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Silmaril's Trip


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#1 silmaril

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 10:39 PM

Hi all,

 

You might remember me from my pre-trip thread - http://discuss.amtraktrains.com/index.php?/topic/69572-many-questions/  

 

I'm going to start this new thread to share my adventures!

 

I like to write a bit, so a fair bit may not be directly AmTrak related but I hope you enjoy anyway!

 

Cheers,

Silmaril.

 



#2 silmaril

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 10:40 PM

Have arrived in LA thanks to the magical tin tube depositing me 3.5 hours earlier on Tuesday 3rd October than when I left Melbourne. Thankfully no issues with the tin tube and no sign of mules or donkeys at Melbourne Airport (Thanks Kirsten).

 

Approaching 24.5 hours of being awake, it’s around 1:30pm so the longer I can hold out before sleeping, the faster I’ll acclimatize to the time zone. Or so I’m told!

Was very happy on the plane with the emergency exit row seat (optional paid extra back when I booked in April), heaps of leg room, lots of space around. Even better when the flight closed, three empty seats in the middle of the exit row were empty, and the flight attendant suggested I move across. They were immediately nabbed by a surprisingly spry older gentleman, however he was directed back to his seat as he already had a spare next to him, and I was in a row of three filled seats.

 

Impressively for a bulkhead row, the leg room was still impressive, so had a very comfortable flight that turned out to be far less traumatic and stressful than I had imagined. I’m a big fan now of the Boeing 777 if only because of the height of the cabin interior, it’s much higher than any other plane I’ve been in, to the point where you don’t even have individual air controls as you wouldn’t be able to reach them, and the reading light is controlled via your touch screen.

My oh so smart plan of buying an AT&T Sim card before leaving Australia was messed up by one little flaw – I didn’t read the instructions carefully, where it said make sure to activate your Sim before departure. So I spent a painful half an hour in LAX after clearing customs trying to find a working wifi hotspot that would let me connect to the AT&T website to activate the card. I had planned to use the internet then to look at shuttle buses or Uber to my destination. In the end, with no internet I opted for a taxi… which turned out to be an $80USD ouch to reach the other side of the LA downtown area.

 

It’s hard to describe the LA freeways and traffic. Insane would come close. They’re also particularly recognizable from film and TV because of their concrete construction. And they spread and spiral and twist and turn. My taxi literally headed backwards upon its route and I think it was a legit route rather than the driver trying to raise the fare!

 

My AirBnB was described as “Downtown LA”which is a bit of a stretch of the imagination. However, it’s a reasonable price, the hosts are down to earth and welcoming, and of course the winning factor is the young gentleman cat called Huckleberry, who is a recent addition to the Airbnb tenants. Tom the host was worried I would find a cat objectionable, as it wasn’t in the listing when I first booked, but I think we’ll cope.

 

I’m staying in the locality of Lincoln Heights. Don’t know enough to comment on whether it’s a typical kind of LA area. The scenery is odd, surrounded by these sudden steep hills crowned with palm trees, and the sound track is car horns honking. Lots of car horns. You notice this as soon as you exit the terminal at LAX. Drivers love their horns. Wandering to the local supermarket, I quickly noticed that it is not geared for shoppers on foot – everything comes in massive containers or packets. And I think half the shop was comprised of objects made entirely of sugar.



#3 silmaril

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 10:42 PM

Took an uber from the Airbnb this morning, the driver was a classical guitar player and composer of film scores who has recorded in the Abbey Road studios. I get the feeling uber was a side-gig for him, as we discussed holiday destinations, his plans include weeks in Hawaii and doing the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada next year. I’ve been told that discussing politics is a no no in the US, however this guy broached the topic and in attempting to describe Trump, referred to similar four letter words used to describe the LA traffic.

 

The California Science Center is home to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the last of the space shuttles built, and the one built following the Challenger disaster. The exhibit is very good, you go through a whole museum exhibit of rooms filled with info and artefacts before then entering the enormous hangar the houses the shuttle. It is enormous and awe inspiring. On the walls around the shuttle are plaques with details of each shuttle mission, there have been 135 missions since April 12 1981 – an enormous amount! I don’t think I’d ever realized how many missions there were. Somewhat disturbingly, a lot of the missions are “Classified Department of Defence” missions with no info about them listed!

