Leavin' on a... train.

As you must already know (unless you're a robot here to post spam in my comments), my boyfriend and I recently moved to California. As you may not know, we took the train all the way from Boston (well, two trains). Following are some of the more memorable parts of the trip.

Getting carded
Along the first leg, we stopped in Albany so that the train coming from NYC could get tacked onto the back of our Boston-originating train. We decided to use the hour and a half or so to stretch our legs and find a sandwich. This, of course, began at the bar. The bartender, not recognizing us as one of his regulars, immediately carded us. Makes sense—college town (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). The surprising part was when my 28-year-old boyfriend was asked for a second ID, to match his bearded self. As soon as we explained that we were in on the train with time to kill, the bartender lightened up considerably. Then he and his regular customer watched hunting shows. Rock on, upstate NY.

Getting proselytized
After changing trains in Chicago (featuring a 4-hour layover that afforded us the time to have brunch with friends and wander around the city) and getting settled in our sleeper room (oooh bunk beds), we checked out the lounge car. With comfy seats facing huge windows, this is the place to spend the trip. We'd also brought some cards and poker chips (well, rolls of coins) and booze hoping to make friends. The first person we meet is, of course, Creepy Christian Dude. We're not that into talking about Jesus, and CCD wasn't that into talking about anything else, but we managed to play an awkward game of cards for a couple hours as the sun set over the snowy midwestern flats.

Getting contact-high
Included in the price of our sleeper car ticket were three meals a day in the diner car. The food was, for the most part, way better than airplane food. They even had made-to-order steak on the menu. But the diner car booths were made for 4, so at each meal we made some new friends. There were the typical Berkeley rich liberals, the Southern Republican father and probably-gay-but-maybe-hasn't-admitted-it-to-himself son, the annoyingly douchey Concordians... And then there was another father-son pair. The father was a pot grower from North of SF; the son, as far as I could tell, was just a little embarrassed by his father. It took a while to put it together—for a while I just thought the father was batshit crazy—but as soon as he mentioned that the only way to do these train trips was to make yourself a giant pot brownie, it all made sense.

Getting bored
Nope, didn't happen. The scenery was gorgeous. Everything was timed so that we went through the mountains during the day. We had too many books, it turned out, because staring out the windows occupied a surprising number of hours.

Getting home
We arrived in Emeryville, California, after four days and three nights on the two trains. We retrieved our damp, collapsed checked baggage (grr) and fortunately fit all of them in one taxi to our interim apartment. And so now I live in The Golden State (wait, really, Wikipedia? That's the state's nickname? Seems kinda corny). But that's best left for another post.

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