Train Travel

I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life.  I’ve lived in Germany, South Africa, Japan and Ireland.  I’ve studied German, Afrikaans, Zulu and Japanese (not that I can speak anything but a smattering of German these days).  I’ve racked up extensive frequent flier miles on numerous airlines, taken road trips that lasted one week to three months, and have gone on cruises with my family, and then there’s the time once, twenty five years ago, I boarded a Greyhound bus in Memphis, Mississippi to get home to Visalia, California when the baseball player love of my life turned out to have another girl friend in the Southern League.

That bus trip in 1983 lasted three plus days and there were nights I didn’t sleep because the different men sitting next to me were so very, very strange.  One scary druggie guy threatened to poke me with his syringe for hours.  I remember staring at the needle as he waved it around hoping it was disease free.  Another guy–this one taking the bus to Texas for bootcamp–had never sat next to a white girl and he was fascinated with my skin and wanted to touch it to see what the color felt like.  Everytime I started to doze off I’d wake up to find him trying to rub my forearm.  It wasn’t a relaxing trip.

Now I’m about to travel by train on the West Coast.  I’ve traveled on European trains numerous times, on Tokyo’s famous bullet trains, as well as Amtrak from Penn Station to various East Coast cities, but never along my California coast on the Starlight Express.   I’ve reserved a one bedroom compartment that converts to sleeper beds at night.  It includes a private bathroom with shower and we’ll take our meals in the dining car.  I might have some last tweaks to do on my Tiana book while enroute and was wondering if I should take a DVD player for movies since I’ll be needing my computer for writing.  I imagine the bedroom has electrical outlets.  I wonder if it has internet access?  If anyone has experience, let me know what to expect.

In the meantime, while I pack, I’m giving away the third of the Princess Brides prizes, featuring the final book in the triology, The Italian’s Virgin Princess, which is set in my favorite American city, New Orleans.  The prize package is New Orleans yummy, too, with red royal crown hot pads and apron, Pat O’Briens famous Hurricane cocktail mix, New Orleans chicory coffee and baking treats, candles, a signed copy of The Italian’s Virgin Princess, and Jane Porter goodies all tucked into a princess tote bag.   It’s a fun gift and celebrates The Italian’s Virgin Princess perfectly.  Just comment below to be entered in the contest.  Contest runs through Saturday night and I’ll draw the winner’s name Sunday and announce it in the comment section as well.


  1. Jane,

    Hope you have an awesome trip 🙂 Sounds like you are quite the traveler 🙂 I have never traveled by train before…I always thought it would be quite interesting!

    Looking forward to the new book coming out 🙂

    Travel safe!

  2. How lucky you are to be going on a train trip; at least I think you are lucky because I have wanted to go for a train trip through the Canadian Rockies for some years now. It sounds very exciting just hearing the words sleeper, eating in the dining car, etc.
    What a great princess package for one lucky person. Have a great trip.

  3. Hey Jane! I’ve been reading King of the Desert, Captive Bride and I’ve just reached the part where Khalid is trying to get Liv to pick out a diamond ring. She keeps saying she ‘isn’t the kind’ of woman to wear a ring like that, yet eventually he puts a beautiful ring on her finger and she decides maybe she is that kind of girl. I think that’s what fun, extravagant romance novels like this are all about:the chance to (pretend to) try out something outrageous and see if you really are ‘that kind of girl’ at heart. It’s fun! Good work! Enjoy your trip!

  4. Hi Jane,

    I hope everything is going perfectly! A train trip? You’ll have a great time!

    I can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back!


    p.s. New Orleans? Ahhh. I love that place. Someday, I’ll get to go there again!

  5. Wow You are quite a world traveler. Which place that you visited would you like to go to again? My favorite place is the Isle of Capri I would love to live there and any of the small towns I visited in the Tuscan hills of Italy. Do you travel for ideas for your writing?

  6. Wow – sounds so exciting. I’ve never taken a train in the US. I have taken a train from somewhere in Scotland back south to London. Now that was great! But I couldn’t believe the majority of our group was sleeping – I was just bug-eyed taking in the sights. I’ve done the tube in London, subway in New York (does that count as a train?)and the L-train in Queens. And all were memorable to me! Sure hope you and Surfer Ty have a wonderful time – enjoy yourselves and the peace and quiet for those 4 days up and back. Best, Patricia

  7. Hi Jane!! Have a safe trip and a good time!! It sounds cool. My husband and I are married 11yrs tomorrow and are celebrating with a night in the poconos! I can’t wait to be away without my kids even just for the night! Can’t wait to read Tiana’s story:)

  8. Oh, I’m laughing so hard about your greyhound bus trip. You and I are the same age and I had a similar, albeit shorter, trip that same year. Traveling from Texas to Colorado on a midnight bus. Oh the people you meet…! Have a great time on your trip. A train ride sounds nice – like a scene out of White Christmas where they go to Vermont.

