Train Ride, Part II (or “Ruminations on Space Age Foam Beds”)

I won’t lie to you.  You will not get your best night sleep ever when riding coach on a train. Our car quieted down starting around 9:30pm. I read in the dark (the glowing iPad is useful in this circumstance) while waiting for the two women behind us (the only people still talking) to shut the #@%@ up! (Pant pant.  Excuse me. I value my sleep.)

When I finished the book I was reading (“Alanna,” by Tamara Pierce—I’m trying to get a sense of YA fiction), I switched to an audible version of “Monster Hunters Vendetta,” by Larry Correia, on my iPhone.  I was asleep within 30 seconds, which is not intended as a slam on the novel, which was entertaining enough. I woke up after a bit, realized I’d missed a chunk of the story, and turned it off.

Naturally, I couldn’t get back to sleep after that. Without Owen Zastava Pitt to distract me, I became all too aware that the seat reclined at the perfect angle to send me on a slow slide toward the footrest. At the best of times, the footrest ended mid-calf, leaving my feet dangling off the end. Without occasional vigilance, I might find myself oozing off the end and onto the floor. I began to suspect that my feet would be asleep long before the rest of me.

Eventually, I found a position I could live with and dozed off for a bit, enjoying the gentle sway of the passenger car.  Around 1:00am, the train pulled into the station in Spokane, Washington. The sudden quiet and stillness was too much for me.  I woke up and, energized by my little power nap, wandered downstairs to inspect the washrooms. The door to the train was hanging wide open and people were lounging outside, enjoying a smoke and the night air (assuming you can do both of those at the same time).  I chatted with our car’s attendant and a passenger who was heading for Cleveland while we waited for the Portland train to arrive.  Our train would pick up a lounge car and a couple of passenger cars from the other train before heading east.  I waited a while, wanting to see the exchange, but the Portland train was running late, so I headed back to “bed” to try to sleep some more.  Apparently I managed to pass out — I didn’t feel a thing when the train was reconstructed.

Next thing I remember, it was getting light outside, giving me an excuse to get up for the day. I think I managed four or five hours, altogether.  That was enough, considering the novelty of the whole experience.

About Marie Loughin

I love reading, writing, and editing speculative fiction of all sorts. My current focus is on writing contemporary fantasy, where I get to play god with characters from myth and legend. My Norse-based urban fantasy, Valknut: The Binding, is available at Kindle Books and other e-book retailers. You can find me at my blog ( and on Twitter (@mmloughin).
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6 Responses to Train Ride, Part II (or “Ruminations on Space Age Foam Beds”)

  1. Silvernfire says:

    I had already suspected that if I were to ever take the Empire Builder across the country that I would want to spring for a ticket in a sleeper car, and your testimony only strengthens that conviction. But overall I’m being envious as all get-out about your trip. 🙂

    • Yes, the sleeper car would be great, but it’s a little pricey. I could justify the extra dollars if the train ride was part of my vacation and not just a mode of transportation. Think of it as a land cruise.

  2. Ditto re the sleeper…someday. I want to do that Canadian Rockies train…someday.
    I haven’t ever done the overnight train but know I’d have the same problems sleeping that you mention. I have trouble sleeping on planes, too, and really dread that 7 hour flight across the Atlantic in coach…

  3. Julesy says:

    Will there be more blogginess on trains? I feel like a third of the (hehe) adventure has been told.

  4. Max R. Matteson, II says:

    Hey, I took my family to Disney World by train coach from Wilmington, DE, to Orlando, FL, over night when I was your age. It wasn’t that bad and we did not have seats like the one where I saw Jules sitting in Part I. Anyway, keep your cards and letters and Blogs coming. Very enjoyable…………, Uncle Max

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