Chatty passenger won’t ruin train ride

mike pound typing his column while on the train to hermann
Working on the train.

She is trying to ruin my trip, but I won’t let her.

The lady sitting to my right is the she who is trying to ruin my trip. What she is doing is talking nonstop on her phone to — well, I’m not sure who. And, to be honest, it does not appear to be just one who.

The lady on my right will be talking to someone and then the conversation will lag and she will say “OK, bye.” And I will let out a sigh of relief, thinking that she will finally be quiet.

Then, without missing a beat, she will start talking to another who, and I will think to myself, “She’s trying to ruin my trip.” But then myself will say, “Relax. You are on the Amtrak Missouri Runner on the way to Hermann and the club car is right behind you where you can get another beer. Sit back down, sip your beer and watch the Missouri countryside glide by. The woman to your right cannot ruin your trip.”

Sometimes, myself makes a lot of sense.

The lady sitting immediately to my left is my wife, and she is also not letting the lady to my right ruin her trip. Of course, it’s possible that the bloody mary my wife is sipping is also a reason the lady to my right won’t ruin her trip.

Mike Pound looking out to the right window on the train with a beer in his hand
Not working on the train.

Before some of you get all judgy, I should point out that my wife and I are on a mini-vacation. Here are our plans: Ride the train to Hermann. Get off the train. Catch the Hermann trolley to the Hermann Hill Inn where we will be staying. Then, after we check in at the Hermann Hill Inn, we will sample many of the wines made at the many wineries in and around Hermann.

And then … well, that’s mainly what we will do.

Hey, as the great Dan Jenkins wrote, “Nobody says life wasn’t going to be semi-tough.”

I like to take mini-vacations. To me, mini-vacations are more relaxing than maxi-vacations. When we’re on a mini-vacation, there isn’t as much pressure to do something. When we’re on maxi-vacations, we sometimes feel obligated to do something. After all, we’re on a maxi-vacation, we have to do something. But, when we’re on a mini-vacation we can just say, “Hey, it’s a mini-vacation. We don’t have time to do something so let’s just do nothing.”

But maybe I’m just lazy. Yeah, that’s probably what I am.

We just left Sedalia, and our next stop, in about an hour or so, is Jefferson City. Before long we will run into the Missouri River. Well, we won’t actually run into the Missouri River, but it will appear on the left and the train will follow it, off and on, to Hermann.

A view of the Missouri River taken from the Amtrack River Runner. Blue skies, puffy white clouds and trees lining the river
The Missouri River which the train follows, off and on, from Jefferson City to Hermann.

I say off and on because you don’t always see the river but you know it’s there. You know it’s there because of the bluffs that you can see from the window of the train and because of the occasional fish camps that crop up. Little segments of houses and trailers sitting on tall stilts designed to protect them from Missouri River floods but, as always with nature, don’t always work.

It’s a neat train ride is what it is.

I’ve mentioned this before, but train rides tend to take me back to a different time. A time when, if you wanted to go somewhere, you took the train. A time when riding the train was glamorous. A time when riding the train was like putting yourself into a snapshot of America. A time when conductors yelled “ALL ABOARD.”

Conductors today don’t yell “ALL ABOARD,” as much as they used to. They just scan your ticket.

But that’s OK. What trains still do is afford you a chance to slow down. A chance to relax and let the countryside glide by.

And no one can ruin that.

A lunch plate at the Hermannhof Winery. Twos glasses of white wine a loaf of bread wrapped in white patper an apple, cheese , bowl of black cherries and a bowl of black walnuts.
Lunch at the Hermannhof Winery. It was only great.