It was some little diner off the beaten track, but it was his all-time favorite. I can't recall now whether it was in Kentucky or Ohio, but I think it was Ohio.

Now, he hyped this restaurant A LOT on the trip, so we were primed. The burger, I recall was wonderful. But we had a real dilemma about the milkshakes. My grandfather INSISTED vanilla was the one to get and the best thing ever. My sister and I, though, were avid chocolate shake lovers. So, we ordered chocolate.

I know for a fact that irritated him to no end. On my insistence, he did let me try his vanilla shake. I have to say, for vanilla it was really good. But I was still glad I got chocolate. *g* Too bad he had granddaughters just as stubborn and opinionated as he was.

The great joy of road trips are memories like that. I know for sure I would never had such a memory if he had popped us on an airplane!

Minna said...

Going across Canada in a train has been my dream, too.

Caren Crane said...

Trish, I have the same trouble as you with boats! Even on a large cruise ship, being anchored can be troublesome. The patches of nausea stuff they have for you to wear behind your ear really helps. Non-drowsy Bonine is okay, but the patches are better.

Once at sea, I am usually fine except in foul weather. Also, I prefer driving to riding because I get motion sickness if I try to read or do anything like that in a car. The train, however, is fine! I can read and amuse myself with no problems. But, I need to face forward. I would love to go on a train trip!

Caren Crane said...

Minna, maybe we need to cook up a Bandita trans-Canadian train trip one of these years.

We can get Banditas to read passages from their books and have lovely get-togethers in the club car. *g* Doesn't that sound like a blast?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Of COURSE I've been to Wall Drug!

Had to pry the DH away from the growling T-Rex. LOL!

Generally, we fly to a destination then spend a week driving around seeing all the local stuff. I've seen Oregon Trail ruts... in Oregon! And Mt. Rushmore is fantastic, as is Yellowstone.

Taking the train is THE BEST way to see Europe. Honestly, car travel there is not like car travel in the US or Australia (where roads are sooo much better). But I haven't taken the train in the US since I was a child. Tawny, I've heard those "gambler specials" from the Bay Area to Reno are a ton of fun and the scenery is spectacular. Maybe we should go on one someday?

Congrats on the GR, Fedora! And hope you can attend the Literacy Night event in SF. I don't have a book this year either, but I WILL be there!


limecello said...

I have always wanted to go on a road trip - usually we're in a time crunch, and have to rush, so it's driving straight to the destination - or flying. I do enjoy flying, and love taking pictures high above the clouds.
Sadly, I probably won't be traveling for a while - no time, and also, no money. Those were gorgeous pictures, Trish - and a nice plug for slower travel. :) It made me think of Cars - the Disney Pixar film. That or "Feasting on Asphalt" - but that's much more food centric.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hey, Trish, I LOVE Amtrak! It's not cheaper than flying these days, sadly, but it's such a cool experience if you have the time to just enjoy the ride. I took my two girls to Chicago on the train (six hours) & we had a wonderful time. the seats were huge & comfy, there was an awesome dining car with huge windows for just watching the scenery. We played cards, colored, chatted, listened to music. It was waaaaaay better than spending six hours either a) driving while the kids entertained themselves with varying degrees of success or b) cramming the three of us into the three square feet allotted by the airlines & trying (without success) to keep them from drumming their feet on the back of some poor business person's seat for the hour long flight.

When time is unlimited, give me a train ride, anytime!

Joan said...

Oh, Trish..that bridge in Charleston??


We saw it as we drove in and I prayed, PRAYED I tell ya that we did NOT have to go over it.

We didn't, thank God even though my CP's kept trying to figure out a reason to...

Trish Milburn said...

Caren, I love the Bandita trans-Canadian rail adventure. We could rent out an entire sleeper car just for us and our Bandita buddies. :)

Aunty Cindy, it's funny you mentioned the gambler special trains to Reno. When I was at the Reno train station, there were lots of people there who'd come into town to hit the casinos. Me, I really couldn't care less about the casinos, but I liked the Reno location because I rented a car and went out on two days touring the surrounding area. One day we drove up to historic Virginia City, and the other we drove over to Donner State Park and Lake Tahoe.

Christine Wells said...

Wow, the Alcan Highway sounds like a real adventure, Trish. One of my phobias is breaking down in the middle of nowhere, so that's definitely not for me.

Keira Soleore said...

Trish, I've missed the joys of train travel. Now that I think of it, I should've done the SF trip by train, particularly an overnight one.

Recently we had a horrendous trip on Air Tran. Horrible from start to finish with the ground staff and in-flight experience. I'm dreading flying in August to Wisconsin, my daughter and I.

I have to admit though that train travel with kids is very tough. I remember the work our parents had to go through, and while we had a rip-roarious time.

Fedora, thumbs up on nabbing him.

Trish Milburn said...

limecello, that's what always annoyed me about vacation time at the day job -- there was so little of it that you had to rush on vacation. You got back and felt like you needed a vacation to recover from your vacation.

