Travel

Adventures in Amtrak

It’s been a little quiet in the RCM world lately. With two book releases last year (Highway to Hell and The Splendor Falls), I had a lot of travel and signings, where this year has been more about non-fun stuff like family emergencies and health issues. But I’ve got a totally fun trip coming up, and y’all are going to hear all about it because I’m so excited.

So, I’m going to the Emerald City Writer’s Conference. (If you’re going, be sure and catch Tera Lynn Childs, Caridad Ferrer and I talking about writing YA in: Over the Threshold: Three RITA winning YA authors tell all.) Funny story: I got this confused with the Emerald Coast Writer’s Conference, and thought I was going to the Florida panhandle, so I wouldn’t have to fly. But it turns out it’s Emerald City, which is Seattle (Bellvue, actually), which is awesome, because I’ve been to Seattle once and can’t wait to go back.

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But the really cool thing about this conference? I’m using it as an excuse to do something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m taking the train home from Seattle to Texas. Specifically, I’m going on the historic Empire Builder route from Seattle to Chicago. It goes by Glacier National Park and through the Cascades mountain range, through parts of the country I’ve never seen. Plus, I’ve only been on commuter trains, so I’m excited for the experience of taking a train vacation.

This is how much I want to take this train vacation, y’all. I have issues with small spaces, bridges, and motion sickness. So it makes perfect sense to cram myself into a little room on a little train car going through the mountains were there will be tons of bridges and tunnels. And rocking back and forth. But it’s so cool! There’s a dining car! And a scenic viewing car. And I get a little bunk to sleep in, just like in North by Northwest. Sadly, without Cary Grant, but also without people trying to track me down and kill me. So, you know. It works out about even.

So anyway, the train goes to Chicago and then I’m overnighting there, then taking the Texas Eagle from Chicago back home. Hopefully I’ll get to see a little bit of Chicago even if it’s only for a few hours in the daylight.

So, it’s my first train trip. Other than calling my doc for a motion sickness patch (which I’ve done already), anyone got any hints? I’m also open to suggestions of Things to See in Chicago if You’ve Only Got 20 Hours There.

ETA: Also, I need a cool tag for this trip. RCM’s Trip of Awesome Awesomeness is a little long.

5 thoughts on “Adventures in Amtrak”

  1. The library downtown is AMAZING, the shopping on the Magnificent Mile is pretty fabulous, and the Buckingham Fountain is pretty. I think taking the brown line (not too far outside the loop) is cool because it goes over the river and there's a pretty view of the cityscape and the river running through it.

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  2. I used to live in Seattle and adore the train. Which do you want to know about? Sometimes they run crazy late, and pack snacks etc, but it is really a lovely way to travel esp if you can be chill about it. Nice time of the year, too. I like to read and stare, write, stare, listen….Have earplugs, eyemask etc to help you sleep.lots of great food, views, and shopping in Seattle. If you have the chance to grab a baseball game at Safeco and can sit in the bleachers, get there early to watch the roof open/close. And the ferries. Do not sequester yourself to the Eastside! Although great falls etc not too far away.

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  3. I have no words of train-wisdom for you. I have ridden on trains abroad (we took a train from Prague to Budapest this past summer) but I spent most of the time napping. ;)HOWEVER, DH and I would love to take a train trip like what you're doing. It sounds SO FUN! You'll have a blast.

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