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The Accidental Round the World Trip


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#101 v v

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 05:14 PM

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.


#102 v v

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 05:21 PM

Day 27 - Saturday 25 March what Amtrak does best

 

Coming up are two wonderful days of train travel, deserts, mountains and swamps, our sort of sight seeing. But all this takes second place to an amazingly diverse group of people who make our journey one of the most memorable we have taken.  


Edited by v v, 07 April 2017 - 06:01 PM.


#103 oregon pioneer

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 05:25 PM

Can't wait to hear about the fun people on the SL. You and Rosie must be trim people, to fit two in the seat!


Jennifer

 

I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.


#104 v v

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 06:42 PM

Can't wait to hear about the fun people on the SL. You and Rosie must be trim people, to fit two in the seat!

 

Jennifer, it's all down to Rosie that two of us fit on one seat. Here's a photo of her looking very happy to be on the Sunset a couple of weeks ago.

 

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Edited by v v, 08 April 2017 - 06:53 PM.


#105 v v

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 06:50 PM

Day 27 - Saturday 25 March what Amtrak does best ~ continued

 

 

This view through a diner window looks as though it were painted on

 

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For much of the day these were typical views. We appreciate that most people don't find this type of landscape interesting, but we love the openness, remoteness and the colours. This journey was made for Rosie and I. 

 

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Our last day with Milton before the train splits at San Antonio, we'll be sorry to part ways as he's lovely company and a great sense of humour. We eat breakfast and talk about what's outside the window, Milton thinks that real scenery should have bits of green in it, he does come from the top of New York state and have to admit it's very pretty up there. We can't convince him of the merits of deserts so stop trying. The dining car boss has a sense of humour too, just have to look for it through his tough exterior.

 

Lunch approaches and Rosie has a sore throat and stays in our sleeper, Milton and I are off to lunch. We are seated opposite a single man who has a pleasant smile, and that's it. A little chit chat between Milton, Matthew across from us and me. It turns out Matthew had a small farm a while ago, Milton keeps his small family farm going too so they had farm machinery in common. Then Rosie appears and sits next to our fellow diner opposite, but doesn't say a word. I think she has decided she is hungry after all, I didn't know that our car attendant had mentioned she may want lunch after all as Milton and I are sitting with someone quite famous, we didn't have clue.

 

Over lunch Matthew explains he started life in Utah where his dad was the manager of a drive-in movie theatre, but as tv progressed it became less popular, "so you had a wide range of films right there in front of you?" "yes I grew up with film".

 

Rosie still says nothing, Milton and I are more concerned with lunch than talking, and then it hits me and I blurt out "Are you someone famous?".  "I wouldn't say exactly that but I've made a lot of movies". "Would we know your name?".  "Well I was in Memphis Belle, a while ago Full Metal Jacket and a some others". English politeness comes to the fore, ie slightly embarrassed that popular culture has passed me by, still no help from Rosie.

"I'm really sorry but didn't see either of these movies (quick glance at Milton and Rosie and nothing to help there), "What's your name?" It is now a bit embarrassing as I know he's going to say it's... and I wont know it, but what the hell. "Matthew Modine".  "Nope, sorry have never heard of you and I can only apologise if this is difficult for you, because it is for me." We Brits have a habit of apologising for things we are not even connected with.

 

"I'm a baddie in the current Netflix series, Dr Martin Brenner in Stranger Things. I think it's currently the most watched program globally" it's getting worse as not even sure what Netflix is although have to admit to having heard the name.

 

At this point we all laugh, the tension is gone and he and I relaxed. Once we knew all this we started to understand why people who passed by sort of just stared in the direction of our table. More questions came and went, Mr Modine is as interested in all of us as we in him. He and Milton swapped farm stories of funny things that can happen on a farm. Rosie and I are just amazed we have met a movie actor who doesn't appear to have a massive ego, we thought they all did but this one was just plain good company.

Conversation roamed over so many subjects, we talked until well after the diner closed, but Paul said we were ok. He's not as tough as he talks. This is one of the two tables that became the ' Politics and everything under the sun discussion tables' until we reach New Orleans, by the next day another couple of regulars had joined us.