  9. What a great travelogue. Loved hearing about your travels which are fascinating and amazing. It wold be a dream come true to travel to various countries. Best of luck and enjoy this trip.

  10. I am still thinking about your horrible Greyhound bus trip in 1983. I don’t think I am going to get that one out of my mind. Never traveled by bus–and pretty sure I never want to after reading that! Have a fabulous trip on AmTrak–haven’t done that yet, but always wanted to and almost did go to Chicago on AmTrak in June–but all trips were cancelled due to flooding–tracks under water. Have fun in Orange County!!

  11. Have a terrific trip. My most memorable on the ground travel story was taking a bus from Oxford, England to Newcastle- upon-Tyne with my sister circa sumemer of 1994 – an 8 hour ride. We had a loaf of bread, a container of cream cheese and a jar of peanut butter and were poorer than poor. There I was, standing in the aisle, hanging on the wires that held the luggage in the overhead bins, trying to slather cheap cream cheese on cheaper bread for our afternoon snack. I swear, that bus hit every roundabout that it could find. I spent more time hanging on to those wires than anything else! I must have been the cheap entertainment portion of the trip for everyone else, but I got those sandwiches made!

    Have a great trip. Enjoy the ride…

  12. Have an awesome trip! I’d love to travel across Canada by train myself someday. There’s something very nostalgic and romantic about travelling by train. All those great black and white movies come to mind. Some Like It Hot/North by Northwest/Dr. Zhivago/The Lady Vanishes

  13. Hi Jane,
    Taking a trip by train sounds fabulous this time of year sounds fabulous. To answer your question, yes they have electrical outlets but no internet. I had to use a wireless card – you can get them at any cell phone store. Have a great time!

  14. Yikes – this was a timely blog! I was just thinking about traveling to New Orleans by bus when I read about your trip (granted, it was a few years ago). Perhaps I’ll make other arrangements, though! I used to live in the south (where I too, left a broken heart). I can’t wait to read your book set in New Orleans! Hope this trip is relaxing and fun for you (and if not, it will certainly make a great story, I’m sure).

  15. Jane,
    I have ommented on taking the train before, but I didn’t have a sleeper when I went to Modesto a few years ago. My son is a train enthusiast, and I forwarded your question for his expert’s option. He went down to LA in June so he should have some up to date info.
    I enjoyed my train trip, even though it was in the winter with not a lot of daylight hours. The lucky part was it was late so I got to see the northern California/southern Oregon mountain section during the day on the way back home.
    Being on the train was like being in a isolated world where time didn’t matter and there was no reason to worry – someone else was driving, and the time was all my own to spend as I wished.
    I will write again after I get the answer from my son, How neat for you to be traveling in a “green” and good way – very smart, Jane!

  16. Though he loves trains, my son has a warning, “She’ll be complaining about poor service by the time that trip is over on the Coast Starlate” (not Starlight – it usually runs late), but Jane, I know you are going to have a wonderful time.
    He also said the sleeper compartment “usually two outlets. I’d still take the DVD player” and “sorry, no internet access”. Maybe when you are stopped at a station you can pick up a WiFi signal…
    Still, it is a very relaxing way to travel and you can charge batteries while you sleep to the rocking of the rails. There is wine and cheese in the Parlour car, I think they call it, for sleeper passengers at happy hour. Don’t worry, be happy!
    Can’t wait to hear what you think of the trip, Jane. Have a wonderful time. With the cloudy weather coming in for the weekend, wish I was heading south, too!

  17. I envy you your travel. I haven’t really had that many travel opportunities I have been able to indulge. Now, married to a man who won’t fly, I am even more limited. We took the train from San Jose, CA to Anaheim, CA during our honeymoon (10 years ago). It took most of the day and, much like the bus, it didn’t arrive on schedule. It was a beautiful trip. I hope you have a wonderful trip!

  18. Dear Jane: I must be daft! My earlier comment began with I’ve never taken a train in the US only to talk about the
    L train in New York and the subway. O well, no excuses about my memory lapse. Best – Patricia

  19. Hi Jane,

    I hope you have a fabulous trip too and that the train is a bit more relaxing for you this time. It should be! New Orleans is an amazing city and I was there in 1985 but sadly, have never been back. I still have my Hurricane glass from Pat O’Brien’s though and I’d sure love to know how to make a Hurricane again! Your Princess Bride books sound very delicious indeed! Thank you for being such a talented and prolific writer. You’re a sweetheart!

