06 July 2015


Woke up somewhere in eastern Colorado to flat scrub land and drizzle. It was not a restful night. The train would being going along peacefully then the car would jerk sideways or front/back and it was like someone shaking you awake. So I'd wake up, then go back to sleep. Lots.

We got dressed and went to the dining car for breakfast but there was a wait list so we got our number and went for a ramble up and down the train. We walked through the observation car and lounge and then a couple of the coach cars.The coach cars were warm and humid  and smelled of warm, humid humanity.

We went back to the lounge car and sat at a table watching Colorado roll by until our number was called over the PA system. We were seated with a couple from Switzerland. They flew from Switzerland to Chicago then got on the train to San Francisco to meet their son...a TV journalist in Los Angeles.

The people at the table across the aisle from us were from Denmark.

We sat for quite a while after breakfast because no more people needed tables and it's a nice view. When we got to the outskirts of Denver, we went back to our room.

There was a PA announcement about entering "tunnel country"...we'd be going through 40-some tunnels in the next several hours and climbing from 5280 ft (Denver) to over 9,000 feet. The day was still gray, foggy and rainy.

We went to the observation car but there weren't 2 seats together. We ended up at a table with a woman working on a computer. There were 3 Amish couples playing cards at the next tables. I don't know what they were playing. The cards weren't regular playing cards...they didn't have suits, just big numbers in different colors.

We headed for the dining car and lunch just as they made the announcement that lunch service was starting. When we got there, we got seated right away. We were seated with a couple from Sweden who got on in Chicago and were headed to San Francisco for a few days, then by train down to Los Angeles, then flying home. We had, by far, the best scenery of the trip so far. It had stopped raining and cleared off a bit so we could really see the valley and river canyon we were rolling through. We all were almost too busy ooooo-ing and aaaah-ing over the view and taking pictures to eat.

We lingered a bit over lunch because the scenery was so great and our room was on the wrong side of the train to see it. But since we were in the first seating, there were others waiting and we couldn't in good conscience stay too long.

We went back to our room, Al took a nap, then did some Sudokus, and I knitted.

Somewhere along the way, we'd crossed the Colorado River and it was now on our side of the train. I noticed that the river had actually turned red at some point. Kind of an oily-looking red, like it was floating on top of the water, not just red-dirt runoff mixed in to make it all red. A while later, it had cleared up and was its usual river color again.

Around Glenwood Canyon, we pulled over and stopped for about 20 minutes because of some work on the tracks. We started moving then stopped again later to let the #6 train (Zephyr eastbound) go by. That's the train we'll ride home next week.

Maybe it's only because we're going slower, but the ride seems much smoother now. At breakfast, we were constantly reaching for glasses to keep them from toppling over as the train swung and jerked. Now, it wasn't nearly so bad.

The dining car attendant came around later in the afternoon to get our dinner reservations. Breakfast and lunch were first-come-first-served but dinner is by reservation only. They start in the sleeper cars and work their way up to the coach cars and only take so many slots per time period. When the attendant gets to you, you have your pick of whatever's left. We got 6:00.

We had supper with Barbara and her 8 yr old grandson, Jaxon. Jax lives in Chicago and Barbara in San Francisco. She flew out to pick him up and they were riding the train together back to SnF where Jax's family would join them.