In 2017, I hopped an Amtrak for San Francisco. I had a friend and a sister in the are and knew it was time. It was like a work sabbatical, except I didn't get paid. The only thing I got out of the deal was bragging rights, so here we go ;)
It takes 43 hours to take the Amtrak passenger train to Palo Alto, CA. from Topeka, KS. It leaves the station at 12:34 am and returns the other direction about 5am. It was dark when I boarded, lights turned low, very few people on board, most asleep. The train stops ever couple of hours at various stations for drop off and pick up. I could hop off and take a quick "breather", hop back on. I could bring my own food and drinks, they sell alcohol, which helped about hour 38, or you can bring your own. I got to watch the sunrise and set. I had never seen Arizona before but they had the most colorful, reds, sunrises and sunsets I have ever laid my eyes on. The train goes so slow sometimes. It's so cute to literally go up a hill in the back of the backwoods, thinking "i think I can, I think I can". The window car is a peaceful mind blowing experience. The flagship of the amtrak fleet is the Pacific Surfliner. It took me through places so beautiful, people are willing to camp on a cliff overlooking the ocean, 100 feet from the train track. That happened in Summerland, CA. It was named as such because the people who found it thought it to be Heaven on Earth. Which explains why people are willing to camp on cliffs just to be there. Also, the Amtrak rides inches from peoples backyard fences, that line the tiny pools, in Los Angeles. I could literally see into people living rooms while I rode care free on this 1811.1 mile journey. My recommendation is to take a train to travel, comfy accommodations, food service, cheap transportation, still get to maintain some privacy as no one is going through your bags or body scanning you. Total pre 9/11 vibes. Felt great. Check it out.
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