Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

by Jo Robertson

I recently took a train trip (see Amtrak Zephyr, left) to Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, home of Notre Dame. The ride took fifty-two hours and went through some interesting and beautiful country in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, and Indiana.

My husband was thrilled because we traveled through a small town called Helper, Utah, named after the small trains that “helped” the larger ones make it up the mountain. Helper Junior High, which Boyd attended decades ago, still sits on the hill with the same name blazoned across the front.

To the right is the rock formation called Castle Gate, a mile from Helper.

The trip wasn’t so wonderful to me, but I was game to try it, not having ridden on a train in ages. I’d forgotten how small the compartments are, how claustrophobic the sleeping bunk is, and how wobbly the ride is.

I won’t be repeating the experience.

When I was a girl, my mother traveled with us children through East Germany (under Communist control at the time) to meet my dad at his new army assignment in
West Berlin. It was the middle of the night, and we’d made a temporary stop at a station in the Russian sector. My mom was a trickster and seldom obeyed the rules (one of the reasons I loved her), so even though we’d been warned repeatedly NOT to look out the windows, she peeked around the shade.

Zoom, that vinyl shade shot up like a jackrabbit, clattering as loud as the guilty sounds of rogue rifle fire. Instantly alarms sounded, lights flashed, and frighteningly large men in Cossack uniforms brandished even larger rifles. My six-year-old psyche was scarred.
Is it any wonder I don’t like train rides?

When we travel
ed to Egypt in the late 70’s, we took the Luxor train up the Nile from Cairo to Luxor and the temple of Karnak. I understand the Luxor train is much improved now, but then it was a nightmare.

Riding the Luxor train was an experience out of the Eighteenth Century. The joints between the cars were mere open spaces about twelve to eighteen inches separating one car from the next. We looked down at the dizzying tracks while we bravely leapt from one car to another, hoping we wouldn't slip and lose a foot -- or two.

The sleeping car had some kind of dusty debris that wafted down during the night to stick in my hair and the bed linen was disgusting. I didn’t dare change into sleeping clothes.

In the dining car, we passed a waiter who was drying a glass with a cloth as black as onyx. The toilet? Well, everyone was dumping waste on the tracks in those days and the Luxor train was no different.

But the next morning we woke up to the most amazing landscape. Ninety percent of Egypt’s population lives on five percent of the land around the fertile Nile River (see above). Men were harvesting crops with wooden ploughs like they did two thousand years ago. Lush, green, and gorgeous, the Nile area is a sharp contrast to the surrounding Sahara.

We visited the Temple at Karnak (above right) and thrilled to the ancient antiquities (Ramses II, below right).

This was an amazing train adventure, but not one I’d want to repeat, at least not the train part.

Boyd's favorite mode of transportation is by car (it’s very hard to fit his large frame into a tiny train or airline seat). He likes to stop at every historical marker between northern California and Timbucktu and read the inscriptions.

I love flying. I like the quiet, isolated feeling I have in the crowded company of strangers where I can read and sleep, my two favorite pastimes.

What about you? Do you prefer to travel by train, plane, or automobile. Why? Any train experiences? Unusual road trips? Airplane nightmares?

Tell us your stories. I’m dying to give a $15 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky random commenter.


Helen said...

Is he coming to visit me again

Have Fun

Natalie Hatch said...

you're quick Helen

Natalie Hatch said...

My parents packed us kids in the car said goodbye to our home in Far North Queensland and drove the entire length of Australia down across Bass Strait to Tasmania. The trip took four straight days of driving. We ended up living there for six months, but the cold got to us in the end and mum packed us up and demanded dad decide to come with us because she'd had enough. Needless to say we drove the entire way back up to Queensland at the end of the six months. Another four day drive. I hate road trips, prefer to fly.

Helen said...

The GR can come to Guilford Library with me this evening to see Anna Campbell and Annie West I guess he wanted to visit a few people today.

Great post Jo sounds like a wonderful trip and I love the other stories you Mum sounds like so much fun and travelling in Egypt on train scary but you can say you have done it, but I am not sure whether I would really like it or not I do like to stop when I want to and take in the sites so I guess car trips are what I prefer Hubby and I love going on road trips we take our time and stop and look at what we want to, the things that interest us.

