The Cowboys traveled by train on their way to the first preseason game of the season against the Chargers.
Having training camp out in California, the Cowboys have always tried to play either the Raiders, Chargers or sometimes both in their preseason games for geographical reasons, of course.
But when they face the Chargers, like they do this Thursday in the opener, the route here lately has included a train ride down the coast of California.
Once again, that's the means of transportation the Cowboys have taken as they get ready to kick off the exhibition schedule Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium.
Veteran defensive end Jeremy Mincey had yet to take a train ride before, especially for an NFL road trip.
"Oh yeah, it's definitely a first," he said. "It's pretty cool. But I'm just enjoying the California countryside. We get to walk up and down the aisles and talk to our teammates and hang out. But I'm just going to scroll through the internet – maybe catch up on current events. I'm into current events. I was studying the Ebola virus a few minutes ago."
Mincey said he also planned on getting in a game or two of cards or dominoes. Just minutes after the train departed the station, a veteran group of Sean Lee, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray and Tony Romo grabbed a four-seated booth to play cards. Across the aisle, another group that included Dez Bryant, Lance Dunbar and Darrion Weems had a game of dominoes taking place.
This is the fourth train ride for the Cowboys to San Diego with previous trips occurring in 2008, 2010 and 2012. The every-other-year rotation was on schedule once again, but this year's 8:20 a.m. departure time was much earlier than previous trips. The reason is the Cowboys are making a stop at the Navy Seals training base in San Diego before heading to the hotel Wednesday night.
In 2012, the Cowboys wrapped up training camp with a visit to the base, and it has some of the players excited about returning or making the trip for the first time. [embedded_ad]
"I'm looking forward to that," linebacker Cam Lawrence said from his seat on the train. "Anything I can take from them. They're a unique breed. It's going to be special to be around them and pick their brain. Anything I can take from their experience and apply it to football, that's what I'm going to try to do."
Lawrence was just as excited about being on the train, another first for him.
"Yeah, this is my first time on a train. It's kind of a pleasant surprise," said Lawrence, a native of Coldwater, Miss. "I thought we might be cooped up like we are on a plane. But this has been nice, good size, lot of room. It's been fun."
Rookie Zack Martin said he'd only been on trains in Chicago that took him from the suburbs to the city, so this experience was also new.
Then again, the low-key first-round pick from Notre Dame hasn't been fazed by much in his first few weeks of camp.
"This is pretty cool, but I'll probably just watch some tape and catch a nap," said Martin, who is also looking forward to the Navy Seals trip. "I've read a couple of books on them and what we're going to see."
Martin's overall focus remains on football and playing in his first game with the Cowboys.
"I'm just excited to get going," Martin said. "We've been in training camp for a couple of weeks and hitting each other. I'm excited to get out there and play someone else and get some new looks."