 

The two tables nearest the door became a permanent debating area

 

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No mistaking the meaning

 

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During the afternoon our SCA Jay stops by for a chat, over the next 20 minutes he inspires us with talk of his travels in South America. He and his wife are avid outdoors people and travellers, they have travelled really extensively. He lets us into a few secrets about S America, culture, costs, natural sights, people and ease of being in particular countries. We are spellbound and don't think he understands how inspiring he is. We're coming into a stop somewhere and he has to go, but we agree that we have to hear more when time allows.

Milton has gone for a nap, Rosie and I are starting to realise this may be an exceptional train journey and talk away.

 

We saw the current fence that is the border with Mexico, we saw it at the place where the track is only 20 - 25 yards away from it. Have to say that the new Eurotunnel fences installed last year are more difficult to get through, as were the fences later installed along the Berlin Wall. Bit controversial, but with any wall or fence both sides are imprisoned.

 

Just the 3 of us to dinner this time, our fellow car passenger Dorothy was seated elsewhere and we just nod hello. After dinner we move to the observation car, chat a little and Milton is ready to walk back to his car. Big hug for Rosie, I get a manly but warm handshake, we do hope our paths will cross again.

 

As of today we had an email to suggest there is a chance that Milton will leave the USA for the first time in his life. He could, maybe, be headed to France!

 

A very good day today, we even missed a few 'sights' and stops as so busy chatting. The train has a good feel to it with friendly passengers and crew, it's why we travel Amtrak.


Edited by v v, 09 April 2017 - 06:40 AM.


#106 Bob Dylan

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 12:09 AM

Outstanding trip report Jamie!😎 And it's from my first LD Train, the unjustly looked down upon Sunset Ltd.

It's always a great to hear about a Celeb that is regular folks. In my experience most of them are shallow, self absorbed jerks and egotists.Matthew Modine is an Excellent actor,lucky yall!😉
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#107 caravanman

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 02:05 AM

Nice for you to be enjoying your train rides so much, even towards the end of the trip.

 

Sadly, I am with you on "Matthew who"? Glad he was a nice guy. I did meet Elenor Bron once... I thought she looked familiar, but had to ask her "was she famous" ? Another nice person.

 

After your SCA chats, I expect to hear your next trip will be to South America... :D

 

Ed.


Edited by caravanman, 09 April 2017 - 02:05 AM.


#108 oregon pioneer

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 12:05 PM

Wonderful stories! Include me in the "Matthew , who?" club. I looked him up on IMDB, and the filmography didn't ring any bells with me. I can tell he is a hard worker, though! I am now intrigued enough to try and watch one of his movies (not one of the war movies, though).

 

You and Rosie both look like warm and wonderful people. Love the twinkly smiles, and I would say the two of you qualify as "trim" enough to share the seat (for awhile, at least).


Jennifer

 

I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.


#109 v v

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 02:10 PM

Outstanding trip report Jamie! And it's from my first LD Train, the unjustly looked down upon Sunset Ltd.

It's always a great to hear about a Celeb that is regular folks. In my experience most of them are shallow, self absorbed jerks and egotists.Matthew Modine is an Excellent actor,lucky yall!

 

Yes Bob, he said he realised early on that he wanted to be a good human being and he's clung to that through his life. A friend of ours who is a movie fan says Matthew Modine is what in the UK we would call a 'character actor', the part has to be right rather than take a part for the money. He told a story I can't write about here of a part he turned down on principle, even Rosie and I have seen this movie (with another actor) and it is a massive part.

 

 

Nice for you to be enjoying your train rides so much, even towards the end of the trip.

 

Sadly, I am with you on "Matthew who"? Glad he was a nice guy. I did meet Elenor Bron once... I thought she looked familiar, but had to ask her "was she famous" ? Another nice person.

 

After your SCA chats, I expect to hear your next trip will be to South America... :D

 

Ed.

 

Elenor Bron is rather nice, lucky you.

