So… Two weeks from today, I intend to be sitting at a window, rolling the miles by.
Destination? Chicago and on to New Orleans.
About now (roughly 12:40 pm PDT), if all is going according to schedule, the California Zephyr – specifically Amtrak’s Train #6 – should be climbing into the Sierra Nevada, at about Gold Run. And I will be one of a group of passengers aboard a private railcar on the rear of that train.
As I have said before, this trip is one that I have made many times. So much so that I can look out the window and know where we are between Emeryville and Reno/Sparks. This trip? The difference is that it isn’t a trip where I am the host. No group of passengers chartering a railcar. No crew attending to their needs. No lunch, no beverages to serve.
This time, I am just along for the ride. A very relaxing time with good friends. Five days in all. Three to Chicago and then overnight to New Orleans. It has been a long time since something like this and frankly, I am looking forward to it with great enthusiasm.
Crossing the miles, there is nostalgia. Certainly as I follow the route my locomotive engineer great-grandfather did many times before. Between Sparks and Carlin. Central Nevada as the sun sets. And east of there, I am following an excursion I made some thirty odd years ago on a trip to Denver in the fall of 1980. Beyond Denver? It’s all new to me. A visit to Chicago in 2006 took a different route to the West coast, traveling south along the Santa Fe trail. Never been to New Orleans. Should be fun.
Plenty to see along the way. Family history to pass, good times ahead.
Once we arrive, that’s when things change. For the next 10 days, it is a charter and I am at work as the attendant aboard the railcar. From New Orleans to Oakland. Just being flexible and traveling the rails, visiting places I have never been before. With people I haven’t met.
Looking forward to it.