Four More of my Personal “Mosts”.
Most Spectacular View. I’ve already mentioned the Grand Canyon once in an earlier post. So what? It is, after all, the Grand Canyon. There is a reason why people come from all over the world just to stand on the South Rim and gaze at that view. Here’s a tip: Take the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams, Arizona, to the South Rim. It’s a great ride and, unless you have someone using a wheel chair in your party, you really won’t need a car once you get there because of the free jitney service.
Most Spectacular Train Ride. My vote goes to the Bernina Express, a narrow gauge train that runs from Chur in Switzerland through the Alps down into northern Italy, terminating in the town of Tirano.Take plenty of photos because family and friends won’t believe your verbal descriptions of that ride.
Most Exciting Experience. In assembling material for the first edition of All Aboard!, I wanted to describe the jobs being performed by various Amtrak employees. I asked Amtrak if I could ride up front for an hour of so with the engineer on one of their long-distance trains so I could accurately write about the engineer’s job. To my surprise and delight, Amtrak agreed and arrangements were made for me to spend five hours riding in the head end of the Empire Builder from Milwaukee to Winona, Minnesota. It was, even then, a very rare privilege; in the post 9/11 world, it would never, ever have happened.
Most Scary Experience. It occurred just a couple of minutes after my PanAm flight had taken off from the Agana airport on Guam at the start of a 10-hour flight to Honolulu: a bright flash and a loud bang right outside my window. Although there was no discernible change in the performance of the Boeing 747, obviously, something was not right.
A minute or so passed, the plane leveled off, and finally the captain came on the P.A. system. We had lost our Number Three engine, he said, and would be returning to Guam. But not until we had dumped several thousand gallons of jet fuel because we were at that moment too heavy to land. We circled over the ocean for almost an hour dumping fuel, then returned safely to Guam.
Just a routine procedure, you say? Yes, that’s quite true . . . unless it happens to your plane.