The sleeping car

Trying to get comfortable and actually sleep

These travels occurred in late September/early October 2021. The posts are gathered under the ‘Travel’ category (top right of page) and numbered to indicate the order in which they should be read.

Post 3

Wait, did I say “The gentle swaying of the train and the sound of the horn at crossings convince us to sleep” at the end of the last post? I lied. As I prepare to get into my bunk bed style berth I realize just how narrow it is. We got a roomette for the first night on the train. The “roomette” gives new meaning to the “ette” designation. With the beds down I have about 11″ between the bed and the door. Now, I’m more careful about my weight lately, but having 11″ to use to change clothes is a real experience. Every time I move I seem to drag the privacy curtain off the generously sized window in the door, giving passersby in the narrow hallway a potential case of the vapors. As for the gentle swaying, when sitting the swaying is really gentle. But when reclining on a narrow bunk it changes to death defying, at least for the first few minutes. To reinforce the fear, the upper bunk has a cargo net to be used to keep yourself in bed. It seems redundant since it would be difficult to fall out of bed without wedging yourself in the 11″ between the door and the upper bunk. That thought evokes an interesting mental image of the rescue efforts the conductor and sleeping car attendant would have to undertake to extricate a wedged passenger. Also, there is not enough room to sit up in the top bunk. To get out, you kinda roll out and twist your body around to lower your feet toward the built-in steps. Fortunately for me, my lovely and flexible wife volunteered for the top bunk. If you decide to take an overnight train ride do try to avoid the roomette. In a few days we will have another overnight in a bedroom; I’ll let you know about the difference.

Our fears of being tossed out of bed subsided in just a few minutes and we were ready to sleep. Except for the horn. That charming horn, two long blasts, one short followed by one long, fading, drawn out note. I have always liked the sound of the train horns. They have always drawn me to want to travel by train more often. For the safety of the motoring public the Amtrak train must sound its horn at every grade crossing and train station as it whizzes by. At every single crossing at any time of the day. Or night. When I’m trying to sleep without falling out of bed. I hadn’t realized just how many grade crossings there are in the rural Midwest. According to my middle-of-the-night observations we encounter a grade crossing every 45 seconds or so for about 3 hours, then it gets really rural for a while. But like the death defying swaying, the horn sounds gradually fade into the background and sleep wins.

Published by barnberry

Well over aged 60 (well, OK, a lot more than that...) father of one outstanding young woman, unworthy husband of the most patient and talented woman in the world, retired small business owner, lover of all the wrong foods, political junkie and resident of NH. A conservative with a libertarian streak, and a thoughtful, impish, dedicated curmudgeon.

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