When I decided to go back to Alaska for 10 days this month, I was checking to see which airports I could get the best bang for my airmiles out of, and how I could most efficiently cross the country (and then some) by myself with a baby.
Flying out of Raleigh ended up being the best use of airmiles (only 32K miles + $12 on Alaska Air!), I just needed to figure out the best way to get to there. Since Matt and I will be in the Triange area the 24th-25th for the Cotopaxi Questival, I didn’t want us to have two cars in the same city so it was decided that I would take the train from Charlotte to Raleigh, and Matt would pick us up from the airport upon return.
You’re thinking I’m crazy now, aren’t you?
Riding the train is one of those activities that I truly enjoy doing, but can’t remember the last time I did it. Researching the Amtrak routes was surprisingly easy, and I was able to take the 12:00 train (Piedmont 74) to Raleigh for only $28.50. (Side Note: this guy has found a way to cross the country by train for $213)
There were several reasons for taking the train:
- I wouldn’t have to stop to feed Little Bear, or for diaper changes. Since this can sometimes take upwards of an hour, it seemed like a good deal to be able to do this on the train. (I did, it was super easy.)
- The cost for parking at the airport for 10 days would have been over $70. The train plus a taxi was around the same price.
- Matt and I are doing the Cotopaxi Questival in the Triangle (area between Raleigh and Durham) the weekend of March 24-25. Since my flight returns at 4:30pm and the Questival kicks off at 5pm, it seemed a no brainer to have Matt pick us up from the airport and head straight to that.
- This way we wouldn’t have two cars in the same city, so no 3 hour drive home alone.
Riding the train was incredibly peaceful. Little Bear and I loved looking out the window, and I would catch him staring outside, mesmorized by the changing contrasts of shadows on the trees. The rocking of the train car lulled us both to sleep, giving us rare chances to nap for the start of a long travel day. I intermitently used the wifi on board to dabble on my computer, knocking off lazy tasks on my neverending to-do list.
This train ended right in the heart of Raleigh, meaning we could easily take a day trip up and check out the great museums in the heart of the city. I also like that you can take it to New York, Boston, Clemson – anywhere your heart desires. Amtrak featured on their blog ways to take the train to the national parks, and I love that there is a stop in Harper’s Ferry – a 5 minute walk from the Appalachian Trail.
I certainly hope more travel by rail is in our future. The reminder of bygone eras before flying became the norm should be celebrated more.