Trains are also nice for the socializing, particularly at meals. Groups are seated together to fill tables up, which I consider a feature as I've consistently found my co-diners to be worth talking to. For breakfast this morning, Dad and I had a conversation with a guy who works at Rigley and Kemeski ball parks in Chicago (Home of the Cubs and the White Sox respectively). Apparently he had a bit part in the movie Rookie of the Year as a third base coach. Unfortunately, as his job was selling programs and margaritas, he probably doesn't have the pull to get the ultimate cliche date for a baseball fan of playing around with the lights on in a major league field. Oh well.
When we got on the train in Austin the weather was getting a little cool and damp, but was far from cold. That's been changing as we've been going North, indeed I went from warm to cold as the night progressed. The top bunk of many Amtrak sleepers has the profound disadvantage that one can not see out the window. The difficulty of adjusting the sheets is a lesser problem and nicely in newer cars, if memory serves, the top has independent climate control. Even so I wonder why the heck the designers didn't think to give at least a two or three inch view to the top bunk. There are some cars that have it, but they are far too rare.
Back to the trip, as of right this in Missouri there is frost on the ground and I highly suspect there will be outright snow by the time we get to Springfield. The stopover in St. Louis probably won't be all that great given the tempature and the fact that Amtrak's station is small and nothing special. The regretable station is actually particularly ironic, because St. Louis has a fine Union Station that has become a mall with a grandiose old railway hotel still attached to it. A minor station wouold be a non-issue if it were attached to the old Union Station or were at elast in close proximity, but alas, this is not the case. It isn't even directly on the light rail lines. Terrible planning but I doubt Amtrak had enough money to really have a choice in the matter.
(Note: I'm in Illinois now, no snow :(, cousins fiancee seems nice enough, I'll post when I have more to report)