Ways to entertain an adult man.

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Cina

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I've seen lots of threads on this board about things to pack to keep kids entertained on a long train trip, but I've got a different problem.

When I booked my yearly train trip extravaganza down to California, I was lucky enough to find cheap enough tickets to go round trip on the train (usually I have to fly one way). I offered my mom to come along, since the roomette has two seats. She convinced my dad to come, and they got their own roomettes.

My dad has never been on a train before, and he'll be on one for six days, total. (3 there, 3 days in CA, 3 back). He's a pretty laid-back guy, so I don't think the delays and general loosy-goosiness of Amtrak will bother him much, but I'm afraid he'll get bored. He refuses to retire and also does odd jobs for people on the side, and when he is relaxing it's mostly watching the Royals. I'm going to pack a couple small board games (Love Letter and Deep Sea Adventure) but I was wondering what else would entertain a 67 year old man. I have a kindle that I thought about downloading some shows and movies onto, if I can find some that he's into.

But I wanted to know if anyone else had any suggestions. Any interesting train apps? Anything? Nobody wants a fussy baby boomer on their hands. Thanks in advance! :lol:
 

Cina

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How about conversation in the lounge and dining cars?
Well yes, this whole thing is a bit tongue-in-cheek. I'm aware that he can speak to others and entertain himself if need be. I just want to make sure he enjoys his first train trip, and I'm up for any ideas!
 

the_traveler

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I find the scenery out the window or talking to others in the SSL keeps me more than occupied.
 

Fred Wis.

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To expand on the conversation thought, pack things related to his interests. Such as , you mentioned he likes the royals, so make sure he has a Royals Tshirt to where on the train. This may help find another baseball fan to converse with. What else is HE interested in? Just because we like train apps, that may not be a big deal to him. What occupation does he or did he do? Maybe a lapel pin from what ever that is. Was he military? I often find someones cap from a veterans group as a conversation starter.
 

Bob Dylan

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If you are going to download movies for him, since you say he likes watching the Royals,go for "Field of Dreams","Major League","The Natural" and "Bull Durham".

If he's a reader, "Shoeless Joe Comes to Iowa" ( the basis for "Field of Dreams") and Thrillers or whatever type of Light Reading he prefers are good.A Deck of Cards is also useful.

Totally agree about socializing in the Lounge and Diner and Sight Seeing.
 
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All the suggestions here are good. I think between the conversations in the lounge and dining car, the scenery, and movies and books, your real problem will be getting him to want to leave the train at the end of the trip! :p

Make sure he gets off the train at station stops where that is allowed, both to stretch the legs and for another part of the experience just being outside in different parts of the country.
 

Texan Eagle

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Have you introduced him to the concept of Sightseer Lounge and communal dining in Dining Cars? If you acquaint him in advance how much more social and less cramped train travel is compared to airplanes or buses, he maybe mentally prepared for having lots of conversations and may not need other distractions.

One thing I would recommend is, download and if required print the Route Guides that Amtrak publishes for every route. They are very detailed and point out things to look out for and when they appear. It gives a good reference rather than just aimlessly looking out only to realize there was a historic site just on the other side you missed. Being on his first trip and 67 years old, he may find interest in looking for relics from the past and present along the route.
 

Devil's Advocate

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My dad has never been on a train before, and he'll be on one for six days, total. (3 there, 3 days in CA, 3 back). He's a pretty laid-back guy, so I don't think the delays and general loosy-goosiness of Amtrak will bother him much, but I'm afraid he'll get bored.
I happen to love trains and yet three days of near continuous riding would probably turn my brain to mush. I can only imagine what that would feel like to someone who has never had enough interest or motivation to ride Amtrak anytime in the history of its existence. I can think of suggestions that might help keep someone interested for a day or two but six days out of nine? That's one hell of an introduction. Hopefully he has a realistic understanding of what to expect.
 

Cina

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My dad has never been on a train before, and he'll be on one for six days, total. (3 there, 3 days in CA, 3 back). He's a pretty laid-back guy, so I don't think the delays and general loosy-goosiness of Amtrak will bother him much, but I'm afraid he'll get bored.
I happen to love trains and yet three days of near continuous riding would probably turn my brain to mush. I can only imagine what that would feel like to someone who has never had enough interest or motivation to ride Amtrak anytime in the history of its existence. I can think of suggestions that might help keep someone interested for a day or two but six days out of nine? That's one hell of an introduction. Hopefully he has a realistic understanding of what to expect.
Yes, he was the one who called me up and said, "I'm coming along on your trip!" I thought after I showed him how much tickets cost, he would change his mind, but he's trying to get out there and try new experiences. Otherwise, I probably would've invited him on a shorter trip first. He's heard me talk about the different amenities on the train, as well as the more "adventuresome" parts of train travel (like a 14-hour late train :p ) so I think he's pretty well versed on what to expect, and he's an open-minded guy. Heck, he even was talking about trying Uber when we get down there.

