Day 26 - Friday 24 March back to Amtrak
Now here's an odd thing. We both feel we are near the end of our journey even though we have two Amtrak rides of 3200 miles (5150 km) still to travel, 2 days in New Orleans and a flight back to London. This sort of itinerary is usually the backbone of our recent journeys but maybe we are completely thrown out of kilter by the overland point to point train travel from London to Vladivostok, it's starting to feel more enormous than when it was underway.
Time to move on from LA, we and Milton are heading east this evening, train leaves at 8:00pm. He on the Texas Eagle, we on the Sunset Limited, two famous Amtrak long distance trains. But Milton and Norma (former RocketDyne work colleague) intend that we can't leave LA without visiting THE pie shop, pies are almost a religion to Milton.
The coffee shop and bakery 'Dupar's' is pretty famous, their fruit, custard and cream pies are sought after nationwide and for good reason. Trouble was we spent quite a long time there eating pies when we should have been re-packing and closing up Milton's condo. Dupar's has to take a little responsibility for our later predicament.
The culprits, Dupar's pies
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Even the local Fire Fighters call in
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Norma offers to drive us all to Union Station, very kind of her to brave the LA traffic which is incessant, day or night. We're all ready that afternoon, Norma is waiting in the car, but suddenly we realise it will be rush hour and may be difficult to be on-time. I'm starting to plan on renting a car one way to New Orleans.
Didn't recon on this being the original Little Old lady from Pasadena, astoundingly good high speed driving. We arrive at LA Union Station in time but it's 7:25pm, unload all the bags onto the pavement and now Norma's car trunk (boot) wont close. Milton and Rosie are standing helpless on the pavement and I'm trying to work out why it wont close. What I don't know is whether the catch operated from the driver's seat is electronic or mechanical, go round to Norma's door but she starts to move away with the trunk open as she realises that she is now completely blocking the busy drop-off out side of Union Station. I jog to catch up with her 150 yards away and check how the trunk is opened, it's mechanical and her handbag is sitting on the release lever and wont allow the catch to snap shut! All sorted, quick hug for Norma and sprint back to Rosie and Milton, off to check bags in.
Our train leaves at 8:00pm, we have 2 bags to check in and there are very long queues at the ticket desk. Waiting in line to speak to an Amtrak information person we see the minutes ticking away, finally told we can check our bags in at the lounge. Scurry away up to the 2nd? floor lounge only to be told that it's too late to check bags through the lounge staff, have to queue downstairs at the long ticket office lines, this is not feeling good so decide not to check any bags.
Milton has spotted it's track 13 so away we go, Rosie doesn't feel well, we have an extra bag to carry now and it's difficult to hurry from the front to the rear of the station. We know our car numbers, Milton on the Texas Eagle section which is the last car, we in the Sunset Limited section, first sleeper car at the front.
There are no escalators so I run up the stairs to check it's our train at the platform and which way round. Walk with Milton to the rear of the train and see him board, Rosie and I march to the front, it feels a long way off but we still have 14 minutes and are assured the train will not leave early, it does feel as though we have cut it fine.
Two car attendants at the door to the sleeper, a trainee is being taught by Jay our bright and friendly SCA. We are welcomed aboard but have to sort out the luggage rack as it's a bit disorganised, then we get to at last sit in our roomette, a well deserved rest.
Rosie and I are so happy, boarding an Amtrak train again now feels like coming home, welcoming and familiar. We just love riding these big lumbering comfortable trains. We say 'hello' to our fellow passenger 'Dorothy' across the corridor, she will become a lovely travelling companion.
Jay goes through the car and gives us all the spiel, we let it wash over us even though we have heard it many times before. He offers several times to make our bed up, (most SCA's previously haven't done that) we will let him know once we are settled. First a long drink of orange and I'll walk to the back of the train to see that Milton is settled in, which he is as he's a veteran of New York to LA.
Back to our sleeper and we grin at each other, other trains are great but we do love our Amtrak trains. Sit together facing forward looking at the Los Angeles evening... and fall asleep. Sometime later Jay wakes us suggesting we may be more comfortable if the beds are made and we have to agree with him.
Edited by v v, 07 April 2017 - 07:43 PM.