Day 3

May 21, 2021

The City of New Orleans

IN CHICAGO we changed trains to The City of New Orleans, which runs between Chicago to New Orleans. It’s nowhere near as grand as the Empire Builder, but still, it had excellent service, sleeper cars, coach cars, a dining car for first-class travelers, a snack bar for coach, and a viewing car. While the viewing car was completely windows, it did not have the famous dome car like the Empire Builder.

Since Larry and I are still following COVID precautions even though we’re fully vaccinated, we’re in the south now, where COVID restrictions were never taken seriously.

Our trip to NOLA is only one night aboard The City of New Orleans. Passengers were still required by federal mandate to west masks. With the government’s loosening COVID restrictions, trains are near capacity again. And by next week when we travel back, the trains will be fully booked.



AS I MENTIONED, with the government’s loosening COVID restrictions, trains are near capacity again. In our case, the bedrooms were fully reserved, leaving us with a Roomette. This is a tiny room perfect for one or two persons.

The chairs face one another, and the beds are again bunks, but they take up the entire room when made up. And, the room does not include a private bathroom. Instead, you must use a private bathroom dedicated to roomettes.

Incidentally, the train was a full capacity by the time it arrived in New Orleans.

HEATHER KRUSE sent me this poem. Enjoy!

Life is Like a Train Ride

By Jessica Smith @ Thursday, Jan. 05, 2006 

Life is like a train ride.

“We get on. We ride. We get off. We get back on and ride some more. There are accidents and there are delays. At certain stops there are surprises. Some of these will translate into great moments of joy; some will result in profound sorrow. When we are born and we first board the train, we meet people whom we think will be with us for the entire journey. Those people are our parents! 

Sadly, this is far from the truth.

Our parents are with us for as long as we absolutely need them. They too have journeys they must complete. We live on with the memories of their love, affection, friendship, guidance and their ever presence.

There are others who board the train and who eventually become very important to us, in turn.

These people are our brothers, sisters, friends and acquaintances, whom we will learn to love, and cherish.

Some people consider their journey like a jaunty tour. They will just go merrily along.

Others will encounter many upsets, tears, losses on their journey.
Others still, will linger on to offer a helping hand to anyone in need. 

“Some people on the train will leave an everlasting impression when they get off….

Some will get on and get off the train so quickly, they will scarcely leave a sign that they ever travelled along with you or ever crossed your path…

We will sometimes be upset that some passengers, whom we love, will choose to sit in another compartment and leave us to travel on our own. 

Then again, there’s nothing that says we can’t seek them out anyway.
Nevertheless, once sought out and found, we may not even be able to sit next to them because that seat will already be taken.

That’s okay …everyone’s journey will be filled with hopes, dreams, challenges, setbacks and goodbyes. 

“We must strive to make the best of it… no matter what…

We must constantly strive to understand our travel companions and look for the best in everyone.

Remember that at any moment during our journey, any one of our travel companions can have a weak moment and be in need of our help.

We too may vacillate or hesitate, even trip… hopefully we can count on someone being there to be supportive and understanding…

The bigger mystery of our journey is that we don’t know when our last stop will come. Neither do we know when our travel companions will make their last stop. Not even those sitting in the seat next to us.

Personally, I know I’ll be sad to make my final stop…. I’m sure of it! My separation from all those friends and acquaintances I made during the train ride will be painful. Leaving all those I’m close to will be a sad thing. But then again, I’m certain that one day I’ll get to the main station only to meet up with everyone else. They’ll all be carrying their baggage… most of which they didn’t have whsen they first got on this train. 

I’ll be glad to see them again. I’ll also be glad to have contributed to their baggage… and to have enriched their lives, just as much as they will have contributed to my baggage and enriched my life. 

We’re all on this train ride together. Above all, we should all try to strive to make the ride as pleasant and memorable as we can, right up until we each make the final stop and leave the train for the last time.”

Next stop, New Orleans!

Debora Ragland Buerk
The Write Stuff
Looking at life from a different POV.