New Orleans to L.A.

On this final leg of my trip I am on Amtrak’s Train #1, the westbound Sunset Limited in “the 30-car”.That’s Amtrak Speak for the sleeping car closest to the dining car. That’s considered to be a good thing and it is certainly true that I have only a few feet to walk. It’s also true that everyone going to the dining car passes this roomette, peering in as they go by.

My car attendant is Lisa and, trust me, this car is her turf and she is in charge. When I returned to my roomette from dinner on my first night aboard Train No. 1, my berth had been made up. By that, I mean it was perfectly made up—no wrinkles, sheets and blanket taut, corners neatly tucked in. A Marine drill instructor would have approved.

Amtrak’s prescribed procedure is for the sheets to be on the mattress with the folded blankets in a sealed plastic bag left on top of the bed. Apparently, the intent was to assure passengers that their blanket had not been used by whoever had occupied that room on the previous night. In my experience, almost all passengers think it’s just one more way Amreak is trying to save money.

At any rate, I raised the issue with Lisa: 

Jim: I though the blankets were supposed to be provided in a plastic bag.

Lisa: (snort) Not on MY damn train!

Sunday afternoon, somewhere in West Texas, we hit a car. There was a sudden application of the brakes and a slight jolt. Having experienced this twice before in years past I knew exactly what had happened. As it turned out, it was a man and two kids in an SUV. He drove around the gates. Fortunately, neither he nor his kids were hurt—just minor bumps and bruises. Still, he cost us almost three hours and we were already running late.I assume he got a ticket and will pay a fine … which he richly deserves.

Home tomorrow.