Well, the good news is that I’m back on the trains.

The perhaps surprising news is that the trains aren’t VIA’s.

They’re at an airport.

In Phoenix.


More specifically, they’re the little automated Sky Trains that run between the terminals at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

I love these little trains! They’re like a cross between giant toys and a midway ride. Whenever I come to Phoenix, I spend hours and hours riding back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. They’re free and they run 24/7, so now you know what I do in Phoenix, Mom, when I’m not working or hanging out at Whole Foods.

Phoenix was definitely not part of Plan A or even Plan B, C, D, E, etc. of my cross-Canada train trip. Phoenix just sort of happened, like an unplanned pregnancy.

A few days ago, I found myself on the Flight Centre website, and there it was – a $51 flight from Seattle to Phoenix. How could I say no? Greyhound got me to Seattle for $33, so the whole trip was basically free. The ‘slight detour’ to Phoenix was conceived and birthed even before I realized it.

I gave up Churchill for this. It rained in Churchill yesterday (the day I would have arrived) – torrential rains, with 90-kilometre-an-hour wind gusts, raw and unfiltered out of the brutal Canadian north. And the temperature there is plunging to zero tonight. The polar bears are soggy, cold and miserable, just like I would be if I were in Churchill.

But Phoenix – Phoenix is a balmy, dry and healing 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The desert sunsets of sienna, turquoise and deep purple are equally as beautiful as any northern lights.

I do not regret giving up Churchill for Phoenix.

I do not regret substituting VIA trains with Sky Trains, if only for a week or so.

I’ll be back on track with my VIA trip soon enough. I’ve already booked a more or less free flight to Winnipeg so that I can redo the Northern Ontario trek, this time without the 3-to-1 kid-to-adult ratio. I’ve also got enough cold weather gear (and an anti-air-circulator ‘secret weapon’ that I may or may not divulge later in the blog) to keep me cozy for the 2 days I’ll be on board. I’m actually, surprisingly (given the disaster of the trip from Toronto to Winnipeg) looking forward to clocking off work for two days and enjoying watching leaves in their vibrant death throes in the middle of the middle of nowhere.

But until then – WHEEEEEEEEEE!