I remembered that line from an Onion article describing Amtrak travel right before I took my first Amtrak trip last Saturday. Sure enough, while we were in metro Kansas City and Saint Louis, that's what we saw, but in between we saw farms and the south bank of the Missouri River.
I once took Greyhound from Los Angeles to Kansas City, a trip which took two and a half days and practically doubled the number of bums I'd spoken to in my life. This trip was a step up from that, and actually, given the way air travel has become so pedestrian, it probably was no different from a plane ride.
At the Kansas City station (which, for the sake of originality, is called Union Station), I was in the ticket line behind a man who looked like a firefighter from a rural town (which is WAY different from the hunky urban firefighters you imagine) and a five-foot-tall, 200-pound woman who looked like a nurse (meaning she had a lesbian haircut, pocketless fake jeans, and a fanny pack). They were standing there doing nothing, waiting for the clerk to print their tickets. Next to the clerk was an automated ticket-printing kiosk. I could see it had a hand-written sign on the top, but from our angle I couldn't read it. I sent Crazy Jane over to read it, but it had some key words that she couldn't read, so her report was, "You can something if you something." So I said to her, "Do you want to take this paper over there and see if it will scan it?" And then the rural firefighter turned to me and said, in classic Midwestern faux-good humor, "Are you trying to cut in line?" Crazy Jane didn't want to take the paper over, so we stayed where we were. There were some Amish people waiting for a train and Crazy Jane said, "Those people dressed up like pioneers to ride the train." The nurse waddled over and tried to scan her paper, then reported that the machine was broken. Once she returned to the line, five people went over and used the machine. What was broken wasn't the kiosk, it was her ability to master technology that my five-year-old could use in his sleep!