So you are thinking about getting away? Come on! You need to get a break from everything that is going on, but you will have to to do it safe to travel.

Before the most recent Covid-19 restrictions, citing that we would need to self-quarantine upon return, I was able to get away for a few days, so where did I go and how did I get there?  I took the train, Amtrak to be specific, so everywhere that I went (obviously) I planned around it having a major Amtrak train stop.

Here are the seven reasons why I took the train:

  • I knew that regardless of where I went, I would not have to pay for parking. Some places can charge $20-$30 for parking for a few hours, half a day or even overnight.
  • Zero driving for me, which also meant not having the added cost of filling up the gas tank
  • By not driving and by being restricted to what I could do while on the train, it forced me to just sit and relax, read (possibly have an adult beverage) and not think about anything but when I was going to get to my destination.
  • Amtrak is enforcing CDC Covid guidelines, so I knew that there wouldn't be a person sitting next to me while on the train and that everyone was required to mask up while onboard, unless eating or drinking.
  • There are power outlets and on most trains free wifi. For the Amtrak Lake Shore Limited, which is the route I took to Cleveland and Chicago, there was decent wifi the entire route. For my stretches of travel of Chicago to St Louis, there wasn't wifi, but as you can tell, I survived. I had podcasts. music and e-books already downloaded, so this was not a big deal.
  • I was able to sleep and not have to try to keep myself from being drowsy, as I would have if I had driven. Make sure to pack the noise cancelling headphones and the black out sleeping mask. You will be surprised how easy it is to fall asleep when the train is practically rocking you to sleep.
  • One of the other significantly key reasons that I took the train? This particular trip, cost was a big factor. Poughkeepsie to Cleveland, Cleveland to Chicago, Chicago to St Louis, St Louis to Chicago, Chicago back to Poughkeepsie? The total cost was $214. I did go ahead an upgrade for that last and longest part of the journey to get a small sleeping berth, and I was able to lay flat and all the food was included (glass of wine too) and even that additional cost was less that me flying from Albany or White Plains to St Louis.

Would I do it again? If I had the time, most definitely. To not have to drive that distance and to be able to make the stops and hang out in towns that I wanted to see, was awesome.

In Cleveland, I was able to make a return visit to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and eat at two of Michael Symon's restaurants. In Chicago, 5 hours the first time, 7 hours on my return, I was able to check out the deep dish pizza place Giordano's, and then the Willis Tower/Sears Tower and a little whiskey pub. St Louis was to attend a family event.

Have you taken the trip for a long train ride? Do you take the train into and out of the City? New York City? Do you take it to Albany?

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