The Great Transcontinental Railroad Adventure

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The TrainWe took a train across the country from Boston to San Francisco, and then up and down the California coast from Santa Cruz to Mendocino and Fort Bragg, with a side-jaunt into the Anderson Valley and Russian River sections of the Wine Country.

Amtrak is great. I can think of no more relaxing, enjoyable, enriching vacation than getting all the scenery of a long drive while someone else handles the driving and there is no traffic. I love the Observation Car and the Lounge Car for meeting people and watching the view. And the Dining Car is a great place to meet people who already have something in common with you: you're both riding the train.

 But the Dining Car is not the best place for a spoiled foodie. The food is naturally all packaged and selected for transportability, easy loading, and low waste. The wine list is perhaps more limited than it needs to be, but it's no surprise. Dinners for many passengers must be produced under extraordinary conditions of tight space, industrial equipment, and really not much opportunity to be inspired by your work.

We still went to the Dining Car for our meals because we like the social experience, but we ate light because we brought some of our own provender, described in the four pages below this one. Much of our foodie fare came from The Cheese Shop in Concord, MA. Afterward, Peter posted these photos to his Facebook page under the heading Cheese on Rails!