When I was young my parents didn't have a car niether of them drove so if we ever when anywhere it was by train or bus and our holiday trips usually took us about 2 hours in the train so no over night cabins. When I was 15 my girlfriend and I went by train to a place called Narrandera way out in the country to visit Debbie's family and that took about 14 hours we left early in the morning and got there late in the evening we had a great time two 15 year olds no adults in the 70's what a ball but Debbies parents drove there while we were staying and we ended up coming home in the car darn.
I have only been on two fairly short plane trips one for 3 hours and one for 1 hour so I can't say how I would go on a long flight but I did enjoy those flights.

All in all car trips are what I prefer so as I can choose to stop when I want to and all the trips I have had have been great just the usual occasional flat tyre etc.

Have Fun

jo robertson said...

Wahooooo, Helen. Plan a nice quiet day for the chook, would you? I have a feeling he needs a little R&R.

Yes, Natalie, she'd darned quick. I was still editing the blog when I saw Helen had commented. Way to go!

jo robertson said...

OMG, Natalie, I'd hate road trips too if I had to make a drive like that! That's the equivalent of the U.S., coast to coast, 3000 miles!

I went to college in the west and made the trip cross country to my home in Virginia several times a year, but I was a dumb teenager and didn't know it was supposed to be tedious packing six college kids in a car and driving straight through, sleeping in the car and all.

Hmm, maybe that's why I don't like road trips either!
Crazy kids!

jo robertson said...

What? What? Are Foanna and Annie West at the Guilford Library, Helen? What's up?

Yes, Egypt was amazing. We saw the pyramids at Giza, Cairo, traveled up the Nile (which is actually going downward geographically because the Nile flows upward into the Mediterranean. (I know, geography blows my mind.)

I was in my early thirties, so nothing was really a hardship except leaving my six little kiddies (at the time) for a month.

Oh, and Pharoah's revenge, of course. That's always a challenge.

I think road trips can be a lot of fun, Helen, if you're not in a hurry. It sounds like you and your husband have a great time doing that, and of course, if it were Australia, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Isn't it funny how somewhere else always sounds more exciting and romantic than where you are?

Helen said...

Yes Jo, Foanna and Annie are doing a talk at a library that is about 20 mins from my place this evening I am going to be there I wouldn't miss it. I am so excited this is the second time I have meet Anna in person there but the first time I will be meeting Annie in person can't wait I have Tim Tams to take I owe Anna.

Jo when I can finally retire hubby and I plan to travel a lot more we are driving to Melbourne in Feb next year so as I can go to the Australian Romance Readers Convention and that I am really excited about Anna's Tempt The Devil is going to be released there so I am really looking forward to that trip it is a long time since we have driven to Melbourne 31 years ago can't wait.
I would love to drive around The States as well one day but not sure how I would go driving on the wrong side of the road LOL.

Have Fun

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Great post, Jo-Mama!

And CONGRATS on the GR, Helen. I know both of you will enjoy Fo and Annie's talk! Wish I could be there. :-(

As for preferred method of travel... Give yer olde Aunty a PLANE every time! We took long road trips from California to Texas and back when I was a child and we did a fair amount of sleeping in the car while my parents drove in shifts. UGH!!! I don't mind driving once I get somewhere, but first GET ME THERE, and since the plane is the quickest way....

I haven't been on a train in the US since I was a child, but train travel in Europe is GREAT! They are clean, relatively inexpensive, and mostly on time. Can't sleep on 'em though, and I've TRIED. Too noisy and too much motion.

Of course my second favorite mode of transport is CRUISE SHIP! :-P But you all knew that.


jo robertson said...

Oh, you're so lucky, Helen. I know Annie and Anna give great presentations, and only 20 minutes away from you! Give Anna a hug from the rest of the Banditas!

Annie will love the Tim Tams. Hmmm, maybe I'll fly over just for the TT's, seeing as how I love to fly so much.

What, you say, the WRONG side of the road? Well, I guess you folks DID have the roads first, before us Yanks, so I'll give you that one. I'd freak out to drive on the left side of the road.

I'm just saying.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Cindy! We are truly soul-mates in our love of planes. As you've said before, 5 hours of torture on one hand, 52 hours of torture on the other!