 

Upstairs, the museum also had Apollo and Gemini capsules from earlier space programs, including photos of the first mission with Ham the chimpanzee, who survived his trip to space despite a much harder than planned landing in the ocean!

I tried my luck with a cheeseburger from the museum’s café. This could more accurately be described as a pickle burger! It came with 3 enormous slices of dill pickle that hijacked everything else in the burger.

 

Jumped on the LA Metro Rail system, which they describe as a train, but is more what we would recognize as a Tram on light rail. This took me all the way to Santa Monica beach. I say “all the way” because what appears to be a short distance on the map proves to be a lot further in real life… beginning to realise that LA is huge… So what looked like a short hop on the Metro turned out to be a 45 minute 22km journey. Santa Monica pier is not what I was expecting. I was mentally picturing what is actually Venice beach to the south, with the promenade and shops etc. Santa Monica is highway, carpark, sand, sea. The main attraction is the pier, which has a fun park, cafes etc.

 

It was at this point I realized I should have come prepared for Australian summer weather as it wasn’t much different. Thankfully I was attired in shorts and summer shirt, but I could have also used cooler shoes than hiking boots, a hat, and a few gallons (local lingo!) of sunscreen! I decided to escape the sun temporarily with a pit-stop in a McDonalds. $1.10 buys you a “large” soft drink, in a cup probably double the size of a large in Australia.

 

Not having learnt my lesson about distances, I decided to board a Sepulveda bus, and it looked like it took a nice route through the Santa Monica mountains. Well. 2 and a bit hours later, I arrived in San Fernando! It was a worthwhile trip though, as it ranged through the full spectrum of LA neighborhoods, from the shopping centre of Santa Monica, through the hills around the UCLA campus (which itself is enormous), and then through some serious hills unlike anything we have in Victoria. If you imagine the windiest and twistiest road of the Dandenongs, then remove all the trees and replace it with khaki and brown scrub and dirt, you’d get kinda close. On the other side of these hills, you start to see the Toorak style housing. No bars on the windows in this area, but massive gates at the ends of circular driveways.

 

If you imagine the noise of an overly energetic milkshake consumer, greedily slurping with great abandon at the remnants of an empty milkshake through a snore, you’ll have some idea of the disturbing noise emanating from the back of the bus by a snoring patron. Many heads turned with amazement at this sound, it didn’t seem quite possible. However the patron themselves looked quite at peace with their head lolling back over the uncomfortable vinyl wrapped seat rail.

As the time wore on, I realized I may have made a serious mistake. Checking the Metro map, I looked for options for getting back to LA central. We’d gone beyond the reach of the Metro rail network, so it was a case of checking which buses could get back to an end-of-the line metro station. I pondered getting off at a couple of stops and jumping on local buses (I was on what is called a Rapid service, with less stops than the locals), but in the end decided I may as well take the bus to the end of the route, as it connected with a local bus there.

 

Google maps however, consulted rather often at that point, provided some excellent news in that the end stop of this bus was at Sylmar Station, which turned out not to be a Metro station, but a MetroLink station, the actual heavy rail service that takes commuters to the far reaches of LA. This turned out to be epic luck, as instead of relying on more buses, I could buy a $6 ticket for the train straight back into Union Station LA. Riding the train, I had great views of the bordering mountains, but was very hard to get a photo from the phone that shows justice.



#4 silmaril

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 10:43 PM

I was a little quick yesterday to malign the LA Metro as being tram-based light rail. On my trip out to Hollywood today I discovered they do in fact have a fully underground heavy rail train system. Uses a third rail power supply. Must get rather boring for the drivers, constantly in a tunnel for their entire shift! I popped out into sunshine in the madness of downtown Hollywood.

 

Hollywood Boulevard was teeming with tourists and touts. The stars in the walk of fame have many unheard of names, and you wonder if it’s just to stretch the length of it further along the boulevard (cynic). I took a picture of Kermit the Frog’s star and did wonder why Donald Trump’s wasn’t more defaced.

 

Lots of pushy sales tactics and tourist photo ploys, people trying to hand you CDs or rope you into a photo. Altogether rather gaudy. I found a Subway for breakfast/lunch and confused the sales assistant by asking for all salads except carrot. Unlike the Australian Subways, they don’t serve carrot here! I also refrained from the disturbingly yellow banana pickle. Slowly learning I asked for a small drink cup, which would easily equal our large size.

