There's a joke I told Darling almost every day of our trip across the Great Northern Lands. It only works if you hear me say it, so you'll have to ask me when you see me, but it starts like this: "How do you spell Canada?"
The final leg of the USA trip (on Amtrak) took us to the border in nine and a half hours, then close to another two hours to get to Toronto.
That's a long time in a seat that differs little from a plane seat.
"Yes, but you can get up and walk around."
True, but a plane ride would get me there in a couple hours and I could walk around in Toronto.
"There's the scenery!"
Yes, there is. In a plane, I confess there just isn't much to see out the window. Sky. Clouds. Thunderstorms are more interesting, but I haven't flown through one of those in years.
On a train you do get to see the landscape as you travel. The river view astounded us, and Darling took a lot of lighthouse pictures. In the first two hours. After that...
And trees. And rivers. And occasional houses or towns. Hour upon interminable hour of scenery.
"They have a cafeteria car."
Apparently it costs a small fortune to stock the hot dogs and other normal food fare on a train, and they pass the cost on to the traveler. I'm complaining about cost again. Look, the joy of eating a hot dog while traveling eighty miles an hour viewing landscapes through dirty windows wears off quickly. And the next meal. And the next.
Toronto, we couldn't get to you fast enough.
My vote is simple on this. Yes, train travel is loads of fun for the short haul - perhaps the two or three hour jaunt, and I'd do that in preference to a plane or bus ride. For anything much longer, I'm not a fan.
Our spirits weren't dampened much by this, though. We'd soon be on Canadian trains, with a berth we could retreat to and scenic vistas that we could only see in our dreams.
But first, let's visit Toronto for a few days...