BOOKED ON THE MORNING TRAIN by III Scheer

BOOKED ON THE MORNING TRAIN

A Journey Through America

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Author of several regional travel guides, Scheer, a radio disc jockey, spent six weeks traveling nearly 14,000 miles on Amtrak. What, he asked, remains of the grand old traditions of railway passenger service? This wonderful account shows that the excitement and romance haven't entirely vanished. Setting out from Greensboro, N.C., aboard the New Orleans- bound Crescent, Scheer planned to ride as many routes as possible and booked a variety of accommodations, from coach to Superliner sleepers. He rode trains with names that ring with the history of the rails: the City of New Orleans; the California Zephyr; the Sunset Limited. Rich with observations on his fellow travelers, trainmen, and attendants, and his descriptions of the countryside and towns and cities, Scheer's personal and historical asides, his architectural and technological tidbits, lift this well beyond mere travelogue. Most importantly, his running history of the development of railroads, depots, styles of cars and engines demonstrates more than a fan's passion for train lore. Though he catalogues a typical traveler's list of bad meals, cramped quarters, and sleepless nights, he offsets the negatives with his delight in the occasional fine dish or comfortable berth. He completed the first two thirds of the trip at a rather leisurely pace, with time out for stops to bicycle around New Orleans, to walk around St. Louis, to visit an old fishing buddy in Austin, to bomb around L.A. in a 1970 Plymouth, to take side trips out of Santa Fe to Cimarron and Taos, and to stop at McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park in the middle of a blizzard to watch migrating bald eagles feed on spawning kokanee salmon. The final third of the journey--from Chicago back to Greensboro via Montreal--was crammed into 11 days on 10 different trains, and is given only short shift here. Like Richard B. McAdoo's Eccentric Circles (p.34), which revealed an unexpected richness in RV travel, Scheer's zesty report points to an attractive alternative to the drudgery of car travel and the dizzying, impersonal hop from airport to airport. (Maps--not seen.)

Pub Date: April 20th, 1991
ISBN: 0-945575-40-8
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1991




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionITALIAN WAYS by Tim Parks
by Tim Parks