And I think I'd take travel by ship for the sheer leisure of it. When I was a child, we crossed the Atlantic four times going back and forth from the U.S. to Germany.

Even as a kid, I loved sleeping on a ship. I remember vividly on board the U.S.S. Nimetz was when I first read Zane Grey!

limecello said...

Airplanes are my favorite. But I always have bad luck in security/customs :\. I'm flying across the country soon [alone] and I have to admit I'm a teensy bit apprehensive.
Cars, not fun. I was in 3 accidents last year [not my fault] and it was traumatizing. Blech. Ah well, I do love travel though.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


Limecello, TAKE CARE of yourself! None of us wants to pull hospital duty with you, m'dear.


jo robertson said...

Limecello, that's terrible! Hopefully, no serious injuries. Even the tiniest of crashes sounds horrible when you're inside a car.

Flying certainly isn't as much fun as it used to be, is it? The part I hate most is taking off my shoes and walking barefoot. Yuk! I always try to get there really early so the security lines are shorter.

Jane said...

How cool. I would love to visit Egypt. I hope to take a cruise on the Nile. I usually go by plane when I have to travel. It's faster, but it's not as convenient as before. The planes are more crowded and the security lines are enormous. I've never traveled by train, but I would love to go on the Orient Express.

Congrats on the GR, Helen.

flchen1 said...

Hmm... not sure what method of travel I prefer! It's tricky with kids ;) With the car, you have the flexibility of stopping when you need (which can be quite often ;p) and being able to set your own timeline and itinerary. And now that the kids can read, it's easier for them to occupy themselves. (We do also have that magic DVD player...) Obviously planes are faster, but far more expensive... the kids have found plane travel pretty exciting so far (we've been to Asia and some shorter stuff in the US), and thankfully we've managed to avoid any truly terrible experiences. We've only done a short train ride (a couple hours) but would be curious to try a longer trip--it seems like a neat way to see more of the landscape! And AC, we haven't done a cruise yet, but those sound potentially very fun!

As a kid, we didn't travel too much--a couple plane trips to Canada, and one summer road trip to Washington--no air-conditioning. I still remember those vinyl bench seats...

Congrats on the GR, Helen!

Keira Soleore said...

Helen, looks like the Chook loves playing with your grandchildren, and I'm sure you ply him with plenty of Tim Tams and other Halloween goodies.

I've traveled by car, train, air, and boat. I get sea sick, so the boat has to be the worst. In general, I prefer flying because I get there quicker. However, I'm dreading the 24+ hours of flying I have coming in December as we go on our annual trip to Asia.

There, we also have two 24-hour train journeys. Now, those trains? Yep, no different from your Luxor train of three decades ago. The kind of hole in the floor toilet, where you squat and hold on for dear life, because if an especially hard turn or shake comes along, you might, er, fall in. Now, I have the added complication of holding a little girl squating over the hole. Om nom nom nom.

Keira Soleore said...

Helen, I'm so jealous!!! You get to see Fo and Annie West in the same evening.

Minna said...

Plane and train. When I have to sit in a car I can never really do anything (even though I'm never the one driving). And in planes and trains you meet the most interesting people. But I do hate waiting at the airport.

Helen said...

Yes Keira I have just got home those two Ladies are wonderful I had a fantastic time.
It was so much fun they are so easy to talk to and they have such valuable information for people who want to write

Have Fun

Maureen said...

For a year I commuted to work on the train and when the train came on time and the weather was good it was wonderful not to have to drive. The problems are when the train doesn't show up and the temperature is ten degrees and the wind is whipping at thirty miles per hour.

Marisa O'Neill said...

Jo, what wonderful adventures you've had! I always think a long train ride would be romantic, but it seems that this is not the case. I know several people, Maria included, who have had the worst experiences on train rides.

I myself prefer a long road trip. The excitement of seeing the country side, being able to stop when ever and where ever you want, eating lots and lots of junk food and reading out loud from a good book to the driver is my favorite way to travel.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hi, Jo! Sounds like you went through some gorgeous places on your train trip! I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, though. I haven't done the sleeper car on Amtrak but we did do a shared sleeping car on the overnight train between Amsterdam & Germany a couple years ago, & no, I wouldn't care to repeat the experience. :-)

But I did recently take the train between St. Paul & Chicago with my two girls, & it was a VAST improvement over driving. It took just as long, maybe just a touch longer, but the freedom to walk around was unbeatable. Plus I didn't have to drive & entertain the kids. I could just entertain them. Highly recommended.

