Crossing the Country in Style … Part Five
Continuing (and concluding) the account of my recent trip from Washington, DC, to Los Angeles on Amtrak:
After leaving Trinidad, Colorado, crossing under the Continental Divide and descending through Raton Pass, the Southwest Chief heads out across some dry but dramatic New Mexico landscapes. A little after 3:00 that afternoon, we arrive in Albuquerque. Thanks to the padded schedule, we’re almost a half hour early and not scheduled to depart until 4:45.
That leaves plenty of time to stretch our legs, wander through the new station building, and walk up to the head end to watch the three locomotives being refueled (note the tanker truck under the overpass).
Many of the passengers pause to look at some Navajo jewelry that’s on display and for sale. There are lots of small inexpensive items, but some of it – mostly silver and turquoise – is very artistic and truly magnificent.
One of the passengers takes this opportunity to clean the windows of his lower-level roomette. The Chief went through the car wash back in Chicago, but that was a day-and-a-half and 1300 dusty miles ago.
I asked for the last sitting for dinner in the dining car and am just finishing a very good (and very rich) cheesecake dessert as the Chief makes its scheduled stop in Flagstaff. This is where bus connections are made by passengers headed to Phoenix.
Forty minutes later, the stop is Williams, Arizona. A few more passengers get off here, including a couple with two kids planning to take the steam train tomorrow morning to the Grand Canyon. My wife and I will be back here next summer to do exactly that, too!
The rest of Arizona passes during the night and at 7:48, not quite 30 minutes early, the Southwest Chief comes to a stop at beautiful Union Station in Los Angeles.
One more cross-country train trip is in the books … and well worth it, as always.