 

A few years ago we set aside a large percentage of our savings just for travel, it's now all gone plus we have overspent a bit too. We've had the time of our lives over the last 3 years and are ending with to us remarkable journey. We are so pleased we have managed to do what we wanted to do while we can, but are a little sad that this could be the end of these long distance trips. 

Brexit coming up means we can't be too cavalier with our remaining savings, our major investment is in France and as we all know no one has a clue where it is going. But we will try to find ways to fund another trip one day, not sure if selling my body would raise too much though.

 

If there were future plans it could well be South America as Jay painted an exciting and beautiful picture of their own journeys, but he also described what it was like to live on the edge of the Joshua Tree National Park and that sounds amazing too.

 

We have our camper and will potter about around Europe for a while probably, we might win the lottery if we did it.

 

 

Wonderful stories! Include me in the "Matthew , who?" club. I looked him up on IMDB, and the filmography didn't ring any bells with me. I can tell he is a hard worker, though! I am now intrigued enough to try and watch one of his movies (not one of the war movies, though).

 

You and Rosie both look like warm and wonderful people. Love the twinkly smiles, and I would say the two of you qualify as "trim" enough to share the seat (for awhile, at least).

 

Thank you Jennifer, you are too kind and we get embarrassed by compliments, but thank you again. As to one of us being trim it's all smoke and mirrors.


Edited by v v, 09 April 2017 - 02:35 PM.


#110 oregon pioneer

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 05:31 PM


A few years ago we set aside a large percentage of our savings just for travel, it's now all gone plus we have overspent a bit too. We've had the time of our lives over the last 3 years and are ending with to us remarkable journey. We are so pleased we have managed to do what we wanted to do while we can, but are a little sad that this could be the end of these long distance trips. 

 

Speaking from personal experience, a few outstanding trips will provide memories for a lifetime. It does help to also be also happy with your day-to-day.


Jennifer

 

I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.


#111 caravanman

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 06:25 AM

The trouble with memories for a lifetime, is one can't always reme...  er, what was I saying ?  :D

 

 

Ed.



#112 oregon pioneer

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 03:20 PM

The trouble with memories for a lifetime, is one can't always reme...  er, what was I saying ?  :D

 

 

Ed.

 

:giggle: :giggle: :giggle:

 

I figure if I reach that point, I may well *think* I have done everything I always wanted to. At least, that's what my grandpa thought.


Jennifer

 

I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.


#113 trainman74

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 05:38 PM

Just love this photo of an LA Metro station, think it's the Red Line?


Just to answer this -- yes, that's the North Hollywood station, the northern terminus of the Red Line.

I have seen Matthew Modine in a number of films and really enjoyed "Stranger Things," but I'm so bad at recognizing people out of context that, if he were sitting at my table in the dining car, I probably wouldn't know it was him.

#114 Bob Dylan

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 05:56 PM


The trouble with memories for a lifetime, is one can't always reme...  er, what was I saying ?  :D
 
 
Ed.

 
:giggle: :giggle: :giggle:
 
I figure if I reach that point, I may well *think* I have done everything I always wanted to. At least, that's what my grandpa thought.
Ditto!😄
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#115 v v

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 07:03 PM

Today's entry is for Bob Dylan, mainly the one who frequents the AU. It's for all his help and encouragement given over the years, thanks Bob.

 

Day 28 - Sunday 26 March ~ one of our very best Amtrak days

 

It started well. Rosie felt better, we are crossing endless interesting (to us) Texas, and heading for maybe our favourite state, Louisiana. Off to breakfast and are seated with our train companion from across the corridor, Dorothy. She is seated next to a maybe 30 year old man going home to Richmond, VA who can eat a vast breakfast, we are almost rude at staring at what he orders. 

 

Dorothy is the very nice person we thought she was, not so talkative but has had an interesting life so far. We didn't press her for her story as she is naturally reserved, but later in the sleeper she told us she worked for the Pentagon. She told us a little of her family and her love of travelling when she was younger, just being in her company was good enough for Rosie and me. While the train was being separated in the middle of the night at San Antonio Dorothy decided she wanted to see the Alamo for the first time, so she took herself off and did just that. I think it was dark but that didn't deter her, she is a self assured lady. 

