Train travel--a new adventure…January, 2022

I love to be traveling on my birthday…well actually I love to be traveling almost anytime!  But, I’ve never loved the fact my birthday is in January…a cold month with so many travel restrictions…at least by the way I usually travel.  My birthday was approaching fast; I knew going to Florida to see the girls wasn’t an option, so what would be my plan?

I’d never done any kind of train travel before.  I’d looked into it in the past--Amtrak’s Southwest Chief goes from Lawrence, through SW Kansas & into New Mexico, Arizona, then California.  Where could I go for a new kind of adventure, but one I wouldn’t be spending a ton of money on (otherwise I’d just leave the country!) but still experience something fun & new.  

The closest city that seemed fun, was Albuquerque.  My spring road trip is planned for the state of NM, but I hadn’t planned on spending a lot of time in that city.  I’ve been there a couple of times before, but this trip was really about experiencing the train.  So, a plan began to form & soon a birthday trip was on the calendar!

Day 1 1.11 
My “Day 1” actually began about 15 minutes before midnight.  Danny definitely got the short straw on this trip…he was my transport to the train station.  It’s much closer to our place than the airport…about 12 miles, but he had to get up early the next morning to be at work.  But he didn’t think I should park a car at this mostly abandoned station, so he kindly took me the station & made sure I was on the train safely.  

Im not one to just always figure everything out on my ownIm more Im going to ask questions when I can traveler.  The Conductor stepped off the train when it had barely stopped, asked my name, gave me a strip of paper & went on to the next person  (there were only three of us getting on here).  ButI asked himwhere do I go? (upstairs); where are the stairs? (around a blind corner); where is the bathroom? (on the other side of the stairs).  

And with a bit more info, I went up the skinny stairway into the dark.  

My Coach seat was in the very front row…which was the Emergency Row.  There are only two seats in each row.  As I looked in the dark for my seat, I passed other passengers.. all asleep.  The seats were big, they reclined & a footstool popped up when you laid back.  I stowed my one bag above my head & my backpack on the floor in front of my feet.  The train took off just as I sat down, & in a couple of minutes, the Conductor came by & scanned my ticket.  

The train was way more bumpy & lots of side-to-side motion.  And it was kind of loud.  But, my seat was really comfortable.  There were really large windows & an electrical outlet right under the window.  Being in the front row, I discovered, there were two cons:  there was a super bright light on continuously & I was near the two air locking doors that went from the Coach car to the Sightseer car.  I pulled out my little travel blanket & little pillow, put my feet up, & surprisingly…went to sleep.  I woke up several times in the night, but managed to drift back off each time.

Day 2 1.12
I woke up just as it was getting light.  I packed up my backpack & walked into the Sightseer car, the one I’d be hearing the door open to throughout the night. 

It was great!  Huge windows!  I watched the sunrise & just stared out into the scenery.  I loved this part.

I spent all day in the Sightseer car.  Id brought both a thermos of ice water & a thermos of hot tea with me.  Id sipped on the hot tea all morning.  I thought I could eat in the dining room & even checked out its menus.  But, when I asked about it, I was told the dining car is only for those who bought a sleeper car ticket.  So, I made my way down to the snack bar mid afternoon.  I took a some time to check out all the foodnothing looked good.  I bought a cookie for $3.50 & a small container of hummus for $4.99yikes!  Worse than airport pricesor so it seemed.  Id also brought a small bag of crackers & 2 bottles of coke for the trip.  (those are my go-to food/drink for motion sickness) so I drank one of the cokes & ate one of the bags of crackers too.

I kept sitting in the Sightseer car all afternoon.  Id missed all of traveling through flat Kansas in the dark (yay!), but saw some kind of sad towns in SE Colorado.

But northern New Mexico was beautiful.  

At 3:30 MST, the train stopped & I was in Albuquerque!  I had hoped the train station was within walking distance to the little BNB I was staying at, but in my research realized I would need to call an Uber.  Soon, I was checking into the Casa de Suenos Bed & Breakfastwhat a treat to stay in this pretty little place & within walking distance of Old Town.

I had an entry through the courtyard as well as a door (with 4 locks!) to the street.  It was such a cute little casita!

The weather was greatdown into the 30s at night, but up into the upper 40s & low 50s during the bright sunny days.  But, the sun didnt hit my front patio space until later in the next morning, so I only sat out there for about 20 minutes with the chair pulled over into the sun.  There was a small kitchen just inside the door.


The inside was cozy & nice.

And so was the bedroom.

I sat down my bags, grabbed my keys & took off to find some yummy food in Old Town.  The Church Street Cafe was recommend by several people.  It has a really nice atmosphere inside & the food was super good.  I had two squash tamales & a fabulous chili rellenos.  The margarita that I’d been dreaming about…was not that great.  A 5 out of 10.  

It was getting dark outside, most all the shops were closed, so I just strolled around the square.  Loved all the bright little lights still glowing.

Then I walked back to my little casita & spent a quiet evening.

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