Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Home Time

Now that we have an empty nest, it's actually possible to travel a bit, so with MrB getting a 4-day weekend (Friday and Monday, the 23rd and 26th off) coming up for Xmas, he suggested maybe an overnighter somewhere, suggesting, perhaps, Marfa. Neither of us have been to Marfa, and it looks like (A) the town appears to be half tiny desert town - half art display and (B) most of both would likely be shut down for Christmas.

Also, it takes over 7 hours to drive there, and we'd probably need to bring our own food since Texas outside of Austin is not known for vegetarian cuisine. Maybe a road trip to Alpine and Marfa during wildflower season would be better, and the shops will be open.

Next idea... mine. Head over to Santa Fe, NM. They will probably have a veggie cafe or two, and there might even be snow in case we'd like to have a white Xmas. Since driving in snow and ice sucks, I check out Amtrak. Pull up website... OK, Amtrak... I want to leave on Dec. 23 from Austin, TX and go to Santa Fe, NM.

Sorry, nothing leaving on the 23rd. There's one leaving on Dec. 24th at 9:30AM, gets into St. Louis MO at 7:19AM on Dec. 25th. Leaves St. Louis at 4:00PM that day, gets to Kansas City MO at 9:40PM. After a layover of only an hour this time, you go from Kansas City to Lamy NM, arriving at 2:20PM on the 26th. Then you get on a BUS and ride the rest of the way, arriving at 3:40PM. 55 hours. $330 apiece (and that's one-way).

Here's what that route looks like (for those not closely familiar with USA geography).

Another disappointment is that despite Santa Fe's association with trains (re: the Atchison Topeka Santa Fe, and see the photographic evidence of a depot) apparently I can't get all the way there from here by train!! Remember that old song? Here's the Rosemary Clooney/Harry James version. Reminds me of a road trip I made in the late 90s which included Chattanooga TN, and I discovered that the "Chattanooga Choo Choo" (Glenn Miller version) is no longer a travel option.

I looked at flying details just for comparison. The cheapest flight I found through Travelocity was $546, which leaves at 7:00PM and drops you in Houston TX about an hour later... where you wait ALL NIGHT for a 6:35AM flight to Dallas, then from Dallas you fly (in a puddle-jumper, I'm sure) the Santa Fe, arriving at 10:30AM on the 24th. The next cheapest flight was over $800, and other options were over $1100 Again, that's one-way, round-trip was about $650, so a bit cheaper than the train/bus combo that takes 55 hours.

Yeah... I don't think so. I think we will probably stay around Austin for the holiday. It will be sweater weather and the margaritas will be frosty.

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