Always Something Different on Amtrak.
SACRAMENTO–Wow! It’s enough to make a seasoned rail traveler dizzy … and first-timers really, really confused.
First we have the Lake Shore Limited, beset by temperatures in the way, way below zero range and finally trundling into Chicago 12 hours late.
And next we have the California Zephyr, departing Chicago on time, falling more than an hour behind across eastern Colorado, then steadily making up time to the point that we sat in Winnemucca, Nevada, for almost a half hour before dawn this morning so we could depart there on time.
And Sacramento, my stop, showed up an hour early. I was participating in one of our monthly NARP board meetings by teleconference and had to scramble to get my things together for leaving the train.
My car attendant, Don, has been with Amtrak for 35 years and it shows. He’s a real pro. Leave your curtain open when you head off to the dining car for dinner and your bed has been made up when you return. Leave the curtain open when you go to breakfast in the morning and your bedding is put away and the seating restored when you come back. Restrooms tidied up on a regular basis and — despite the moronic edict from on high — the coffee pot in the center of the sleeper was still dispensing hot coffee when I left the train this afternoon.
I did have a chance to overhear three plain-clothes Amtrak security people at work before we left Chicago. They were questioning a huge man in a roomette two doors down from me. I have no idea how they knew, but the guy had $8,000 in cash in a small suitcase. He said the money was from selling a truck in Akron,Ohio, and he had been paid in cash. The three security guys were friendly, polite and very skillful in their questioning and, after 10 or 15 minutes, were either satisfied that the guy was telling the truth or had decided that there wasn’t enough to challenge his story. Nevertheless, I made a point of steering clear of the big guy who was decidedly unfriendly. Of course, I suppose I would be, too … with eight grand stuffed into my tote bag!
When I get home tomorrow, I’ll sort out some photos taken on these last two legs and post them over the next could of days. Bottom line: every rail segment was interesting in one way or another … but, except for Buffalo, there was just not a lot of snow.