 

The man told us tales of his first job and then the building company(s) he worked for, think he was too nice as it sounded as though bosses played on his good nature to the extreme. Still, his mother looked out for him and he always listened to her advice even if he didn't follow it. 

 

Dorothy and Richmond man thought we arrived in NOL on Monday evening, goodness knows why. They both arrived at this idea separately so when we said we arrive Sunday evening they were not convinced, what do aliens know of Amtrak. So we asked the couple across the aisle from us, yep it's tonight. Still not 100% so we asked Paul, that was the clincher, plus the man got out his phone with his booking on!

 

Paul the Dining car boss spends a little more time with us, Jay our SCA pops in too from time to time. There are not too many people on the train now and not many sleeper passengers. Paul has a good grip of everyday matters and of how to run the Diner, only after all other passengers have left do we 5 have some private conversations about the world and in particular America today. It's been hard to work out how far we could be open with Paul, but his professionalism is immense and only when off duty is he himself.

 

Paul with his serious look 

 

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There's an hour stop in Houston and most of the train passengers get off at one point or another. We walk and talk with Dorothy and meet up with Francis, an artist who creates her own fabrics among other things. She like Dorothy is travelling alone, they are both travelling to meet up with their husbands. Mr Modine turns out on the platform, he's dressed for the beach and why not. Francis we learn is in the sleeper behind us, across the corridor from Mr M. 

By now quite a few people on the train know who he is and that he is on-board, so a round of selfies with Mr Modine start happening, most taken in front of the row of temporary/permanent toilets. I've never been famous for anything but think it must be a bit of a pain over many many years to be asked to 'perform' whenever in public. But what do I know, he looks and behaves as though each and every one of these people are special and he is the lucky one to be asked.

 

Matthew Modine in disguise with a fan

 

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In between photos he walks over, then Rosie, Dorothy and Francis ask for their photos too, poor man but he laughs.

 

The Three Sunset Girls, and a happy bunch they are

 

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The Sunset Limited which makes it all possible

 

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Welcomed back on-board by not one but two SCAs'

 

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We all return to the train to our sleepers but agree to get down to the diner soon before Paul shouts at us, ha ha. So the Amtrak Discussion Cabal was finally formed, along with on occasion half the dining car. The topics were often politics, serious world matters, silly things in life and just about everything else. Matthew and Francis were the most passionate, he a liberal actor who dislikes Mr Trump. Francis grew up in a bad neighbourhood (her words) of central LA and doesn't intend to move. She is a mix of Jewish and Mexican, add a little bit of feisty, forceful plus left wing and boisterous and she was easily the most interesting among us. Dorothy is reserved but plays a wicked act of being haughty when she wants, made Paul raise an eyebrow once or twice. (when back in the sleeper car I did ask "please say that was an act in the diner?" she burst out laughing with an "of course!"). Rosie sat there just taking it all in and I added just a little, I was working out the moment for a killer question or two. The best of it was that it was always good humoured. We all learnt a bit about an actor's life, about the real LA, about Germany, Europe, Brexit and much else. That lunch probably took 3 1/2 hours and we were soon due into Lafayette where the next episode would take place. 

 

As Rosie said later "this really is Amtrak at it's best" (for us anyway).

 

To be continued...


Edited by v v, 19 April 2017 - 06:35 PM.


#116 Bob Dylan

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 07:29 PM

Thanks Jamie, for your next career you should become a travel writer like our own Henry K.and travel the world while getting paid for it!😉

Edited by Bob Dylan, 11 April 2017 - 07:29 PM.

"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#117 oregon pioneer

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 12:53 PM

Oh, yes, the three-hour lunches, with everyone joining in the conversation, are the best!


Jennifer

 

I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.


#118 v v

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 09:51 PM

Day 28 - Sunday 26 March ~ one of our very best Amtrak days - continued

 

After lunch went to the nearly empty observation car but didn't stay long, the track was constantly lined with young trees and although it provided a photo where your eyes are drawn into infinity it wasn't too interesting.

