I am embarking on a 50+ hour journey from Naperville to San Francisco BY TRAIN. With my dad. Once we arrive, we’ll spend three days on wine tours in Sonoma/Napa Valley before flying back to Chicago on Saturday (just in time for the NU v. Purdue Big-10 home opener).
Thirty minutes into the ride and I love it! It feels like a different world. My dad, who I will henceforth only refer to as Phil, and I are in a family sleeper car. It’s cozy (read– small), but comfortable. We are listening to classical music on my dad’s iPod speakers, interrupted, of course, by the occasional Eminem song – thank you Phil’s iTunes library! We’re drinking wine in plastic, biodegradable cups (because traveling by rail is more eco-friendly than air or car) and eating cheese & crackers and Julie Battaglia’s world-famous banana bread. The rumbling and purr of the train is soothing and peaceful, inspiring a nap before our 7:15pm reservation in the dining car where I will most likely indulge in the “vegetarian pasta” dinner option.
It feels strangely nostalgic, even iconic, to be here. The journey feels slow, still, and purposeful. This feels like real travel — the epic, telling-a-story kind.
I’ll be posting as often as we get internet on our journey west. And of course once we begin wine touring. I am anticipating heart-warming stories of father/daughter bonding coupled with the hilarity of the occasional “tipsy” stupor that accompanies a couple glasses of good wine…
If you’re curious, here is the schedule on the California Zephyr Amtrak:
2PM (Sun.) Chicago to Naperville to Princeton to Galesburg (IL)
5:30PM Burlington to Mount Pleasant to Ottumwa to Osceola to Creston (IA)
11PM Omaha to Lincoln to Hastings to McCook (NE)
5AM (Mon.) Fort Morgan to Denver to Fraser-Winter Park to Granby to Glenwood Springs to Grand Junction (CO)
6PM Green River to Helper to Provo to Salt Lake City (UT)
3AM Elko to Winnemucca to Reno (NV)
9:30AM (Tues.) Truckee to Colfax to Roseville to Sacramento to Davis to Martinez (CA)
Arrive in Oakland at 4:10PM (Tues.)