 

Next stop was the Griffith Observatory. Google maps plotted a course back along the Metro Red Line, and then a Dash bus up to the observatory. The red line was good, but google had no idea where the bus stop actually was, meaning I missed the bus. The next one was going to be 33 minutes away. This is during a perfectly cloudless blue sky day of 30 degrees! Hiding in a small patch of shade behind a tree, I summoned an Uber. Cannot complain for $8.80, I was driven up into the hills in air conditioned comfort!

 

The Observatory in Griffith Park is a popular spot, another from which you can see the Hollywood sign. Some interesting exhibits, but I was too impatient to wait for a show in the planetarium. Snapped quite a few pics, and this would have been one of those occasions where having my Pentax camera would have been good, though after much dithering I’d decided not to bring it after all.

 

Much better luck with the bus back down the hill, as it turned up one minute after I arrived at the bus stop. Bus fares on this particular bus line are interesting. Without a TAP card, the fare is 50c. With a TAP card, 35c. So 35c took me back down to the Metro red line, where I used the TAP card to pay for a $1.75 fare back into downtown LA.

 

At Civic Park, I hopped off the Metro for a quick look at downtown LA, and wandered into the LA Cathedral for a look. A very impressive building. LA Town hall looked interesting also, but the feet were running out of patience. I checked the map thinking I might walk to Union Station (next stop along the Metro line), but that was a 15 minute walk, so back to the Civic Park metro station I went.

 

From thinking there wouldn’t be much in LA to interest me, I’m starting to realise I could spend quite a bit of time here exploring what is around, through the really good public transport options. However tonight is my last night and at 10am tomorrow, I am off on my first AmTrak train to San Francisco!



#5 SarahZ

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 10:44 PM

Drivers love their horns. Wandering to the local supermarket, I quickly noticed that it is not geared for shoppers on foot – everything comes in massive containers or packets. And I think half the shop was comprised of objects made entirely of sugar.

 

Welcome to America! I hope you enjoy your stay. :)


Amtrak Miles: 39,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro


#6 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 10:56 PM

Looks like you packed quite a bit in! Looking forward to your next segment.



#7 Bob Dylan

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 08:58 AM

Very interesting to hear your perspective on LA.I felt the same way about Sydney on my trip to Australia.😄

Thanks for sharing, look forward to your ongoing adventures as an Aussie in America.😎

Edited by Bob Dylan, 06 October 2017 - 08:58 AM.

"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

#8 MikefromCrete

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 10:14 AM

Welcome  to the U.S. of  A. Hope you have a great trip. Sounds like you conquered L.A. without too many problems. 



#9 v v

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 08:15 PM

Also enjoyed your perspective on LA and your writing style. Are you looking forward to taking a rest up to SanFran?



#10 silmaril

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 06:57 PM

Early start on Friday to catch an uber down to Union Station Los Angeles for the Coast Starlight train north. I checked out the Amtrak lounge as I had a business class ticket, but it was a smallish lounge, nothing spectacular. Whereas the main part of Union station is amazing, a lot of it original. Very ornate chambers and original waiting room chairs, shoe shine benches, chandeliers etc.

When the train arrived in the track you get the first sense of how big these Superliners are. Double decker carriages that connect to each other on the upper level, and the train itself is extremely long. I walked right up the front to take a photo which meant I missed the best choice of seats in the upper level of the business class car, though I was lucky enough to still get one on the coast side, it wasn’t one with full window view. As I sat there, fiddling with the seat and finding the best position, I started to wonder what I was in for, I was going to be on this train for 11 hours! And many more trains in the weeks to come. Temporary despondency arrived, however after a few hours on the train this departed as you slowly relax into the non-hurried train atmosphere. These are definitely not high speed trains.

Business class seating in the upper level is nothing special, they are the same seats and legroom you get in Coach class, however you’re pretty much guaranteed an empty seat beside you. So like on the plane I could stretch out and have my stuff scattered conveniently around. I opted for a reservation in the dining car for lunch and had the first of what I suspect will be a number of deconstructed cheeseburgers. Instead of it coming in burger style, it arrives with the bottom half of the bun, the burger and cheese on top, but everything else decoratively arranged around the plate, and it’s up to you to construct it yourself. Also a couple of ‘pickle spears’, as if sliced pickle isn’t enough!