Terry Odell said...

We took trains in Germany. The first time, we travelled from Frankfurt to a tiny town on the Baltic, Stralsund. AT one stop, the conductor didn't speak or read English, so the rail passes we had purchased before we left the states totally confused him. Luckily, he let us ride, and since he didn't 'validate' the ticket, we could have continued to use it.

A similar thing happened when we were going from Holland to Germany. The ticket was for the entire route, but there was no way to get it validated when we crossed the border and the German crew took over. That time, fortunately, our daughter was with us, and she spoke enough German to explain that we'd boarded in Amsterdam, and the people there said we couldn't get the ticket validated until we got to Germany for the second leg.

Deciphering the automatic ticket machines when you're in another country is another challenge, but overall, I enjoyed the train rides. Seeing the new scenery was a great experience

As far as a 'bad' travel mode: I think the metro in Rome was the most challenging, mostly because it was always full.

CrystalGB said...

I travel by automobile. I have never had a chance to ride on a train or fly on an airplane.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jo! Your blog was really fascinating--what adventures you've had! I guess you'd have to separate travel for me between travel WITH kids and travel without. Your description of plane travel sounded rather nice (quiet, isolated...where you can sleep and read), but with kids that plane travel translates into -- loud, crowded, and no chance of sleeping or reading because you're desperately trying to keep your kids from 1) screaming; 2) kicking the seatback of the poor person in front of them.

So I like plane travel when I'm by myself, but when I've got the kids, I like the train or the car. I've only done short train trips with the kids, but I think we'd enjoy a longer one. The problem is that we've never got the time to enjoy the traveling part of a trip -- we're always going to visit someone, and we don't have 2 or 3 days on either end to get there. :-)

Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, Helen! Did he enjoy his trip to hear Anna and Annie and did he behave himself? I am so jealous that you got to hear them speak!! I am sure it was wonderful.

I have done a bit of it all and I have to say I prefer train and plane travel to car trips or boat trips. I just don't like car travel. Could be those 24 hour straight through drives we took every summer from Alabama to Pennsylvania to visit my Dad's family. He only stopped for food and gas and you had better use the facilities then because he did NOT stop just for the bathroom. Three kids, my Mom and the dachshund learned how to hold it!

In Europe, I didn't own a car so the trains were my only mode of transportation. Well, and my feet when it came to shopping for groceries and running errands in the village. I loved it. They were always clean and for the most part on time.

My last train trip was from Alabama to DC to sing in the National Cathedral. It was a great trip! I had a private sleeper car and I just vegged out, read, wrote and enjoyed the scenery. I actually slept well too.

I do NOT travel by bus ever as I did too much of that in high school and college in the various musical groups to which I belonged. YUCK!

jo robertson said...

Oooh, Jane, the Orient Express! The only thing I know about it is what I read in Agatha Christie's book. But riding it sounds so mysterious and adventure-ridden.

What's interesting about Egypt, I think, is the contrasts. It's an area of ancient wealth and opulence next to extreme poverty. K.J.'s visited recently so maybe she can tell how it's changed.

jo robertson said...

Fedora, the advantage of train traveling IS looking at the scenery.

The trains often take routes the highways don't, and contrary to what I'd thought, they travel much slower than a car. When you're driving yourself or passing the landscape fast, you really miss all the beauty around us.

OMG, how in the world did we auto-travel with kids without DVD players?

Actually, on the expense, our air fare was less expensive than the Amtrak fare because we had the sleeping compartment. Otherwise, the fare would've been the same.

Even with the recent inconveniences, I like traveling fast, so flying is always my choice!

jo robertson said...

Keira, an ANNUAL trip to Asia? I'm so jealous! Does family take you there every year? Ugh, on the 24-hour flight. Even I don't love flying THAT much! And those long train rides, ugh! Is this your annual penance or something LOL?

