Riding the rails

My brother and mom were settled back at the RV for a few days of recovery before heading back to Hanford and I headed to San Jose Wednesday afternoon on the Caltrain from So. San Francisco.

Thursday was a rest day while I prepared for my 16 hour journey by Amtrak to meet Paul in Eugene Oregon.  My train was scheduled to leave at 8:23 pm from San Jose arriving in Eugene at 12:29 Friday afternoon.  The kids and I went for a great dinner at Mod Pizza, where you can have any or all of their toppings on your own personal 11″ artisan pizza crust for only $7.97!  The toppings are interesting, fresh and plentiful.  I love this place!

While we were eating our pizza I got my first text from Amtrak,  my train is late.  No big deal and I expect it as trains are not known for their on-time record.  I ended up with 3 texts and my train finally took off at 9:48 pm.

Arriving 30 minutes prior I was met by the station host who gave me all the details about boarding, the train, where I would be sitting, where I could venture on the train.  It was very nice since I had not been on a real train and overnight!

 

All Aboard!

All Aboard!

Yep, they really blow the whistle and shout!  I found my seat and the train headed north towards Oakland.  Since I will be on this train overnight and it was not even 10 pm I decided to check things out.  The observation car is really the only place to go at night besides the snack cafe or the bathrooms.  Walking was difficult and going throught the first door from one car to the next I stubbed my toe!  So much for my pedicure!

Lots of seating and large windows!

Lots of seating and large windows!

I grabbed myself a coke from the snack spot and took a seat in the car.  The problem was there wasn’t much to see so I read awhile and a few people came in, but mostly it was quiet.

As soon as we left San Jose the conductor told us that it was quiet time and that all noise making devises needed to be off in the cars so people can sleep and that we are going to be delayed in Emeryville to add some cars and fix a couple maintenance items that need addressed!  Great, now we are two hours behind- but they can make up time!

About 11:30 we are leaving Emeryville and I decide I could probably sleep now.  The seats recline and there are footrests.  I go back to my seat and the person that is suppose to be in the window seat is still not there.  I assume they found somewhere else to sleep and proceed to spread out and take up both seats.  I’m pretty comfortable and get right to sleep.  I hear the train stop but no announcements are made because it is quiet time so I go back to sleep.  This will be a piece of cake sleeping on the train.

I’m resting peaceably and about 1 am I hear someone saying oh there is my seat, #58.  Whoops thats the empty seat!  If I stay asleep surely they will find another seat as there are plenty of empty seats!  She leaves!  But wait, about 1:30 she returns, taps me and says I have to move!  Great, at least she let me take the window and she quickly slipped into her seat.  I got back to sleep but not as comfortable.

At 4 am I wake up and feel the train leaving a station.  I check my phones map to see where we are,  Sacramento!  What!!!  Apparently we sat on the tracks somewhere near Martinez for 2 hours for who knows what!  Anyway the person next to me is not there but their bag in on the seat, I look down and she is curled up in the floor below her seat!  Geez!  I was able to get back to sleep and didn’t wake up until 7:15.  Time to start the day!  My seatmate moved to the seat and we chatted a minute.  Apparently she had found another car that was really empty and took a seat thinking she would be fine and could rest. The attendant told her she had to take her own seat and had to go back.  When she got back she found out attendant and he made her wake me!  Geeze.  Plenty of empty seats but they have thier rules.

The bathrooms are not fancy and slightly messy from passengers but they had a small changing area in the bathroom so there was room to change.  I got changed, and cleaned up a bit and made my way to the dining car for breakfast.  There was a 30 minute wait but once I got into a seat, breakfast was pretty quick and pretty good.  Basic eggs, bacon and a biscuit but hot and fresh and the coffee was great!

No one eats alone!

No one eats alone!

Right out of the movies except with the modern conviences of cell phones.  Most of the time I had pretty good service, no wifi, but cell service was good.

My breakfast mates were a single lady from Monterey and a couple from Southern CA.  The couple had a sleeping car but didn’t look as rested as me!  I think they really didn’t want to travel by train but airfare at the last minute to Seattle was very expensive.  They really didn’t like that the train was 3 hours late!  After breakfast I returned to the observation car and enjoyed the views of the morning.

Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta

We made it to Shasta by about 9 am!  That is nearly 12 hours!  Even Paul and I in the RV make better time than that!  Oh well.

Another nap about 11:30 and we made it to Oregon!  Three stops in Oregon and I arrived in Eugene about 4 pm.

EugeneTrainStation1

Public art at the station

Public art at the station

Not the fastest mode of transportation but you do get to see some landscape.  If you can’t take the slow route in an RV this would be a good alternative.

 

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