December 9, 2017
I’VE BEEN WITHOUT INTERNET on my return trip from Vancouver to Toronto so the only blogs I’ve written are the internal monologues that go on inside my head. Train travel is strange and wonderful. Beguiling and unpredictable. Schedules are quickly abandoned as we pull over constantly to allow freight trains to pass us. It’s disquieting to sit idle, as motion is usually the one constant to train travel. On the cross-country junket, one gets used to going nowhere fast.
Despite the long delays and uncertainty of scheduling, it’s been a first-rate adventure and a remarkable way to see the country. I’ve met some wonderful people and some bona fide characters along the way. Passengers mix and mingle during the meals served on the train. (The food is fabulous.) So no two meals are the same. Depending on the company, the conversation sometimes ebbs and flows beautifully and other times, stumbles and falters leaving awkward silences.
Rocks and trees are all of me. Last night I couldn’t sleep so I lay with my head at the other end of the bed and watched the scenery flash by out the window. I call it ‘train television.’ The train window becomes a portal to a 24-hour broadcast. The only channel that’s usually available is the Nature Channel—a specialty channel featuring rocks and trees, trees and rocks. Strangely enough, it makes for compelling viewing despite the fact that it’s the only channel available. Northern Ontario goes on forever.
Rocks and trees. Snow. Trees and Rocks. Snow. Repeat:
I have now been on the train for 2 weeks with stops in Jasper and Vancouver. I can only hope to do this trip again. As I write this, we are travelling through Northern Ontario and running about 12 hours late. My evening connection home to Kingston is no longer a possibility so I will await further instruction from VIA staff when we arrive at Union Station late this evening. Thanks for joining me on this trip.
There’s a country here to see and the train’s the place to be …
Postscript: VIA provided me with a night at the Royal York as a result of missed connections, so I finished my trip in style. Treated myself to a martini at a local bar where I got to sit and listen to a musician bang out songs on his acoustic guitar. A poetic ending to an amazing trip. My thanks to the VIA personnel who do an amazing job taking care of the passengers in their care.