The challenge inspiring this piece was to describe my most memorable vacation. At first, I bypassed the thought as I had many other prompts to spur me and hundreds of other bloggers to publish something. I’ve had so many great vacations, trips, excursions, etc., how could I pick one?
For example, one vacation was also the second part of our honeymoon. We spent it in Hawaii and had a wonderful time. However, we went to Hawaii again years later and had an even better time. How could I choose? Then there was the trip to Mexico with my daughters—just the three of us in Puerto Vallarta.
We took excursions, parasailed, and had dinner in a beautiful mountainside restaurant overlooking the city and the Bahia de Banderas. How could that not be one of my most memorable travel experiences?
I could go on about the wonderful places I’ve been for golf trips, family vacations, and business trips, including vacation time after business activities. It’s hard to beat free travel with pay and vacation time tacked on to the trip at no cost.
Then my brain did its thing. It slapped me upside the head, metaphorically speaking, and said, “Train Rides!” Technically, my train rides may not have been vacation time. After all, the most memorable and frequent were in my early years.
Also, I could argue they were not vacations, as most think of them. These were obligatory trips to see grandparents and other relatives. In most cases, staying home and doing nothing would have been more fun than pretending to be thrilled to be in Indianapolis. However, those were the days of obligatory family visits, at least in our part of the world.
So, what makes these trips memorable in a good way? The simple answer is the train ride. I loved the trains. I loved everything about them. They had great seats, and the dining car served the best BLTs available in those days. Most trains had an observation deck where you could watch the countryside flow by. And you weren’t crammed into the backseat with your kid brother for hours on end.
Yes, those trips were memorable, and can you imagine how disappointed I was in the 1980s when I took the Amtrak from San Antonio to Fort Worth to ride a train again? It was the pits. There were very few passengers. It took three tries to find a seat that wasn’t broken. The train stopped every thirty minutes to let a freight train pass. And the food available was not as good as the prepackaged sandwiches you could buy at a hole-in-the-wall convenience store.
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