I have been hearing Johnny Cash sing this song for over 40 years, but just took my first real Amtrak train ride last week, when Katy and I made the round-trip on the City of New Orleans from Memphis to New Orleans. We got a sleeping room, which entitles you to free meals in the diner and priority treatment. The 6:45 departure from Memphis gives you full daylight views of route, from the vast intermodal facilities in South Memphis, through the Mississippi Delta, to the swamplands of Louisiana.
The food was great: full breakfast menu with pancakes, French toast, omelettes. Lunch featured sandwiches, the specialty was the burger which was one of the best I have ever had. On the return trip, it was a 14 ounce strip steak, cooked to order, which rivaled my favorite Memphis steak house, Buckley’s. Oh, and did I mention, if you book a sleeping cabin, it’s all free, except for alcohol and gratuities.
You get used to the narrow stairs, small restrooms, and movement of the train pretty quickly. We had the smallest of the 3 sleeping room selections, but there was plenty of space for Katy and I and our stuff and electronics. The 110V outlet was convenient, and I was able to tether my Cellular South phone, so I was able to be online almost anytime I wanted.
The best thing, though, is the easy going pace – the rhythm of the train’s sway; the views, not having to pass through security, and arriving refreshed and relaxed. The trip is a little over 8 hour per the schedule, but I think we had Casey Jones‘ great grandson as engineer on the way back, and arrived in Memphis ahead of schedule.
I am studying the schedules and routes for another train adventure. You need to check out Amtrak.com