This year, I'm on a train kick. I took the narrow gauge train from Durango and Silverton when my parents were visiting Colorado this summer. And I've had many moments when I've felt like I was going off the rails on a crazy train.
Ozzy is my co-pilot.
Since I've dedicated my holidays to more time with family, I chose to make the trek to Indiana by rail for Thanksgiving. Luckily we have a train station conveniently located in downtown Glenwood Springs that travels cross-country to the Midwest. All I needed was a one-way ticket, a soft blanket, and access to texting and I was on my way to 30 hours of travel to Indianapolis.
No big deal.
My idea to take the train was on a whim. I actually prefer to do most things in life this way. I call it spontaneity.
I'm sure my friends and family have another word for it.
I originally planned to leave on Saturday but missed the train by literal seconds after running to my car to grab my bag after I purchased my ticket. I was running to the train, hand outreached like in a movie, yelling, "Nooooooo! Don't leave without me!" There were even Hollywood-worthy tears.
I'm thinking of hiring an agent.
Thankfully, the edge of literally missing a train was taken off when I ran into my Carbondale friends Amber and Drea as they drove by me tearfully returning my suitcase to the backseat. They persuaded me to join them downtown for a Zombie cocktail and half-price sushi.
Friends are great, but family is what counts.
With a little too much heartache for this girl to handle this year, I've missed my family tremendously of late. They are all back east, and I don't want to lose time with them I'll never get back. So being back home again in Indiana for Thanksgiving was extremely important to me. I definitely won't be missing Christmas.
That morning just isn't the same by Skype.
The day after missing the first train, I boarded the Sunday Amtrak California Zephyr train in Glenwood feeling a bit of the anxiety from the day prior. Admittedly, I was a bit on edge when I found my seat. Imagine my enthusiasm as I sat next to an extremely upbeat and loud teenage girl. Now I usually don't have a problem with upbeat people, even extreme ones.
I'm sure in my finest moments I could be described as such.
Since this was my first long Amtrak train ride, I didn't notice the significance of the small tickets with station names they clip above your seats. I had no idea if she would be making the entire trip with me.
And guess who forget her headphones?
I was happy to hunker down in my window seat with a book about striking it rich in Ouray during the gold rush. Upbeat Girl next to me was playing the loudest card game in history with a teenage boy in the seat and row catty-corner behind us, having a discussion about "Dr. Who." I know nothing about British science fiction, but I was brought into the conversation when she asked me if I knew what T.A.R.D.I.S. is.
"Um, no," I said.
She was quick to express her shock and disbelief with everyone. I knew she was getting ready to tell everyone in the car what is was anyway.
"What! You don't know what T.A.R.D.I.S. means?" she said, in that teenage way of saying things. "You know, T.A.R.D.I.S., from 'Dr. Who?!'"
"I've never watched 'Dr. Who,'" I replied.
"You've never seen 'Dr. Who?'" she spouted?
"No," I said.
This went on for a bit, until we all finally learned T.A.R.D.I.S. is an acronym for Time and Relative Dimension in Space. That's a time machine.
For people like me who have not seen "Dr. Who."
Upbeat Girl eventually unloaded in Denver. My neighbors were mostly quiet, and came and went without Dr. Who talk. After stopping in Chicago to change trains, I made it to Indianapolis 30 hours later.
I enjoyed the trip. It was a chance for me to read, rest, and see the country from the railroad tracks that brought the country together so many years ago with its invention. I may even take another train ride again in my near future.
I better start watching "Dr. Who."
- "April in Glenwood" appears every Wednesday. April E. Clark is telling jokes and collecting coats for those in need Saturday night at Steve's Guitars. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.