    Love & light,

  20. I traveled by train many times back in the 40s and 50s and loved it. Too bad so many routes have disappeared. Have a wonderful journey!

  21. Have a great trip, Jane. Wow, your experience on the Greyhound bus in 1983 is something else! Have you thought about working that into a book?
    Have fun!

  22. Jane,
    I always love to read your blogs, and all of your books (of course)! You always put such passion and emotion into anything that you are writing about. So I can’t wait to read your blog about your newest train adventure. No matter whether the trip is all-good, all-bad, or somewhere in between… I know that reading your experiences will be entertaining. And eventually all memories turn into precious memories because you took the adventure. Wishing you all the best, as always.
    By the way, this is a fabulous Princess Bride prize package. Good Luck to everyone.
    Kimberly Bellavance

  23. OHMYGOSH! I’ve been trying to talk my hubby into taking me to NO. Now! lol!
    I’ve traveled all my life as my Mom always wanted to go somewhere and I went with her. She even took me to Europe. I’ve also lived everywhere. I could drive 95 with my eyes closed.
    I’d really love to win this time, Jane. Put my honey in a NO mood. 🙂

  24. I woke up at 2 am and couldn’t get back to sleep last night so the first #2 of all our posters is our winner today. Robin L send me a private email with your mailing address and we’ll get the New Orleans prize out to you!

  25. oh wowzers, I won!! What a lovely prize package and I so look forward to receiving it. Thanks so much Jane for your kindness and generosity. E-mail on it’s way.

  26. Jane,
    I hope you have fun…and stay safe! My husband & I took the train from Michigan to Toronto our first wedding anniversary and had a wonderful trip.
    Susan 🙂

  27. Jane–What a fun time to have!!! I recently took the train up from SoCal home to Santa Rosa…with a couple of bus transfers. I just love traveling this way. You can meet such a variety of people. Hear their tales and life stories. So much to learn from other people. I so believe that God puts people across our paths to learn from them and visa-versa. Have fun. Write in a journal each night. And most of all, enjoy the wine!!!
    As for Flirting w Forty…I can’t wait for it on Lifetime. I read your book two times over. Now it’s going through our “girls night out” chain of readers. Everyone loves it and plan a “Girls Night Over” slumber party…wine of course when it’s shown. Hope it’s a Friday!!! Pull some strings will ya? hehehe
    Anyway, if you need company or want a new friend to travel with, i love new adventures…give me a holla :b
    Most of all, enjoy life, make wonderful memories and have one hella good time

  28. Have a great trip Jane! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the beautiful California coast. Looking forward to reading the Princess trilogy.

  29. I just retired from teaching. I am not quite a fossil-48. Somehow, I am not living my retirement dream- to travel. Before I retired, I brought a 6 pack home because I could not say “no”. They are still here 7 months later. They are fosterkids!!! So for now I am loving your books. I will have to live through your books!!! They are awesome. So keep writing and traveling!!! Oh, and thank you for selling them for my Kindle. I live in the middle of nowhere. My husband shoots rattlesnakes and hangs them on the tree by the front yard for outdoor decor. Lookout Martha Stewart!

  30. Hope you have a great trip. I’ve only traveled by train once, while my husband and I were stationed in Germany. We’re retired military. It was a great fun trip! Can’t wait to read the Princess Trilogy!

  31. I love to travel. Trains are my favorite way to go, for you don’t get to see much scenery when in an airplane and buses don’t give you the chance to get up and walk around. Sitting in a dining car and watching the countryside go by outside the window is heavenly. I often think that it is sad that people are in such a rush nowadays, that they can’t take the time to go by train and actually have an enjoyable time all the way and train food is great, too.

    I can sympathize with your forgetting the languages you studied. I took Spanish in Junior High and actually had a minor in French in college, but I have forgotten so much of both. If you don’t use them, you lose them, is so true of languages.

    P.S. I have been following much of the political news on the net and it is nice to take a break and think of something else for as spell.

  32. Hi Jane,
    Have a wonderful, safe trip on the train. I have been on Amtrak once, for just a short distance (Dearborn, MI to Ann Arbor, MI) just so that my boys were able to experience a train ride. My family and I love to travel as well, it’s a great learning experience and you meet interesting people along the way.

    Can’t wait for the Flirting with Forty movie on Lifetime. I read the book, it was awesome!

  33. When I was 13, I took a solo Greyhound trip from south of Los Angeles to central Washington state. Alone, young, fearful that my period would start. I did not eat for three days, I did not sleep until the bus left Seattle to go over the mountains – the last four hours of the journey. But I met some interesting characters. Train trips can also be interesting, but more sheltered. And the world has changed since I was 13! Enjoy your trip and stay connected.

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