 

A long green channel which was strangely mesmerising

 

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Back in the sleeper Jay the SCA found time to regale us with more tales about the frozen south, costs in South America, the Joshua Tree and the Mojave National Parks and other South West wonderlands. He told us about taking his dog for a walk in the cool of the evening and getting bitten by a Rattlesnake and how he didn't realise until his leg started to feel strange. But he remained calm until he got home and had to emphasize to his wife that they had better get him to a hospital pretty quick (he's a cool customer).

So now knowing that he lives to be outdoors and the type of area where he lives I asked did that stop him from going into wild areas now, "No, I bought taller boots and the dog walks a bit earlier."

 

Chatted further with Dorothy, we are all seated in our sleeper, again it was the trim females that enabled us all to sit together on the seats Jennifer. Mostly it was about travelling, a little about our lives in the real world.

 

I had this real urge to step on to the soil of Lake Charles, completely irrational and inspired by a song. It's the Lucinda Williams song 'Lake Charles'. We pull in and I run downstairs to the door, they are just pulling the step in (the Conductor was there with Jay), only one person had gotten off and it was time to move on. I tried to push past just to step down and make contact with Lake Charles but was told in no uncertain terms that it was not possible, I said " I have to" but still they wouldn't let me pass so I just pushed past anyway and can say I too was in Lake Charles (it's in the lyrics). After 3 seconds I get back on, was given strange looks but carried on going. I think they thought we have another crazy on board just humour him, think they were right.

Just a note to say I did apologise later that day to both Jay and the Conductor for my strange behaviour, of course they have seen it all before and laughed.

 

A 10 minute stop was up next at Lafayette, we spent a pleasant time chatting with Dorothy until we pull in. We three decide it's time to stretch legs and are off first, there's a small group of people outside the car waiting to get on we assumed. Rosie and I are fascinated how at some of the smaller stops the train has to stop partly out the station as the platforms are too short, it often blocks a main street in these towns. This road was going to be blocked for a good 10 minutes, bet the locals love it when an Amtrak train pulls in.

 

People are talking in an animated way by the car door and something is going on. It appears a young lady has made a huge effort to get to Lafayette to meet Mr Modine who she knew was on this train. She has explained this to someone in authority and he has asked over the onboard speaker system that if Mr Modine was on the train would he come to the platform (which is in reality the road). He was asleep but at the mention of his name woke and thought there was something very wrong that involved him. When he realised it was a fan it took him a moment or two to realise it could have been worse.

This young lady who's name is forever lost had asked her mum and dad to drive from Shreveport to Lafayette Amtrak station so she could get an autograph and a selfie, the drive is 212 miles each way, aren't some parents just great.

 

To see this girl so excited is something none of us will forget, she had made a poster for him, I suppose for if he had stayed on the train? He gave her gentle hugs and her mum and dad couldn't stop smiling, what a day for this family. As was now becoming normal Mr Modine took it all in his stride, offered to sign her poster and be in selfies with both mum and dad. Every minute or so he would give Miss ? his full undivided attention and more hugs, it was a wonderful experience to watch.

 

When asked if the shock of having his name called while asleep bothered him, he said "when I worked out what was happening I felt a little like Elvis must have done on his whistle stop train tour, it was my privilege and made my day".This man should run for President one day, he really does care.

 

Anyway, it made many of us feel quite warm inside and a few more train people managed to get selfies too. The train leaves only 5 minutes later than we should have, sorry car drivers it was fan love.

 

A long way to get a hug

 

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The star of the show

 

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Rosie and I have enjoyed our ride through Louisiana, not enough swamps with their majestic Cypress trees but we saw quite a lot. We had to eat early that evening as the dining car has to be all packed up before arrival in New Orleans, and we are now due to arrive an hour early.

