About four years ago, I stood on the crumbling Fredericksburg station waiting for the southbound train to Newport News. I was about to start my first job as a lifeguard in Virginia Beach and it was my first time ever aboard the train. I remember the curious way it all felt, being I had only flown on a commercial flight once before. It was smooth and quiet, not loud and bumpy. It was pleasantly dusk. It was peaceful. It was scenic. After two more train rides that summer, I was quite enthralled by riding about on the train, even taking the longer way home on several occasions.
I had gotten bored one night at school during freshman year and stumbled upon the long-distance trains on Wikipedia. I thought it was a far-fetched idea but kept up my reading. I eventually caught on to the idea and set myself upon actually doing it. Seeing 3,000 miles of America in one shot. The next summer, I saved up enough for a rail pass and headed up to Union Station with my brother to get the tickets for my ride to San Diego. Much to my disappointment, it didn’t work out regarding my misunderstandings of rail passes. We left DC and I put the idea aside for a while.
After a surprise job offer this year, I finally decided it was time to make the trip to San Diego for real - by rail. I got my tickets in 5 minutes time and didn’t realize what I had done until several weeks later.
I leave tomorrow. Stay tuned for the stories.