Susan, I see lots of people playing cards and reading on the train. I've also seen what appears to be grandparents traveling with their grandchildren, probably because they have the time and the parents are stuck in that limited vacation time trap.

Louisa Cornell said...

Try the bridge over Lake Ponchatrain when driving from Biloxi to New Orleans, Joan ! I thought my Mom was going to KILL me for taking her over that bridge. Like you, her fear of bridges like that is fiercely phobic.

She kept saying "Get me off this bridge. Get me off this bridge."

My brothers howled when I told them, but she was NOT amused!

Joan said...

I rented a car and went out on two days touring the surrounding area. One day we drove up to historic Virginia City, and the other we drove over to Donner State Park and Lake Tahoe.

My CP and I did the same thing (for one day). At first driving up into the mountains everything seemed..well, so BROWN. But once we got up there. Oh, my. I was a bit disappointed in the touristy atmosphere of Virginia City though from that perch you felt as if you could reach up and touch the sky.

The Lake Tahoe area was BEAUTIFUL. The blue of the lake rivaled that of Ireland's lakes. We stopped at a small park too (though I don't remember the name of it)and were walking along these trails. We were so absorbed with the natural beauty that when something scampered across our path we both jumped and squealed (well, I CP doesn't squeal).

I was convinced it was one of the bears that I had seen a crossing sign for. (Bear crossing? Ack!). Instead it was the wild, ferocious Lake Tahoe....squirrel.


Keira Soleore said...

Oh, and Trish. I wish you'd tell JR Ward that she can travel by train wherever RWA goes. She only travels by car, because she's afraid of flying. I consider myself very, very lucky, I was able to meet her last year, and snap a couple quick pics of her holding her RITA.

Trish Milburn said...

Christine, I've already broken down in the middle of nowhere (see earlier comment about the Montana trip). :) What happened is that we went over to Twin Falls, Idaho, and on the way back to Yellowstone, my sister and I got to talking and I missed the turnoff. I didn't realize it until miles and miles later. I stopped, looked at a map, and saw a road that cut across, cutting off a lot of that mileage. Uh, it turned to gravel after a point, and seriously, the only thing on it was Red Rocks Lake National Wildlife Refuge (a trumpeter swan sanctuary) and the small community of Lakeview (as in some houses, no businesses). Not the best place to have a flat tire you can't change.

Trish Milburn said...

Louisa, I've heard about that Lake Ponchatrain bridge. I think that would freak me out. I also think it'd be freaky to drive out through the Florida Keys.

Joan, LOL about the squirrel. Tahoe was beautiful. I want to go back and have time to drive around the entire lake. We only had time for part of it. The only lake I've seen that rivals it in beauty is Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho.

Trish Milburn said...

Keira, I didn't know that about J.R. I knew I liked her. :)

Minna said...

Minna, maybe we need to cook up a Bandita trans-Canadian train trip one of these years.

Yeah! And as traveling is not cheap these days, we could follow the example of one red paperclip guy (hey, he got a house with one paperclip) or the the example of the student who got the money for his studies with an internet page that was filled with nothing but advertisements.

Tori Lennox said...

I haven't been on a train since I was about five or six, but I would love to travel by rail! It just sounds romantic. :)

Of course, where I live, the nearest Amtrak station is about 50 miles away and the trains only come through in the middle of night which is kind of annoying.

Trish Milburn said...

Tori, I hear you. As I mentioned, the trains don't come through here. I have to drive three hours and board in the middle of the night.

Tori Lennox said...

Yikes! At least our Amtrak station is only about an hour away. And I don't know why the middle of the night bugs me because I'm usually up until 2 or 3 in the morning anyway. *g*

Annie West said...

Trish, thanks for the url showing the Oregon Trail. Great pictures! Maybe one day...


Caren Crane said...

Tori, if two or three AM is your "morning", then middle of the night train departures would interrupt your breakfast. Not to mention, knock you clear out of the competition for the Golden Rooster!

Of course, since he's with Fedora today, he'll be spoiled rotten, so you REALLY don't want him tomorrow. *g*

Interestingly, rail usage has picked up a lot here in North Carolina. So much so that they are adding another Raleigh-to-Charlotte round trip route everyday (so it's three now), mainly for business travelers. There is also a Raleigh-to-Greensboro round trip. Used to be that it didn't make economical sense to ride the train. But now, it does for a single passenger.

I was looking at a family trip to DC. But, with four of us traveling, it was cheaper to drive the hybrid SUV than ride the train. Oh, well!

Virginia said...

I use to love road trips but not any more.

Carol said...

The biggest best bridge I've been over is the Mackinaw Bridge in upper Michigan OMG...don't look down...did I mention I'm scared of heights! (planes are different they've got a floor!)
And the longest in the Keys -7 mile bridge! (it is in True Lies movie with Arnie)

I've put a link to the highest bridge in the world, in France designed/engineered by a Brit.

This is a bridge! The Millau bridge.
The one Louisa spoke of...
Cheers Carol

Trish Milburn said...

Carol, wow, that bridge in France is wild!