Sunday, April 1, 2018

Amtrak's Auto Train and Adventure Awaits - #Blogboost #AtoZChallenge

Florida, the Sunshine State.

Many, many visit the theme parks that have brought Florida worldwide attention - the Disney theme parks, Universal, Busch Gardens and more.

But how many people see the rest of Florida? The hidden wonders, the sometimes quirky towns, the fascinating history, the wildlife that some travel thousands of miles to see?

For that reason, I hope to bring you the Sunshine State the typical tourist may never get to see.  This month, I plan to show you Florida, outside the theme parks, from A to Z.

Let's take a train ride together on "A" Day - the first day of the 30 day long Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

This is the Lorton station (near Washington, DC) in Virginia where you pick up the Auto Train.

Art work, Auto Train station, Lorton, VA
What is special about the Auto Train?  To ride it, you must bring a motorized vehicle with you - a motorcycle, car, or motor home.

We will board the train in Lorton, Virginia. There is one train each day in each direction. Each is non stop (the one stop is for crew changes and the like) leaving around 4pm and arriving around 9am the next morning.
Near Fredericksburg, VA
The beautiful thing about train travel is how you see things you just don't see from the highway.  Sometimes, you are literally traveling though back yards - other times, through forests or possibly even Civil War battlefields.
Breakfast on the Auto Train
Darkness will fall on our trip as we pass near Richmond, Virginia.  And, in a small world moment, we are seated, in the dining car, next to a couple who owns a couple of rural supermarkets about 15 miles from where I live in upstate New York.  What are the chances?

We will wake up, still in the dark, as we pass through Jacksonville, Florida, and walk into the dining car for breakfast.

Eventually the sun will rise, and Florida will be revealed to us.  When we left, it was winter with snow and cold.  Now, the skies are blue and the plants are green.
We arrive in Sanford, Florida, the other end of the Auto Train route, and wait for our car.

Adventure awaits, as I participate in two memes this month, the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost and "A" day on the #AtoZChallenge, where my theme is "Florida Outside the Theme Parks".

Please join me.  Tomorrow, "B" there or "B" square.


  1. I liked reading your story about adventure. Looking forward to B. :)

  2. That was AWESOME! What a great start to the AtoZ Challenge with the Auto Train. Enjoyed seeing the dinning car and reading your travel log on the way to Florida. I'm assuming your car was loaded on a special hauling train car...imagine seeing an RV rolling down the train track. What will they think of next!
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

    1. Yes, the cars and other vehicles are loaded onto separate carriers -and it makes for quite a long train, too.

  3. I remember riding a train that was an overnight trip - I loved the dining car and the sleeper compartment - this brought back fond memories. Looking forward to your next post Alana.

    Leanne |
    A for Avoid Negativity

    1. There will be one more train post - I hope you enjoy the others. Thanks for visiting, Leanne!

  4. This looks like a fun adventure.

  5. Ive seen some of “old Florida” and I’m looking forward to your posts

  6. Great start to the #AtoZ, Alana! Loved reading your account of the Auto Train and getting to "see" Florida for the very first time. As I've never been there, your words will be everything for me to unravel the magic of the place and the journey.

  7. I've never traveled on the auto train myself but I know it's popular with the snowbirds in Maine who head to Florida for the winter season. I think it would be a nice way to get down to Florida without driving the entire way yet still having a car once you arrive. Weekends In Maine

  8. I love to ride the train. But here on the west coast. I never seen an auto train.
    Coffee is on

  9. You wrote about this before, so all I'll add is too cool.

  10. Neat! My parents rod the Auto Train once. I always thought it would be fun but it seems expensive.

  11. Oh my! What a cool idea!! Have yet to try old style train travel. Adding to my list!

  12. Alana,

    I'm playing catch up as you see working my way back through the alphabet from today's (Friday the 6th) post. You said the Auto Train you must bring a motorized vehicle. A bicycle or motorcycle wouldn't be any trouble to transport but a motor home? How on earth does that work? The transformation from the north to the south is interesting in the winter. When we visited in 2013 it was late March. It was very chilly here in the Tennessee Valley but gorgeous by the time we reached our destination. What I remember the most was coming home after spending time in the warm Florida sunshine. About the time we reached northern Georgia a cold, cold wind greeted us and I was still wearing shorts. Oh Brrrr! Later that morning after we'd gotten a little sleep in our bed, we got up to run some errands because DH had to work the next day. The cold wind continued blowing and it was flurrying. That's when we discovered we had a flat tire. UGH, we got enough air in it to make it to Tire Barn for them to fix it. Actually, I think we wound up getting two new tires. That was crazy but fun!

    A2Z iPad Art Sketch ‘Anime’


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