From : firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Kaplan)
To : email@example.com
Date : Sat, 23 Sep 2000 16:39:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject : 8000 mile Amtrak journey
Like so many others on this board,I consider a train ride the
vacation.not getting frompoint a to point B. I just returned from an
almost two week rail journey that went as follows:
I left from Elizabethtowm,Pa(free parking..Harrisburg next door wanted
$15 a day!) I left at 12:30am on train 44 coming ftom Chicago heading
toPhilly. I connected to the Twilight shoreliner at 4am to Washington.
After a four hour layover in DC,which isq uite pleasnt at Union Station
I caught the Cardinal at 10:40 for Chicago. The ride through Western
Virgina and west Virginia is breathtaking. In Chicago I took the Sunset
Limited headed to Albuquerque. Im always amazed at the scenery through
New Mexico. I ve taken this train many times and always marvel at the
western landscape. We actually got into Albuquerque 45 minutes early. I
rented a car and spent the next day exploring Santa Fe,Taosand the
countryside of Northern New Mexico.
Back on the SW Chief two days later.
This train was two hours late. Off
to Needles,Ca where I made a shuttle connection toLas Vegas at 3:30AM
literally in a shuttle van. We arrived at the McCarren airport about
6,then took the limo to the Plaza Hotel where the Desert Wind would
call. I chose the Plaza because it is inexpensive and is next door to
the Greyound Bus station where I would catch a Thruway bus to
Bakersfield the next morning. The landscape between Las Vegas and
Bakersfield is stunning.I couldn t get a direct connection toLos
Amgeles,so I was off to Bakersfield. I wanted to avoid a nights
accomodation in LA,so I opted for a Midnight bus to San Diego. The
Bakersfield train station is recntly remodeled and is quite a showplace.
I spent a few hours wallking the streets of Bakersfield(like the Buck
Owens song) and spending a few hours at a library next door.
Arrived in San Diego,after a stop in LA at 5:30AM. Then I boarded the
Trolley to the border,went into Tijuana,came back to the station and
wantedto make sure I got on a Pacific Surfliner toLA. Back in LA,outside
Union Station a huge festival clebratig Mexican Independence day was
in progess,so that killed several hours until my 10:30 departure on The
Texas Eagle back East. I ve ridden coach on the way out,but took an
economy sleeper from Palm Springs. From LA its over $300,but two and a
half hours down th line in Palm Springs the price drops to $200.I was
listening to Jim Ladd on KLOS on my walkman,and the timing couldn't have
been better.He was playing an hours worth of songs about trains
extolling the virtues of train travel. Talk about an audio experience!
A delightful ride on the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle through Arizona and
New Mexico. The Sunset has a great new route guide. We were about four
hours late getting into san antonio,but leaving North to Chicago that
was cut down to an hour.There is always four hours of layover time in
san Antonio when the train is on time. I haven t ridden the Texas Eagle
in many years,andit was nice going through Texas with the ever changing
scenery. Next morning leaving st Louis.a great view of the arch was
afforded as we crossed the Mississippi.
Back in Chicago to catch the Lake Shore limited which left an hour and a
half late to wait for passengers on a very late California Zephyr,
Apparently a car hit a freight train and there was quite a delay.Same
thing happened in Indiana on the L S Limited,which put us four hours
late,but we got to see Cleveland,Erie and Buffalo in daylight. I was
headed to Boston for a 6:30 arrival,and then would catch the 8PM
Twilight Limited for Philadelphia and back to Elzabethtown. However with
a four hour delay,that would not be possible. Amtrak tried to find a
hotel room for me and then put me on the 6:15am Acela,which was fine. I
haven t ridden an Acela train yet and I wanted to give it a try. However
every room Amtrak tried was booked,so they gave me $100 and I spent the
seven hours at South station overnight.Hey for $100 Ill be happy to
become a vagrant fora few hours sleeping on the bench. Ill say one
thing..the folks at Amtrak really try to take care of any problems that
come up,like missed connections.
Back on the train to Philly at6:15am with only a few major stops. Did
that train fly! On time arrival in Philly and back to E-town and back
home where I slepf for fourteen hours.
I've been home two days and I m ready to do it again. I guess there
are a few of us out there who take the train just for the sake of taking
the train. I ve been doing this every year since 1990.I ve ridden every
major route, with the exception of the Pioneer. I ve met so many
fascinating people on my journeys.I usually travel alone and I prefer
it. Maybe you ve seen me.I always take along a radio cassette recorder
and record radio stations on my trip. I number my tapes and then listen
to them back in that order. Kind of an audio equivalent of a camera.
Can't wait for next years trip!