He's a life-long learner, so I think he might enjoy tracking the train on his phone, etc. I like the idea of the baseball-themed books, he does like to read but I don't think he's read those! And I do love the idea of printing out the route guides too.

Boy, a lot of people are nervous about the idea of solo train travel, and here I am nervous about bringing people along! :lol:
 

RickIronton

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I don't care how adventurous your dad is, sharing a tiny roomette with 2 adults is asking for disappointment.

If you want to guarantee your dad's experience, purchase an additional roomette.

You'll thank me for spending the extra money once the trip concludes.
 

Green Maned Lion

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Personally when I'm not finding adequate entertaiment externally, retreating into my mind palace is more than adequate. I read an article a few months ago that building a mind palace is a great idea for combating degradation of the mind due to aging.
 

jis

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Personally when I'm not finding adequate entertainment externally, retreating into my mind palace is more than adequate. I read an article a few months ago that building a mind palace is a great idea for combating degradation of the mind due to aging.
indeed! Quite true! :)
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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I don't care how adventurous your dad is, sharing a tiny roomette with 2 adults is asking for disappointment.

If you want to guarantee your dad's experience, purchase an additional roomette.

You'll thank me for spending the extra money once the trip concludes.
It sounds as though they have 2 if not 3 roomettes for 3 people.
 

Cina

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Yes, we have 2 roomettes booked for the entire trip.
 

Rail Freak

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:hi: :hi: :p , I'm a 67 year old Baby Boomer, myself!

All the suggestions are good & it's a little funny, yet pretty cool, to feel your concern about your Dad!!! I wish you guys all the best!

HAVE FUN
 
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I want a Mind Palace of my very own - can anyone suggest some contractors and an MLS listing for the lot? *grin*

Personally when I'm not finding adequate entertaiment externally, retreating into my mind palace is more than adequate. I read an article a few months ago that building a mind palace is a great idea for combating degradation of the mind due to aging.
 

jis

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I want a Mind Palace of my very own - can anyone suggest some contractors and an MLS listing for the lot? *grin*

Personally when I'm not finding adequate entertaiment externally, retreating into my mind palace is more than adequate. I read an article a few months ago that building a mind palace is a great idea for combating degradation of the mind due to aging.
'Tis all in your mind. Look deep and ye shall find. :p
 

Devil's Advocate

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I want a Mind Palace of my very own - can anyone suggest some contractors and an MLS listing for the lot? *grin*

Personally when I'm not finding adequate entertaiment externally, retreating into my mind palace is more than adequate. I read an article a few months ago that building a mind palace is a great idea for combating degradation of the mind due to aging.
'Tis all in your mind. Look deep and ye shall find.
 

dlagrua

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We have traveled on Amtrak from North to South and East to West. In our dozens of train trips neither my wife or myself were bored and that includes the three night trips to the West Coast. You say that you need to "entertain" your dad. Have we gotten to a point where we need constant mental and physical stimulation in our life to be happy? The beauty of a train trip is that you get to see the country from your window. The small towns, big cities,farms, ranches, mountains, national parts and prairies; they are all there. Rail travel allows rest, relaxation and if you so choose there is always "something to do" . If you take a laptop, and use your smart phone to set up a hot spot, you can go online. Some trains even offer WiFi. In the evening when the view is gone, we occasionally watch movies but during summer darkness comes around 9 PM and the beds go down shortly thereafter. You can read a book, go to the sightseer lounge to enjoy the view (or chat with other passengers as you wish) and there is the dining car where conversation can get interesting with travelers from across the country and those from Europe, Asia and Australia.

On our summer trip to Colorado, we met up with a few folks from PA and CO going East that were very pleasant and jovial. We shared jokes, hung out and became a group for the trip duration. With hundreds of jokes coming one after the other, the overnight trip seems only a few hours long. We tend to like our train trips quiet and restful, but if it gets high energy, we can rise to the occasion.
 

SarahZ

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My dad sounds a lot like yours. He'd be pretty happy looking at the scenery but would need something to do along with that. (I'm the same way. I can't just sit and stare out the window for hours on end.)

My parents LOVE to play cards, so if my dad ever came along on a trip, I'd be sure to pack some cards. He's the type who makes friends easily, so I have no doubt in my mind he'd be drinking Manhattans and playing cards with fellow Baby Boomers within two hours of departure.

I'd also pack things like travel checkers, Uno, and Yahtzee.
 

Cina

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I'm sure he'll spend lots of time shooting the breeze with people, as hes good at that :) I thought about packing a deck of cards but didn't know any good 3-player card games. Our favorite is pitch, maybe we'll just have to invite some fellow passengers :lol:
 

railiner

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I find this 'role reversal' fascinating....usually it is the parent taking the child along for their first train ride....as well as worrying about entertaining said child....very interesting.... :)

All of the above suggestion's sound good to me....you know your dad the best, so I'm sure you will figure it out....probably just a chance for him to spend lots of "quality time" with you, is the greatest thing about your trip.. ;)
 
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