In the dining car, I met a couple travelling all the way to Seattle in Business class seats. This would be another 24 hours on top of my 11 hours, and I thought I had it bad! I’m very glad that my upcoming overnight trips are booked in roomette accommodation where I will hopefully be able to sleep!
The train line doesn’t make it into San Francisco, only into Oakland on the other side of the bay. So at 9:40pm you are politely kicked off the train and onto a ‘Thruway’ bus that takes you the rest of the way into the city, over the enormously long Bay Bridge. You are then less politely kicked off the bus in a temporary bus terminal (they are rebuilding the proper one), by this stage definitely exhausted and worn out and looking forward to a bed. Uber it is and shortly thereafter I arrive at my hotel, The Urban.

The Urban is a cross between a hostel and a hotel. Private rooms with shared restrooms and showers. Though unlike the hostels I’m used to in Australia, the facilities are not one giant room full of cubicles and sinks, but private individual rooms that you occupy yourself for the required duration. They are of hotel quality and there are enough on each floor that I haven’t had to wait yet. For suffering the minor indignity of having to leave your room to visit a bathroom you save a considerable amount of money per night as San Francisco is one of the more expensive cities to stay in.

My one big complaint about the room is that the floor is on quite an angle. Whether from a previous earthquake is probably not worth pondering too much. This wouldn’t be a big issue except the bed is also as a result on quite an angle. I sacrificed my Game of Thrones book, thankfully quite a thick volume, tearing it in half to prop up a bed leg at each end. This reduces the angle but doesn’t eliminate it. Thankfully there are two pillows so you can use one to prop yourself up and reduce the risk of falling out of bed. I must say I am looking forward to Glenwood Springs which will be my first ‘proper’ hotel, after this angled sleeping experience and the LA AirBnB.

On the train I took part in the wine tasting in the Pacific Parlour Car. This is the only way business class passengers can see this car as it is otherwise reserved for sleeping car passengers. I wasn’t overly impressed with the car itself.

During the wine tasting I was chatting to a San Francisco native who strongly recommended Alcatraz as worth visiting. His thoughts were that although it had a very touristy reputation it was definitely something worth doing, though availability could be limited. Back in my seat later, I looked up tours on my phone and was lucky enough to grab the last Adult ticket for Saturday. I could tell it was the last because I tried to change the time while it was in the cart, and suddenly there were none left. This was very lucky as when I arrived at the Alcatraz Landing, the next available tickets were for the 11th October…

Sure enough, the trip over to the island and the tour of the prison were excellent. By happy coincidence, this was also day 2 of the San Francisco Air Show, with jets flying over the bay, and Alcatraz Island happens to be one of the best viewing spots! Saw lots of interesting planes and formation flying, including the US Blue Angles, and a United 747 fly-by. The bay was absolutely cram packed with boats as it is also Fleet Week.

One nice thing about a hostel kinda hotel is the included laundry facilities. Had already scoped out a laundromat one block up the hill, but the hotel has its own commercial machines. Just need a ready supply of quarters, about the only useful US coin there is it seems to me. The others are just accumulating in my backpack.

Dinner was another deconstructed cheeseburger in an Irish bar around the corner. My companions at the bar were a couple from Kansas City who were quite happy to chat and exchange tales about the differences between Australia and the US. Tried a couple of local beers and the best one was ‘Moose Drool Dark Ale’, very impressive despite the odd name.

Today, Sunday, I took a bus tour to the Muir Woods and Sausalito. The Muir Woods are one of the few opportunities to check out California Redwoods. They are very impressive trees, and the park is a beautiful spot to spend some time. Ironically, on the way to look at these Californian trees, we passed by many many stands of Eucalypts, at a guess Mountain Ash. The driver informed us that following the 1906 earthquake, the city was looking for a quick source of lumber and imported Eucalyptus trees, however later found out they weren’t suited, but the trees themselves loved the climate and flourished. You can now see them all over the place, including one on Alcatraz, and the smell is enough to make me quite nostalgic for home already!

From Sausalito, a little sea-side town on the other side of the bay (we crossed the Golden Gate bridge on the way over), I took a ferry back to San Francisco’s ferry building and the Embarcadero. I wandered over to the California Cable car line, and after a wait, boarded the cable car tram towards Van Ness. This was quite a thrilling experience sitting on a bench facing the street with nothing to stop you falling forwards except for your grip on a nearby pole. Meanwhile the car is trundling first up seriously steep hills (some of the hills around are a 41 degree grade), and then more disconcertingly, rumbling quite fast down the other side. I would have taken more photos if I had another hand or two to hold onto my backpack AND the pole!

