The train brought us home to the Hudson Valley last night, after about 48 hours of travel from Denver.
We booked a sleeper for the first leg of the trip, and went coach from Chicago to New York. The small sleeper gives you two bunks in a private chamber with a bathroom down the hall and a shower on the level below. You're free to walk around as the train is moving.
We loved waking up to the view of small towns in Iowa.
|Views from the Amtrak Zephyr, James Gurney, casein, 1x2 inches each.|
I tried to capture some of the landscapes as they sped past the window. The scenes were composites, constructed from fleeting impressions assembled in my short term memory.
|View from the Amtrak Sleeper, watercolor and gouache, 5x8 inches.|
But now America turns its back to the train, so you get to see our country in its most unguarded, squalid, and at times glorious, moments: back yards, junkyards, abandoned factories, refineries, wind farms, and miles and miles of corn. The views are entirely different from what you can see from a car. I was glued to the window the whole time, except for the meals.
Passage in the sleeper includes meals in the dining car, seated with other passengers. Having a conversation with a stranger can be a surprisingly rare experience in modern American life, so it's a welcome benefit of train travel.