[LMB] Long-Haul Trains (WAS OT: Modes of Parental Address)

Marna Nightingale marna at marna.ca
Mon Aug 3 19:41:14 BST 2009

James M. BRYANT G4CLF wrote:
> It's a matter of preparation - books, pillows,
> beer and good company (my colleague brought a
> travel guitar as well - and the random Russians
> who dropped in to join in the singing all seemed
> to have vodka with them) can make it quite a
> pleasant way to travel. And we were on the train
> for five days (but the toilets worked).

I like long train rides. I even like long Greyhound trips, and I do have some pain and mobility issues, though they are comparatively minor. 

One cannot, sadly, bring beer on the Greyhound, though I have noticed that a discreet flask for improving one's coffee is a thing that is useful and generally tactfully ignored if KEPT discreet. 

Other necessities: 

Music. I love my iPod like James loves his ebooks, not least because reading in moving vehicles is an unreliable amusement for me. Lots and lots of music and effectively no added weight, plus a nearly foolproof way of conveying that you're generally friendly but not presently social. Music at low volume is helpful for sleeping, too. 

Nevertheless, some reading material, if only for the transfers and rest stops. 

A small pillow is helpful. Something warm is necessary: a blanket if you have the space, but a big soft sweater is just as good and more versatile. The AC can get pretty fierce on Northbound busses as one goes through climates faster than the AC adjusts.  

A change of clothes. Or two. Pyjama pants are not considered outre by Greyhound travellers anytime between dusk and the first rest stop after dawn. 

A cel phone with unlimited texting. One doesn't want to be TOO easy to contact, but texts about amusing things that happen are like postcards only faster and easier. :-)

Teabags, instant cocoa packets, instant soup and other means of transforming hot water into lunch. 

Some reasonably healthy snacks, not sweet. I tend towards nuts and fresh or dried fruits, with a bit of chocolate for quick energy. Cheese is good in winter. Apples are always good.

The largest practicable water bottle. 

A thermos. 

Toner, cotton facial pads, babywipes, antibacterial gel, toothbrush, hairbrush. It is amazing what a high standard of cleanliness one can keep up on a long trip with these few things. Antibacterial gel makes an excellent emergency deodorant, too, if your skin doesn't mind the stuff. 

A reasonable supply of your favourite analgesic, as a bus is no place for a headache or backache. 

An attitude of amused tolerance towards the oddities of your fellow travellers. 

If you smoke, one extra packet of cigarettes, to give away. 

Marna, who is about to experiment with going through the US by CAR, oooh err posh.  

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