I may never fly again!
After I spent 2 days riding coach on the way out here (and not getting a whole lot of sleep, or back, shoulder, neck, or leg comfort) I decided to upgrade my coach ticket for a sleeper cab (or "roomette"). At first, the cost of $150-$175 may seem daunting, but you have to consider a few additional perks, which you don't truly appreciate until you actually try it.
Well, let me tell you what you get, and then you can try it yourself.
First: Rather than sit with the rest of the riff-raff (which in my case, would have been a family sharing the same cold sitting next to me) and experimenting with sleeping in different positions across two uncomfortable seats, with a crease in the middle that will, without fail, find your hips or ribs at a pressure point, and render them numb (if you are lucky) - You get a private cabin, with two seats that fold into a very comfortable layout, and additional bedding and mattress that make it the best futon you have ever slept on!
Second: Rather than pay for hot dogs and nuked sandwiches at over-inflated prices (which I did coming out here on coach) - you get a FREE dinner, breakfast and lunch (my dinner alone was salmon, baked potato, salad and a peanut butter chocolate torte, which I could not finish).
Third: On a trip that lasts for over 24 hours, and leaves you momentarily shivering anytime someone comes thru the cars (and it was NINE BELOW ZERO when I left Havre Montana that afternoon) - you get a climate controlled room, complimentary water, and a door you can close, making it quiet and secure.
Fourth: when you have a battery draining away on your laptop, they provide an outlet for you to power your devices (so I can write this as long as I want!)
Fifth: Rather than stew in your own funk, after sitting in the same unchanged clothes and unwashed skin - you have a shower you can use, and upgraded bathrooms that don't look like an outdoor port-o-let at a Phish concert.
All of these things are presently making this experience much more enjoyable, as a blizzard is raging outside somewhere in Minot, North Dakota. I have a private window showing me just how miserable it is out there right now. Earlier I had an amazing view of the wildlife in Eastern Montana, as Pronghorn Antelope grazed on prairie grass.
I was enjoying the company of three women from different parts of the country. (St. Paul, Oregon, and Montana) and I split a bottle of Columbia Crest Shiraz with one of them... for $7.00) and I am living the high life.
Just thought you all should know, because the next time you find yourself on a cross country trip, and decide that the extra money is a wasteful idea... think again!
A side note: I am in the extreme front of the the train, and it is quiet as a mouse. Most of this car is reserved for the staff, but they decided to give me a roomette with them, and there is less than 1/4 of the 20 rooms taken. Hope they are not too surprised when they hear the sound of a banjo being played tomorrow somewhere in Minnesota!