Business Done and Heading Home.

The two-day meeting of the NARP Board of Directors is over and I’ll be leaving the hotel here in Evanston, Illinois, in about an hour to start my journey back home to Maui.
Regulars here know that my favorite route back to the west coast is to take the California Zephyr, Amtrak’s Train #5, from Chicago to Davis, California. (See map above.) I’ll overnight in Davis at the Hallmark Inn, a nice hotel with an excellent restaurant and it’s not more than 100 yards from the railway station. Then, at just before 7:00 the next morning, I’ll catch the Coast Starlight (Train 11) for the day-long run down to Los Angeles.
That’s my plan for the next three days and, as always, I’m already looking forward to it. First of all, the ride from here to Davis is probably Amtrak’s most scenic offering. We’ll leave Chicago at 2:00 this afternoon and should be in Denver Saturday morning bright and early.
With any luck, at the Denver station I’ll meet a sort-of-distant relative of mine for the first time. She was born a Loomis and happened to get ahold of a copy of my book, prompting her to contact me by email ten days ago. Of course I realized I would be passing through her town on the Zephyr tomorrow morning and we arranged to have a brief hello at the station. Try working out something like that when you fly!
At any rate, once the Zephyr leaves Denver, it climbs up into the Rockies, passes through the Moffat Tunnel, then follows the Colorado River for more than 100 miles through a series of rugged canyons to Glenwood Springs.
The next day is also special: after leaving Reno, Nevada, the train rumbles up and over the Sierra Nevada mountains by way of Donner Pass, descending into the Sacramento area after lunch, and delivering me to Davis around 3:00.
After an excellent meal and a good night’s sleep at the Hallmark Inn, I’ll catch the Coast Starlight at about 7:00 the next morning. We’ll get to L.A. around 9:00 p.m., but I always get a roomette, even though it’s not an overnight trip. It’s roughly $100 more than the coach fare, but for that I get the privacy of my own little bedroom; I get breakfast, lunch and dinner (all meals are included in sleeping car fares); and I get to spend as much time as I want relaxing in the luxury of one of Amtrak’s Pacific Parlour Cars, which are only found on the Coast Starlight.
There cannot possibly be a better way to travel!