 

Feels as though we have done nothing other than eat today, we are eating a couple of hours earlier than we would usually. It's Dorothy, Francis, Rosie and me, Mr M has things to do and will probably not eat. We are soon into deep discussion with Francis giving a factual and almost emotionless blow by blow account of things she has had to live with, it horrifies me in particular as on two occasions as a young lady she needed help from people around her and none came. But I suppose you can't judge unless you are there in that situation, just hope that I would have tried to help if I'd been there.

Paul is chivvying us along as they want to get all the meals out of the way, but he's doing it with humour and in a nice way. In walks Mathew Modine, think he's missing the company...  He sits across the aisle with an elderly couple, they are soon into their own discussions.

 

We have to order, question Paul what's in the Cajun Red Bean and Rice meal? surprise it's red beans and rice, then he says "oh yes, some sausage too". I really like this meal and the half of our dining car we are sitting in appears to have an opinion too, we are going to order by committee it appears. I ask Paul if they make it without the sausage? no not possible. Another discussion through the car about whether it's even edible without sausage, Paul suggest in a withering tone, take the sausage out if you don't want it. OK that's what I'll do and there is a general murmur of agreement with this solution .

 

Now the entire car has an opinion on everything that is said by anyone, it has become a debating chamber. Not seen the like of this before but there is a real community feel here.

 

Red bean, rice and sausage arrive, Paul doesn't mention the sausage is minced into a thousand pieces, but there is the beginnings of a smile on his face. Someone demanded to know if he had saved some sticky Date pudding and he said he had reserved some for our table. Phew, that would have been a major disappointment if they had run out.

 

We say our goodbyes to the dining car crew, they couldn't have been better. We agree amongst the cabal that we will meet in the station as we get in, Rosie and I have a little talk with Jay and say we'll be in contact, he really has inspired us. His trainee (really sorry have forgotten her name) has come on leaps and bounds over the two days. It was her first SCA shift and she was nervous to start but her nice personality came through at the end and she appeared to love what she was doing.

 

New Orleans has arrived, it's an interesting way to arrive in a city and it feels different. We help Dorothy with her bags although she doesn't ask. We manage to get to the main hall and are directed where to wait for checked bags, we have none of course but Dorothy does so we offer to wait and help. We have arrangements to get to our hostel but are an hour early, Francis turns up and says Mr M has had a limo sent for him, it's somewhere outside. He has offered to drop Dorothy and Francis off at their addresses and when Dorothy has her bags she should go outside where they will be waiting.

 

It doesn't take too long and the checked bags are available, Dorothy now has a serious suitcase this time. Rosie will stay with our bags and I'll help Dorothy's to get hers out to the pavement, they say their goodbyes. There is Francis and Mr M just organising their luggage into the trunk of a big Mercedes car, Dorothy like Francis look like they are born into this limo service. Mathew comes over and says goodbye, a little hug and we both say at the same moment perhaps we'll meet again. The two Sunset girls are acting like Princesses, we all promise to write. The magic of the last two days is suddenly broken, off I go back into the station to sort out what we must do, but can't leave that Rosie alone for a minute as she is now standing next to even more bags than we started with. Someone on the train from coach has asked Rosie to keep an eye out for him while he collects his windsurfing board. Mr M comes to say goodbye to Rosie, I think she gets a couple of kisses too.

 

The 30 ish year old man arrives with an enormous board, Rosie has already told me he lived in California but is headed to Portugal to start a new life. He has decided to do this as he believes in green technology and is unhappy with the current government's stance. He has carried out much research and had two major criteria for where he should live, a liberal caring environment and one of the best places to wind surf, as he walks towards us I'm thinking, here comes another story...  We have family in southern Portugal (almost exactly where he is headed), we give him our email and say let us know if he needs a friendly face down there, but it's now time for us to leave.

 

We now have 2 full days in New Orleans, but first this funky hostel


Edited by v v, 19 April 2017 - 06:36 PM.


#119 caravanman

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 03:02 AM

Another brilliant instalment! Glad the Sunset Limited provided unlimited entertainment.

 

Ed.



#120 Eric S

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 08:57 AM

Wow! First rate story, first rate writing. Sounds like it's been an incredible journey thus far.






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