Tomorrow sees me back on another Thruway bus to Emeryville and onto my first overnight train from Emeryville to Glenwood Springs, a 26 hour journey. I may well need to take advantage of the hot mineral springs when I get there!



#11 SarahZ

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 08:19 PM

I'm so glad you got to see Alcatraz! I love it so much I've been there twice. :) The night tour was my favorite, as it's quite foggy (which lends to the atmosphere), and you get to walk through the hospital wing. You also go all the way around the island while on the ferry, and the guide talks about the different buildings.

 

The California Zephyr is a beautiful ride. Enjoy your trip!


Amtrak Miles: 39,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro


#12 silmaril

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 01:04 PM

Monday morning began with the unpleasant task of repacking. Mentally composing the TripAdvisor review I was planning on leaving for the angled bed, I departed the hotel and headed off in the direction of the temporary Transbay Terminal. Having only spent two days in SF, I had acquired a reasonable grasp of geography and knew that it would be a walkable distance all down-hill from the hotel.

 

 

Walkable distance was slightly elongated by construction works for the new permanent bus terminal, and big heavy bag (BHB) made its stubbornness and recalcitrant nature well known again, a friendly reminder of past travels in the UK. It would be nice if BHB could be convinced to travel in one direction! Construction footpaths made it even more annoying than usual and BHB spitefully got a few kicks in to my shins.

 

 

On the whole, I have significantly enjoyed San Francisco more than LA. Some of this is probably just down to the fact I was staying in downtown, rather than the Broadmeadows equivalent of LA, but there is a lot else going for SF that makes it an enjoyable place. The downtown area is reasonably compact, and other than the first night when I arrived late by bus, I didn’t need to take an Uber or public transport once. From my hotel I could walk down to the Ferry building and the Fisherman’s Wharf touristy/pier area. My hotel was in Nob Hill, just up from Union Square. Even the bus tour I did to Muir Woods had its collection point a few blocks over. The streets are wide and reminded me somewhat of the Melbourne CBD.

 

 

Being on the bay and taking the boat to Alcatraz and then the ferry from Sausalito back to SF was definitely enjoyable. I like ferries and have enjoyed trips to Sydney and Auckland because of the ability to see the sights by ferry. Chatting with an Australian couple on the Thruway bus, we shared similar observations that the SF CBD seemed to be much larger than LA’s. I think this is down to it being compressed into a much smaller area. In LA you find massive sky scrapers spread out in different patches, not just the LA downtown area.

 

 

The Thruway bus from the terminal this time departed in the direction of Emeryville, from which the California Zephyr Train 6 departs. Heading over the Bay Bridge again, this time on the lower level of the deck which was once reserved for trains until the car traffic became too heavy. Inbound traffic now travels on the top deck, and outbound below. I believe the Bay Area Rapid Transit trains travel underneath via tunnel.

Emeryville is another train station with platforms we wouldn’t recognize in Australia. The platforms are at ground level and there are walkways over the tracks to further platforms. When the train pulls in, the train doors are also at ground level, and some of the car attendants will put out a step. I was quite excited about my first overnight trip in a roomette (I guess what we would ordinarily call a sleeper) and I have not been disappointed by the accommodation. Roomettes are the smallest of the sleeping accommodation on the double deck Superliner carriages, and there is one on each side of the car with a central corridor. Inside isn’t very large, but provides two wide seats facing each other. These seats recline (the bottom two make up the lower bed) and you can rest your feet on the opposite seat. Two nice big windows make for excellent viewing.

 

 

With the door and curtains open you have a view into the corridor, and for the first few stops the roomette opposite mine was empty so I had a view out of each side, and popped across to get a few photos of the bay as we passed by. With the door and curtains closed you have a privileged quiet world of privacy which is just plain awesome.

 

 

Watching the world of California fly (ok, crawl, these are low speed trains especially uphill) by out the window was just incredible. Amazing changes of scenery as we left the coast and headed west, climbing up and through the Sierra mountains. The eucalypts disappear and we travel through pine forests, with fleeting views down into deep valleys and the hint of water at the bottom. The seats are surprisingly comfortable and with the aid of two pillows and the reclining ability can be configured very comfortably. What I worried about heading north to San Francisco, the prospect of spending hours and hours aboard a train suddenly becomes a positive… with no stop to worry about getting off at (at least today) it is easy to slip into a very relaxed and contemplative mood watching the scenery drift by.