ROTFLOL at your description of the train lavatory. Ewwww, but funny anyway :-D! I remember my mom used to take me to the toilet and say, "Don't touch anything!" Really, how can a three-year-old NOT touch something? Thank goodness for hand sanitizer!

jo robertson said...

Okay, I think I'm fully awake now. You guys are so funny this morning.

One of the downsides of flying, training, or boating it is the inevitable germs you pick up. Both Dr. Big and I are fighting off colds from our trip.

At least in your own car, the germs are familiar LOL.

jo robertson said...

I KNOW, Minna. Driving is so boring. Sitting next to the driver is boring.

On our last road trip across northern Nevada and the Utah salt flats I told my husband I wouldn't go unless we bought a book on tape to listen to. It was great for me, but he kept trying to watch the scenery (really, a salt flat is a salt flat is a salt flat) and continually lost the thread of the book.

jo robertson said...

Glad you had a good time, Helen. I don't know Annie personally, but Bandita Anna is the best!

jo robertson said...

Maureen, commuting sounds wonderful in a way, sitting back and letting someone else worry about traffic.

I taught school three minutes from my home, so I never had that experience. In the movies it looks like such fun, jostling on the station platform, reading the paper in the cars. I always think of WORKING GIRL, one of my favorite movies, when I think of commuting.

jo robertson said...

Hey, Marissa, I should hook you up with my husband. You've described exactly what he loves about road trips.

We have had a lot of adventures, especially when we leave the country. Hijackings in Guatemala, bombs detonated in Jersusalem, and of course, the Luxor train ride!

I'll have to blog about our MIS-adventures sometime.

jo robertson said...

Oops, Marisa, sorry I misspelled your name. I bet you get that a lot, huh?

jo robertson said...

Hi, Susan. Yes, I think for shorter trips and with children, the train would be ideal. Kids get so restless in a car, especially with the car seats and seat belts.

If I'd had to put my seven kids in car seats, they'd have had to haul me off to jail. They were little monkeys bouncing off the car walls. Fortunately, I never drove far with them.

jo robertson said...

Wow, Terry, I envy your extensive European travel! Like I said, the train and metro and tube in countries not your own always sound so much more romantic.

And not to speak the language must be frustrating and a little scary. Although, in our experience, native speakers have always been kind to help visitors to their country.

jo robertson said...

Crystal, I hope you get that chance soon, just for the experience of it if nothing else. That's why I did the train ride. Now I feel a little braver having negotiated the Chicago Amtrak Station!

I lost my laptop on the train tarmac and this wonderful red cap went completely out of his way to run it down. Seriously, it was a one in a hundred chance of finding it. And we did! Of course, I hadn't backed up all of my writing, so I was frantic.

Needless to say, I immediately got a flash drive and put it to work!

Well, uh, maybe you don't need THAT kind of adventure!

jo robertson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jo robertson said...

Oh, Kirsten, it's soooo hard with kids. I never flew with any of my children (except an infant).

In those days the airlines provided you a bulk head seat with a little basinette kind of thing that fit into the front of the bulk head. The baby could sleep there or you could hold him. It was really nice, though completely UNSAFE!

I applaud you brave women who fly with little kiddies! But you do what you gotta do, right?

Joan said...

Morning everyone!

Wow...ways to travel. Well, I've never taken a train trip though my interest has been peaked listening to Trish describe it. I'd opt for a sleeper bunk because sitting upright for hours wears me out.

I fly almost exclusively on my trips. I like the idea of not using up a lot of my valuable vacation time on travel.

However, in the past couple of years I went on car trips to Charleston and Atlanta. Granted, I did not have to do the driving (reference bridge phobia) but I loved watching the scenery and discovering the differences between here and there.

After my looooooooooooooooong day at work yesterday, I'm ready to take off. Who wants to pick me up?
:-) I promise I won't ask for bathroom stops as much as kids.

jo robertson said...

Louisa, you've had such wonderful experiences with your singing and traveling. I really envy that!

What is it with men? I swear if my husband were driving alone he'd use a bottle to relieve himself and only stop for gas LOL.

I do like to drive with my daughters, though; we sing and laugh and gossip, and stop every two hours whether we need to or not!

jo robertson said...

Okay, gang, I'm off to do the treadmill. Lest you think I'm disciplined, let me just say UCK!!!

