I took my second-ever train trip last week. My daughter and I traveled to the Colorado Press Association convention in Denver via Amtrak from Glenwood.
Why train, you ask? Because I’ve lost the ability to tolerate the idiots on I-70 and because we tend to have blizzards in April, which make I-70 travel even more annoying than usual.
We made it to Denver and had dinner with a dear friend from high school who showed me how to use the RTD and Uber apps before putting us on light rail to get to the hotel shuttle. It was late, and “the weather outside was frightful” with cold temps, snow and wind.
Caitlin had the printed light rail map and I had the app. The app told us to get off light rail one stop early and showed a stick figure walking to the next stop. The map showed us going to Peoria Station. I made an executive decision and we got off where the app indicated.
If you haven’t navigated Denver’s light rail system, you may not realize (as we didn’t) that the “stations” on the maps are void of any kind of shelter from the elements. We realized almost immediately we’d gotten off the train too soon, and that walking to the next station was not an option. We had a choice: wait for the next train or call for an Uber. We called an Uber. While we waited for the Uber to navigate Denver’s slippery streets, the next train came and went. Thankfully, our Uber driver located our snow coated bodies and stuffed us into his Subaru before we were frostbitten.
Lesson learned? Print is more trustworthy than the internet, no matter what marketing “experts” and government officials say. Gee… I think we knew that, shame on me.
If you haven’t ridden the train from Glenwood to Union Station in Denver you’re missing out. Once the train crosses the Colorado River and heads north you see hidden gems in Colorado. We saw a pair of nesting bald eagles, a herd of elk our fellow train riders thought might be deer (we corrected them), and more geese than we could count.
The trip takes about six hours (comparable to ski traffic or summer construction traffic, or riding home with a dirt bike strapped into the back of a Nissan Murano).
The train is a great analogy for life: a bunch of strangers are trapped together in a moving tube for an unspecified period of time. You ride along in the light, enjoying the view, and are suddenly plunged into darkness without warning when the train goes into a tunnel. There’s no way of knowing how long you’ll be in the dark. Like life, we go from day to day, and are suddenly submerged in darkness—grief, depression, illness, financial burdens, etc. The Moffat Tunnel is a good 10 minutes of solid darkness…I’m calling that a midlife crisis.
The train inspires unexpected socialization. People are free to get up and move around, so they gravitate toward the observation and dining cars, and tend to strike up conversations with one another, whether their fellow riders are interested or not.
Also like life, people disappear. When the train stops and folks get off, you probably won’t see them again. They’ve come to the end of the line for their journey, maybe before you wanted them to depart, but there you are, still on the train because you haven’t reached your stop yet. To quote the lyrics from the Traveling Wilbury’s, “we’re going to the end of the line.”
As far as the CPA convention, we submitted 10 entries and earned two awards. After talking to our colleagues we know we need to submit more entries next year. We’re learning.
One of the things we learned is that former Meeker Herald editor and publisher Richard Lyttle was president of the Colorado Press Association in 1951. And Jim Cook, Bob Sweeney said to say “hello.”
Happy Easter Sunday and happy Earth Day Monday!
By Niki Turner | firstname.lastname@example.org