Lunch in the dining car was the deconstructed cheeseburger, but learning quickly from the locals I reconstructed it myself and quite enjoyed it. Oddly for Australian tastes, the standard accompaniment is not hot chips but cold kettle potato chips (or to use the UK word, crisps, to be completely clear). For dinner in the dining car I chose grilled salmon with baked potato and beans. Thankfully I’m a bit of a heathen in any case and quite like overcooked salmon (and chicken) but others would have been disappointed. To accompany I had a glass of a Californian chardonnay. I was a little ambivalent at first at Chardonnay but it was their only white variety. However it’s an excellent wine and makes me wish we had lively Chardonnay like it at home – we probably do, but I’m over exposed to bad chardonnay with fake/cheap oak chip flavouring.

 

 

The train had a delayed start, received the email from Amtrak two weeks ago, but my fears this meant a boring re-route didn’t come to fruition. The sleeping car attendant spoke about the previous re-route through Wyoming and complained of the most boring scenery ever scene, and had we gone this way, would have missed climbing through the Sierras. As such, no idea why we’re actually running two hours late, but am scheduled to arrive in Glenwood Springs Tuesday at 2:40ish pm. Glenwood Springs is a little town at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers (yes I stole that from the route guide). It has a natural hot springs pool which is rapidly working its way up my priority list of things to do in the 24 hours I’m in town!

 

 

I’m experiencing the same frustrations I did on trains in the UK. The scenery can be absolutely stunning, but you reach for the camera and it’s gone! In some respects I wish I could film the whole thing. Although I’ve been frustrated at not having my Pentax here it’s still more relaxing not having to stress about carrying it, and not having the weight of it in my backpack. I’d still be experiencing the same frustrations even if I did have it, and reaching for the phone camera is actually a quicker option than it would be to retrieve the Pentax from my bag. As such in all likelihood I’m probably taking more photos with the phone than I would be with the DSLR. And as the adage goes, the best camera is the one you have with you.



#13 zephyr17

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 01:44 PM

Glad you are enjoying your trip.  One correction is that you would have crossed the Sierra Nevada mountains over Donner Pass regardless even if the train is rerouted.  The reroute is only between Salt Lake City and Denver, and it is the Rockies that are missed in favor of the high plains of Wyoming.  However, since you are heading for Glenwood Springs, you would have been deboarded at Salt Lake early in the morning and put on a bus that would go to the intermediate stops between Salt Lake and Denver.  So you are in much better shape. 


Edited by zephyr17, 10 October 2017 - 01:45 PM.

SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#14 silmaril

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 01:46 PM

Cool, thanks for the correction. Something didn't look right when I looked at the map and actually saw where Wyoming was!



#15 trainman74

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 04:24 PM

Oddly for Australian tastes, the standard accompaniment is not hot chips but cold kettle potato chips (or to use the UK word, crisps, to be completely clear).


This is mainly because they don't have a fryer in the train's kitchen.

#16 silmaril

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 11:43 PM

In Glenwood Springs for the night, but experiencing massive homesickness. Pondering cutting the trip short. :(



#17 Alice

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 04:08 AM

So sorry you feel homesick, especially bad enough to consider going home early. No advice about that. Did you try the hot springs yet?

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#18 v v

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 06:29 AM

Silmaril, of course if you feel bad enough going home is the answer, but it's also possible if you do go home early you will feel equally bad sometime later at cutting your big adventure short.

 

Which is it you're missing, people back home or being in Australia?



#19 Maglev

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 11:16 AM

Sometimes when I am traveling, I start to wonder if I am really enjoying myself.  The strange food, people, and surroundings can get to be a strain.  But I have always kept going, because I know that in the long run the expanded perspectives and vivid memories far outweigh the uncomfortable times. And don't forget that you are at altitude in Colorado, and that may result in shortness of breath which will cause feelings of anxiety.

 

I hope you get in the hot springs.  Do you ever splurge on spa treatments when you travel? Take special care of yourself!  


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#20 silmaril

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 12:33 AM

Thanks for the thoughts. What I'm thinking about is finishing my US part and then heading home after that, and leaving Canada to another time. This would be a 43 day trip instead of 70. 






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