From Chicago to the Bay Area.
The Zephyr was packed. Three coaches and three sleepers, with most of the rooms occupied and constant PA announcements from the conductors asking coach passengers to clear their belongings off the adjacent seats because there were a bunch of people getting on at the next stop and the train is full.
My car attendant, Derrick, has been with Amtrak for 13 years and loves working the Zephyr. He bids it over and over. Derrick lives in New York City and flies to Chicago for each trip, then flies home when he gets back from the West Coast. His sleeper was full this trip and I promise you, whatever he’s paid, Derrick earns every dime. He likes people and he loves his job and he’s damn good at it.
The dining car crew busted their collective buns on this trip, with the LSA frequently having to call on the lounge car attendant to come to the diner to pitch in. I don’t know how many meals were served on this trip, but it was a lot.
I’ve written here before about some of the interesting people I’ve met on one of these long-distance train rides. This one was no exception. For instance . . .
There was a former head of the scouting department for the Dallas Cowboys. We chatted about some of the great players he and his staff discovered and recruited. And he was wearing a huge Super Bowl ring. “I wear this one because it was my first,” he said. Then he added matter-of-factly, “I have two more at home.”
Dinner in the dining car last night was with a couple who are on the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He does some kind of exotic research that has to do with exploring in deep space; she is a professor in the School of Education. He’s originally from Germany; she’s from India. What do you suppose the odds were that those two would get together?
I spent an hour in the lounge car this morning, chatting with a young couple. He is the curator of the Museum of Food and Drink, which opened a year ago in Brooklyn, New York. She is French and works as an interpreter at the United Nations in New York City.
Ho-hum … just another routine trip on one of Amtrak’s long distance trains.