Keep those travel stories coming. They're Grrrrreat!

Trish Milburn said...

Well, anyone who knows me that I do NOT like flying. I was never comfortable with it to begin with, but then I had a flight from Albuquerque to Dallas on which I was convinced the plane was going to shake right out of the sky. That was it for me. I'd fly if it was an emergency, but otherwise it's car or train for me. Train travel can be frustrating if you're on a schedule or in a hurry. You definitely have to take delays as par for the course and just relax. I do understand about the small space -- it's doesn't bother me much because I typically travel on the train solo, but my hubby would have definite trouble even getting in the little door.

Oh, and I'm one of those who likes to read the historical markers on the roadsides too. :)

Virginia said...

I think I perfer the automobile. I kind of like beening on the ground. I have only took a plane trip one time and I guess it went smooth enough but airpore confuse me. They are so large and you never know where you sould be. I think I will stay on the ground. I took a train ride one time when I was young and in school, it was OK to but know one travels by train anymore. I think they will make a comeback soon.

MsHellion said...

I don't have any real airplane nightmares. I did have a luggage malfunction at the airport though. My zipper broke and my overly packed suitcase flung my underwear and bras and everything else all over the silver turnstile thing. "Is this yours?" and other smug, sympathetic glances... Followed by my friend who was traveling with me, who hadn't witnessed this part (she'd been off on a phone call): "What happened? OMG, is that your underwear?"

jo robertson said...

Hi, Trish, I was waiting for you to weigh in, knowing how much you dislike flying.

Boyd and I decided if we ever train travel again (*cough, cough, snowball's chance in hell, cough*) that we'd get the larger compartment which is a kind of suite. It's pretty pricey, but it has a shower, sink, and toilet in it plus more room.

It's always been pretty amazing to me that those thousands of pounds of steel can defy gravity and not plummet to the ground. But I just don't think about it. Avoidance, that's my mantra, ha!

jo robertson said...

Joan, if I'd been alone or on the bottom bunk, I'd have been fine, but the top bunk is rather like sleeping in a coffin. And it shakes more than the bottom one.

I understand your bridge phobia, Joan. After the 1989 earthquake in northern California that caused so much damage to the Oakland Bay Bridge I can never cross it without fearing another collapse.

jo robertson said...

Do you think train travel will come back again, Virginia? It seems we live in such a hectic, frantic world, always going here and there so fast, that people won't want to go back to a more relaxed mode of transportation.

When my mom traveled by air, she always played the senior citizen card. Even though she was only in her early 60's, she insisted on a wheelchair and the attendants wheeled her everywhere. She didn't have to remember anything, just tip!

Man, she was a character!

jo robertson said...

OMG, Mshellion, that's the kind of experience you can only laugh about after the fact!

So tell me, is it true what your mom always says about having clean and repaired underwear in case you get in an accident? Any pins in your bras or rips in your panties?

How embarrassingly funny!

terrio said...

I used to love road trips, but then I was forced to drive back and forth from Va Beach to Little Rock every other weekend for 8 months. DO NOT like road trips anymore. Though I'm a professional and almost always manage to beat my previous time. I'm one of those "we're not stopping for anything!" drivers. LOL!

I'll take a plane anytime. I've never been on the train, though if I ever have the time think it would be an interesting way to see the western half of the country. I took a cruise when I was 16 and would take another in a heartbeat. Oh, that was so relaxing.

Great blog, Jo and congrats on the GR, Helen. I'm certain he knew what was on your agenda today and HAD to be there. LOL!

Joan said...

I'm one of those "we're not stopping for anything!" drivers. LOL!

LOL, Memo to Joanie NOT drink you're Diet Coke when traveling with Terrio!

Joan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jo robertson said...

Come to think of it, Terrio, my parents made the drive from Virginia to Kentucky (not so far as you) quite frequently to visit their parents. Maybe that's why I don't care for road trips either!

Virgina Beach to Arkansas -- that's a good hike!

And for the price, nothing's better than a cruise. Of course you come back ten pounds heavier, but . . .

traveler said...

