Remember Planes, Trains, and Automobiles? I feel like I was making my own version of the film with my recent trip to Kansas City. I used all three modes of transportation, but with fewer hassles than John Candy and Steve Martin had.
Russ and I started off by Ubering to the St. Louis airport for the 45-minute flight to KC on Southwest Airlines. I was glad to see that the attendants no longer crack jokes and sing to you. It was a short, no-nonsense flight. I like that in air travel.
The Kansas City Terminal Is Worth the Trip
The new 40-gate terminal, filled with natural light, opened in February, 2023. The spacious structure came with a price tag of $1.5 billion and holds a few distinctives. It’s the world’s newest airport terminal. And it’s the largest of all-glass facilities in the US.
Travelers are treated to moving walkways, a family play zone, an array of public art and, of course, Kansas City BBQ. You can take a brief tour of the facility by viewing this short film.
Trivia Question: “Why Does My Baggage Tag Read MCI, not KCI?”
When the official designation letters were assigned the airport was known as Mid-Continent International (MCI). When it was renamed Kansas City International, the airport kept the code originally assigned.
Not Your Cannonball Express
The Amtrak trip back to St. Louis took about 5+ hours with brief stops in Independence, Lee’s Summit, Warrensburg, Sedalia, Jefferson City, Herrmann, and Washington.
If you’re fidgety about being encased with strangers that long or squeamish about lunching on frozen, warmed up hot dogs or White Castles, try Amtrak’s breakfast menu of yogurt, fresh fruit, and coffee cake, as Russ and I did.
Or you could could always drive the 250-mile across the state and take your chances on roadside fare.
Ridin’ the Rails
Even so, I took to the ease and comfort of the trip. No seatbelts or TSA pat down required. The spacious food and dining car allowed passengers room to stretch their legs. Instead of being surrounded by clouds at 30,000 feet, there were small towns and rolling countryside with blossoming dogwood and redbud trees.
I even saw a backside view of the Governor’s Mansion high on a hill above the train tracks. I smiled as I recalled being awakened by clanging train cars, when my bedroom was just yards from the track.
A Voyage for Landlubbers
I began to Google information on luxury train trips out West. Several had my name written all over them. Next, I texted my kids. “I could get used too this way of travel,” I told them. They one-upped me by suggesting a trip on the Orient Express. A perfect place to write a mystery, they said. I responded by reminding them I’d lost my passport.
Besides, I’m thinking my first venture should be state side. There’s even a luxury trip called the American Orient Express, that’s perfect for a food blogger. It features gourmet dining with real silverware atop white tablecloths.
Not for Everyone
Then I got a note from a friend in LA telling me that she took such a trip. She felt claustrophobic after a few days and wanted off the train! I don’t think I’d feel that way. For a writer, a scenic, slow-moving day is just right for reading a novel or cranking out gobbledygook.