We did speak at length to the tour lady, a young 30 year old Hispanic woman. What got her attention was my NAVY hat. She and her sister both were in the NAVY for (6) years and both were graduates of the (1) year NAVY nuclear power program which is just about the most arduous academic programs the NAVY offers. Both left after (6) years and her sister used her acquired skills and works as lead mechanic for Caterpillar repairing the huge earth movers out in the field that have the 15-20 ft. tires. She went on to get her teaching degree and teach H.S. History but is currently laid off. She was real interesting to talk to relating her NAVY experience.
Took the advice of an AU member and went to Beggars pizza near the station. I had a slice of hand tossed and wife had the deep dish. Pizza was good but I prefer New York style pizza. Wife really liked the deep dish with all the dough and the cheese and sauce/sausage. The hand tossed was more of a thick soda cracker crust and I prefer a more "doughy"crust. You could see the SEARS tower through the window of the restaurant. Back to the station to relax.
Wife struck up a conversation with a woman and her son. She was 103 years old and was going "back east" from Orange County, CA after visiting son who was with her taking her back to CA. Her husband was a retired Air Force General and her accompanying son was a retired NAVY captain. They both had some interesting stories.
Got the call to assemble at the rear of the lounge to go to our train. Lady said we are going to track # 28 and we went out the door. WRONG !!!! Half way down the track we heard STOP !!! STOP !!!!. It was the CONDUCTOR. Said we are leaving from track # 24 NOT track # 28. Interesting. Meet SCA Bobby who was a replacement for a sick SCA. Good, no Renee. Got settled in and off we go. Typical Chicago suburbia as we head west.
After watching the Illinois countryside fade into darkness, we headed for dinner Monday night. We dined with a U.C. Berkley History of religion professor and a restaurateur from Brazil. He spoke a little English, the professor passable Spanish, me tourist Spanish and wife some forgotten H.S. Spanish. Although Portuguese is the official language of Brazil it is close enough to Portuguese that we got our thoughts across. He has (3) restaurants in Brazil but was here for a month to visit kids (ex-wife/kids) in L.A. and take LD trains all over the U.S. to visit America.
I had a shrimp with black beans, red peppers, onions, chiles with mashed potatoes which was rather tasty, As I write this(I am behind, it's 5:40 MST on Tuesday) we are in ABQ, 1 ½ hours late, taking on water/diesel and I don't know if they are going to fix electrical problem that occurred near La Junta, CO. Had to restart 2nd engine, something got smoked in my car, toilets don't work, public toilets locked, bedroom people using theirs, no flush, weak ventilation and it's getting ripe. Hiding out in the SSL. Can you say voucher.
Anyways, SWC had huge cream puffs for dessert during Monday dinner and I enjoyed with coffee. After dinner, hung in SSL and conversed with a huge group (30-40) of Wisconsin/Iowa Amish on their way to get all kinds of medical treatments south of the border south of San Diego. Never know who you are going to meet on the train.
Had breakfast around 7:00 AM Tuesday near Lamar, CO with a couple from Brooklyn, MI on their way to visit brother/BIL in Las Vegas, NV. About 10 minutes out of La Junta, CO they stopped the train for about 50 mins with 2nd engine problems. The problems somehow messed up the toilets and ventilation on my car for about 8 hours between La Junta and Albequerque. Here is problem.
"About 10 minutes out of La Junta, CO, CDR comes on to say we are stopping for a mechanical problem. (8:45 MST) Just came on 9:15 AM (MST) to say they are having a
problem getting the 2nd engine to come on/energize/fire up and that it produces the electricity and try to avoid using the restrooms. As of 9:30 AM (MST), I continue to hear then try to restart "something"
They got us going but it did something to the flushing system and the ventilation system in car 0331 (my car) so they locked all the "public bathrooms" since La Lunta, CO but the bedroom people still are using theirs and with no flushing and poor ventilation, it has become ripe smelling in the car. You can handle about 30 minutes in the car before you have to go to the SSL to get a fresh air break. Right now we are about 1 1/2 hours behind.
Don't know if they are trying to get parts to ABQ to fix the problem before LAX or not. Have to take it an hour at a time".
Well they fixed the problem in Albequerque. In addition I tried (3) successive CDRs for an upgrade from roomette to bedroom and got no cooperation from any of the three so I gave up.
I had lunch with the Navy Captain again and we pretty much enjoyed watching the CO/NM canyon/desert scenery from our room or SSL all during the daylight hours. For dinner it was wife, wine, me and a very good Flat Iron steak.
So I'll sign off from the NM/AZ border and I'll watch the desert stars till bedtime and then we roll into LAX maybe on time as the Rocket Man (engineer has been doing 90MPH since Gallup) tries to get us there on time.
PS: Update 1/11/12 @ 6:30 PCT (3) hours from LAX. Well, they did not fix the electrical/toilet problem in car 0331 at ABQ, so from La Junta, CO Tuesday 5:00 PM MST to LAX we will not have had toilets for (16) hours, the Bedroom people continued using theirs and with no flush and no AC ventilation it was warm all night and it smelledandt they tried to kill with Febrezze.
Edited by NAVYBLUE, 11 January 2012 - 09:45 AM.