There was a time when I donated my car and purchased a bike. Trust me, I was in no shape to be on a bike. For example, one day I was riding uphill, on my way home from work. A police car got behind me. Then, over the loud speaker I was told to get off the road and ride on the sidewalk. Keep in mind that it’s illegal in Durham, North Carolina to ride on the sidewalk. That’s how slow I was going.
A better mode of transportation for me is train travel. I once began a “train” trip in Dayton, Ohio, by bus. Turns out there’s no train service from Dayton to Cleveland. I arrived and went to my hotel.
The next day, I checked out my hotel and killed time at the Rock and Roll Museum. I then made my way to the station. The train to Chicago was delayed (by three hours) and I remember it being a long night.
The first thing I did in Chicago was to beg for a sleeper. The woman at Amtrak cut me a sweet deal from Chicago to Seattle. I just had to move from the sleeper, to a standard seat, before the Seattle/Portland spilt.
I made my way from Seattle to Vancouver via the Amtrak shuttle bus. We were dropped at the train station. The Skytrain metro stop is a short walk away. I grabbed my bags and headed to the airport.
I booked a room at the Fairmont Vancouver. The hotel is actually in the airport. During my stay, I was able to purchase a few items from the airport convenience store, checkout some amazing artwork, and then grab a meal from the food court.
The hotel has a bar, spa, and a couple of restaurants. I was just there for the room. They face the flight line, so you can watch planes takeoff and land all day. The rooms are also sound proof.
The next morning, I made my way back to the train station to begin my trip from Vancouver to Toronto. I purchased a sleeping berth.
I must admit that I was a little taken back by the Canada Rail accommodations. Turns out that a berth is not the same as a sleeper.
On Amtrak, I had a room that locked. Each night, while I was away having dinner, the seat in my private room was converted into a bed.
Canada Rail also has turndown service. During the day, my wide couch-style seat faced another persons berth’s seat. At night two beds were made, one on top and the other on the bottom.
The hallway was kept clear for passengers moving about the train. Sleeping berths only have a heavy curtain, for privacy. There are no locks.
The food and the scenery more than made up for my privacy concerns. Plus, I was the only person in my car. I’m still not sure if I would have felt more comfortable, with other people around me.
It’s amazing how quickly you make friends, on a train. I ended up hanging out and eating with the same people. Soon, my train journey was over. We pulled into Toronto and I made my way to the airport.
I didn’t do my homework and made a costly mistake in Toronto. There are two airports and I took the subway to the wrong one. I didn’t have enough time to get to the other, before my flight. I ate the cost of that ticket and had to purchase a new one.
Montreal was wonderful. I booked a room at Le Petit Hotel, in an old 19th century building, on Saint-Paul street. The hotel is in the heart of old Montreal. There was lots to see and do, around the historic area, and great places to eat. It was the perfect end to a long journey.
I’m living in Alaska now and the Fairbanks to Anchorage train is calling my name. I might try to do it next spring.
Until then, I’ll keep going out on my friend’s boat. And, yes … I donated the bike! —GGT