Perspective: A Roomette With A View

Mar 21, 2019

On a cold blustery afternoon in February, we drove to Union Station to take the Southwest Chief from Chicago to Albuquerque, a 25-hour train trip. We had booked a roomette and packed books, games, downloaded shows, and snacks. We were ready for the adventure to begin.


We settled into our roomette, a small space with two facing seats and a tiny closet. At about 10, an attendant made the seats disappear, to be replaced with two bunk beds. Hard as it was to imagine, the roomette seemed to shrink when this happened.


Our route took us through southern Illinois and Iowa, reaching Kansas City long after dark. The next morning, we saw the Rocky Mountains in southern Colorado and entered New Mexico through the Raton Tunnel. From the observation car, we watched the landscape change from flat to mountainous as we approached New Mexico.


By far the most fun was the dining car, not for the food, but for the company. There was the man traveling to California to take care of his parents’ old home, the folks who were heading to the Grand Canyon, and the Amish couple on their way to Mexico for medical treatment.


It’s true that train travel no longer embodies the glamour we’ve seen in old movies, and the delays can be frustrating. But the trip gave me time to think, relax, and be awed by this vast country.


I’m Deborah Booth and that’s my perspective.