Since I love to travel I would choose a car trip anyday over any other type. It is relaxing and enjoyable to take a long, leisurely drive in the summer and visit the amazing places that make up this great country of ours. You can feel, see and understand the beauty and the exceptional locales. What an experience that cannot be duplicated any other way.

terrio said...

Joanie - I'd stop for you. :) LOL!

Jo - The Va Beach/LR one is almost 19 hours so it was two days there and two days back. And I was the only driver the entire time as I was traveling with my then 5 yr old. The amazing thing is, the child (now 9) still loves road trips. Even gets antsy to take one every few months. She's a strange child.

Annie Solomon said...

Well, hey, Jo. Great post. I must say that when my husband was a young man he worked in northern Canada building concrete bridges for the BC Railway. He loves trains. Me, not so much. Although I must say that even the bad things you described had a kind of romantic aura to them. I guess you can't wipe the sheen off East Germany, Russion s
Sector, Cossaks, Luxur or the Nile. Though together it does sound a bit like an Agatha Christie mystery. Our most recent mode of travel, if you can believe it, and believe me some days I can't, is an RV. More on THAT mode of travel some other time!

anne said...

I think that travel is the most fascinating experience. If I want to visit lands far away what else can I do, except board a plane and hope for the best. When I do that I learn, soak up the culture, beauty and live on that for years to come.

petite said...

When I was a kid we rarely travelled and when we did it was dearful for me since car trips were the only thing that we did. Not even far, but I was the worst traveller, due to motion sickness. Thanks goodness it improved and is only prevalent in bad weather in planes. But it did put me off travel for a very long time. I could never enjoy much. Now I have to make up for all that lost time. I would gladly fly anywhere for the enjoyment and fun to seek new horizons.

jo robertson said...

I don't think we take advantage enough of the amazing scenery around us -- I know I don't.

And, Traveler, I find I really need that first-hand experience of seeing a scene for myself to be able to write about it. I can't seem to conjur up the feelings as well through pictures or videos.

jo robertson said...

Nineteen hours is forever when you're the only driver, Terri. Please tell me you stopped at a motel on the way. Honestly, after about three hours of driving, my right leg goes numb!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Annie, glad to put a romantic spin on a funny, but taxing situation!

Oh, now you have to tell us about the RV. Are you one of those couples who jumps in the RV and goes on a mad adventure? My neighbors are like that. Right now they're on a three-month trip around the country.

jo robertson said...

Anne, not only is traveling one of the most fascinating experiences, I really think it's one of the most educational. Unfortunately, when you're young enough for the stamina of traveling you often don't have the money or the ability to appreciate the culture. When you're old and, hopefully, better off, the old legs and back give out.

I remember climbing Mt. Sinai with no trouble at all (it's only about 7500 ft), but now it'd probably kill me LOL.

jo robertson said...

Oh, Petite, motion sickness is the worst! Especially in a car where you have the windy roads and the fuel smell together. I never used to get car sick, even read in the back seat, but now that I'm older I can't read in a moving car. Bummer! But trains, planes, boats, they're all good.

We went out into the Pacific once whale watching and our group had just eaten a rather bad batch of clam chowder. When you get out far enough from the coast so you can no longer see land, it's quite rough.

Everyone was inside the cabin throwing up, but I was very lucky and didn't get sick.

ellie said...

I greatly enjoyed your post today about your experiences with travel. It was enlightening and entertaining. I enjoy road trips that are brief and take me to charming and historic towns in the area. Nothing too lengthy since it can be wearing and tiring.

diane said...

What a great post today. My favorite topic, travel and places. What amazes me nowadays is all the kids who have the opportunity to travel all over the world for as long as they want for fun, to have that chance. When I was young no one travelled as they do today. It was rare. We took the odd road trip but never went anywhere special. These kids are so well travelled that by the time they are 25 they have seen it all. I still am awaiting my turn. I would love to go to Europe and travel in style. Train travel there would be fine though. Happy Trails.

PJ said...

Jo, your blog is timed perfectly as I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow morning. I love to travel. Most of my trips are either by car or plane and both have their good and bad points. I like planes for the speed but I love seeing the country via leisurely car rides. When I was 12my mom, dad, two younger brothers and I took a month and drove from Michigan to Seattle, Washington through the northern states then down the Pacific Coast Hwy to Los Angeles and back across the country via the southern route. We didn't have a timetable and we took a *lot* of detours when something caught our attention. Most of our traveling was done on local roads (no interstates) and it was the (amazing and wonderful) experience of a lifetime.

