Features

Reflective journey

"Reflective journey" Continued...

Issue: "The GOP’s Greg Abbott," May 31, 2014

From my apartment near downtown L.A., I can still hear the battle cry of the train: choo kchoo choo choo, kchooo—and I catch myself stirring with wanderlust again, that belly-deep desire to drop everything and hop on Amtrak with just one bag stuffed with books and peanut butter. But I remind myself that this life is my true battlefield, where the same God who was present on the train with me is still working, breathing, and supplying all my battle needs. Of course, I also wouldn’t mind if God decided I need another cross-country retreat on Amtrak.

Checklist

■ Bring a blanket and thick socks—it gets chilly. 

■ The café/lounge car sells a “passenger comfort kit” for $8 that provides a blanket, eyeshades, ear plugs, and an inflatable pillow. Skip it: The blanket is too thin, and you need Michael Phelps’ lungs to inflate that neck pillow. 

■ A fluffy pillow makes a world’s difference.

■ Every seat has its own outlet, so bring your charger(s). 

■ Pack snacks to save money, but nothing that needs to be microwaved. At the café, a candy bar costs $2.75, a can of soda $2.25, a microwaved pepperoni pizza $5.50. Dining car meals costs $8-$13 for breakfast/lunch, and $17-$26 for dinner. 

■ Alcohol (beer, wine, cocktails) are sold onboard. 

■ All major credit and debit cards accepted. So is cash.

■ Download the Amtrak smartphone app to check on train status, look up station amenities, and book or modify reservations.

■ The California Zephyr train from Chicago to San Francisco has the most scenic route, but you’ll usually need to reserve weeks ahead. 

seat61.com/UnitedStates.htm has more great detailed guides and tips for traveling on Amtrak.

Sophia Lee
Sophia Lee

Sophia is a features reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the University of Southern California with degrees in print journalism and East Asian language and culture. She lives in Los Angeles with her cat, Shalom. Follow Sophia on Twitter @SophiaLeeHyun.

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