First Report: Sacramento to Chicago Aboard Amtrak’s California Zephyr.
The California Zephyr arriving in Sacramento. The first minor glitch was when sleeping car passengers were directed to wait where the front of the train would come to a stop. Ah, but it turned out that the two sleepers were all at the rear of the consist, resulting in a long walk in the hot sun. It was, in fact, 98 degrees when we boarded.
This is Donner Lake, as the train winds its way eastward through the Sierra Nevada mountains, still in California. Just out of the picture to the right is where the Donner Party camped during that awful winter of 1846. When spring came and the snow melted, the stumps of trees they cut down for firewood were 12 feet high.
The next day, somewhere in the Nevada desert between Elko and Winnemucca, the Zephyr went into an emergency stop. A pickup truck ran through this intersection and right past those men who were frantically waving flags in an effort to stop him. They were part of a large work crew laying new track. According to the conductor, “We damn near killed that dumb son of a bitch!”
Following the Colorado River through the Rockies, we passed a number of small ranches. Note the name of this spread, painted on the barn: RANCHO STARVO.