I'm leaving in the morning for Washington, DC and I'll be offline until next Thursday. Happy Halloween everyone!

robynl said...

After last weekends 6 hr. trip with 5 adults in a smaller car I wished I had taken the plane or train. It was crowded.
I have been wanting to take a train ride for some time now after having travelled on a special train a while back for app. 36 miles. Loved it!!!
As for planes, I'm okay once up in the air usually.

Cathy said...

Air travel has gotten to be such a hassle that whenever possible we opt to drive. I actually used to take a 4 hour train ride every three months to visit my nephew when he was little. For one person, it's a great deal, plus I have no problem reading on a train, so the time went by fast.

jo robertson said...

You know, Cathy, the worst change in the airline hassle for me is that it's so hard to get a direct flight at a reasonable hour. The flying time from Sacramento, CA, to Baltimore, MD, is about 5 1/2 hours, but it's taken me as long as 12 hours. That'll happen when you fly through Atlanta!

I can handle the baggage limits, the long security lines, even the airplane toilets (LOL), but I hate wasting my time!

jo robertson said...

Robyn, five adults in a small car for six hours!!?? Hope you didn't get stuck in the back in the middle.

jo robertson said...

And happy halloween to you too, PJ, and everybody. I get to see my grandkiddies in their darling costumes and go trick or treating with them. Hope it doesn't rain.

PJ, the Pacific Coast Highway is such a beautiful was to see the California coastline. I still love that drive!

Have a great time in D.C., another of my favorite cities, so much to see and do, so historic.

jo robertson said...

Diane, you'll get your time to travel some day. We're just now able to afford some of these places. I didn't travel much as a kid either; our vacations were mostly to visit family and we always went by car. We only traveled to Europe by ship because the army paid our way.

Aunty Cindy's going to Turkey in a month or so; can you believe that? Turkey! How lucky is she!

jo robertson said...

That's the kind of road trip I like too, Ellie. There's a town in Ashland, Oregon, that's famous for putting on Shakespeare in several theatres. They have lots of little antique shops in the area and it's so much fun to wander around there.

Authorness said...

Oh, planes, definitely. I'm a good sleeper on long-haul flights. I get horribly car sick unless I'm the driver. (And, no, Anna Campbell, it's not because I'm a control freak!) I don't know why, but I can ride rollercoasters all day long and feel fine. But after 10 minutes in the back of a taxi I start turning green.

Annie Solomon said...

Jo, the RV is an experience. I'm going to blog about it one of these days. Hubby isn't very spontaneous, so, no, we don't get to drive off at the spur of the moment, but it is fun when we do.

kimscastillo said...

JO! I can't believe you were in South Bend! That's RIGHT by me. I could have driven up to see you. Were you visiting ND?

I've been thinking about taking a train to DC nationals but if its that crowded I might have to pass.

jo robertson said...

Authorness, sounds like Anna knows you well LOL. Seriously, I think the back seats of cars are the worst. For me it's the exhaust fumes or sometimes the diesel smell if you follow a truck. The motion plus the odor really make me sick.

I wouldn't throw up on a roller coaster ride, just have a heart attack! They scare me to death.

jo robertson said...

The RV sounds great, Annie, especially if it has all the amenities of a five-star hotel LOL.
Be sure to give us the full scoop some day.

jo robertson said...

Get outta here, Kim!! How many miles away are you? Yes, we visited my daughter and their three children; her husband is doing a post-doc at Notre Dame.

Isn't that a gorgeous campus? Makes me want to be a Catholic!

ND has been their home for 9 years and next fall they'll be moving on, don't know where yet, but I hope it's closer to California.

If you're alone in a sleeping compartment, Kim, it would be fine. With a husband or roommate, it'd be quite crowded. Our trip from Sacto to Chicago was about $550, which is pricier than a flight, but included all the meals, which were very nice.

jo robertson said...

Signing off, everyone. Thanks for visiting today.

If you're still HERE, bop on over and read Jeanne's Halloween blog. The pictures are great, especially Jeanne's and hubby's costume!