Monday, 18 October 2010

Route 66 by train

Arizona mesas
So don't everybody get their violins out - I've got my own orchestra going in the background. I'm a tired little goddess tonight and trying to stay awake 'til 8pm. 46 minutes to go ......
We crossed the US with Amtrak - from Chicago  across and down through Missouri, Kansas, down through Colorado  and into New Mexico again, through Arizona and eventually to California and Los Angeles. The mesas as we travelled west from New Mexico into Arizona were spectacular. Pictures will never do them justice, or rather my pictures won't.  As far as the eye could see bordering each side of the train .... the lines, rock formations and colours were something I never tired of looking at. Until it got too dark. Wrestling myself into the top bunk is another story and one for another day. Suffice to say it was challenging - but totally do-able. Finding the straps that stop you falling out onto the floor on the second night ... priceless. So these are some of the mesas and a distant storm in the desert. For Mum.
re hydrating in the sleeper
Keeping hydrated was a serious business at altitude. Lorraine and I drained a dozen bottles each - lucky they were readily available with the other "goodies" in the sleeper.  Water, that is. It's about the only way to keep the nausea, headaches and yucky noses at bay. If you listened closely, you could hear the moisture being sucked out of your skin. Lots of water - and the odd bottle of wine shared on our almost-3 days and 2 nights on board "Pinkey's" sleeper.
Observation carriage
During the day it was fun to join other travellers in the observation carriage. The seats rotate (though we never worked out how it was done but more experienced travellers than us had conquered the mechanism) to allow total viewing until the need for food, drinks or snacks meant you left your seat and ... lost your seat. I spent a few hours upstairs with my journal taking notes of what people said ... literally. In no particular order ...
"are you a fisherman?" (pause)"a year ago I caught a big bass, oh boy."
"gosh that's a long way over there ..."
"I was gonna take a photo but the darn train moved"
"Did you see that tree? Did you see that tree? I can't believe you didn't see the tree. We passed it not 2 miles back!"
"there's some earth"
Journal cover

"I would'a seen that ... "
"Wow there's a tree out there (pause) do you have many trees?"
"Does any one want me to do that?"
"I had a cow once, but not a dog"
"I saw a sign for tires, isn't that right?"
"We're going up. Yep. We're going up"
"Its dad's last trip. He's 80"
"How long are we stopped for? "
"I thought I'd see more cattle"
"Look at that (pause) a truck"
"Uncle Russ said we stop because it's a single track"
"I have 12% use of my heart"
"those cattle are eating dead grass"
 Our "Pinkey" has travelled the line with Amtrak for 37 years. 12 sleepers to a carriage ... that's a lot of folks and a lot of miles. She was amazing - her love of train travel made that part of our trip all the more special. Everyone on the South West Chief was full of the joy of living - and we were lucky enough to share just a part of it. By the way, the conductor announced Amtrak's policy for dealing with unsupervised children - they are given freshly brewed coffee and a puppy.   It's 8.01pm. Good night.

1 comment:

AllyBeech said...

I just think some of those comments are bloody HILARIOUS. I think they are funny out of context but some of them i swear would have even been funny in. lol. gotta love people.