June 14 California Zephyr

I woke around 7:30 pacific time, but the train was now in the mountain time zone. The scenery was an ever changing collection of typically stark mountains that Utah is known for.

The engineer commented that the type of rail we were passing over would lead to a rougher ride than normal, and he was correct.

I got up to get a cup of ice from the lounge for my Dr Pepper and was then tempted by the Prairie City donut holes only to realize I had left my wallet at my seat and the attendant was about to take his morning break.

However the attendant gave me what I wanted if I would bring him the money later on account it would make his comment easier to produce: “if Paul Giamanti and David Crosby could produce a child, I belive it would be you.”. Made all the more humorous for his resemblance to Ray Liota.

We took a brief break at Green River along the foothills of the longest east-to-west mountain range in the US.

Did a bit of reading, watching, listening, and working for much of the day. The guy who had sat next to me in the middle of the night found an open seat after we stopped in Grand Junction, Colorado.

I decided to skip lunch since I wasn’t doing much to burn calories.

We stopped in Winter Park just before 4:00p, and soon thereafter passed through the Moffat Tunnel that goes under the Continental Divide, over 9600 feet in altitude.

After that we passed through some amazing views into a canyon and passed through 44 tunnels in total. The approach into Denver was fabulous, with nice weather and amazing views.

We were early into Denver and had about an hour to kill. Unfortunately, I had dinner reservations on the train only an 30 minutes later. Fortunately, there was a brewpub across the street.

I went across and had one beer, and checked my email. Suspiciously, I had only 7 emails after a day and a half on the train. Twitter API didn’t work, but the website did.

I got back to the train to hear that the 7:30 reservations were running late. Luckily I wasn’t seated with any of quite a few oddball groups. They sat me with a very interesting British journalist who had flown to San Francisco and was heading to Boston via train. All the while stopping at the oddball small towns on the route.

He had actually stayed in Winnemucca (sp?) and said the nearby hotel had a fabulous Basque restaurant, and they were having a Basque festival (as well as a rodeo) the few days he was there.

He was disembarking the train in eastern Colorado.

After dinner I hung out in the observation car until after dark, enjoying a book and an apertif. I suspected that I had gathered a travelmate since my absence, and indeed I had.

While many of the other single occupancy seats were being maintained by what seemed like bag ladies, my spot was relatively clean on top of being unoccupied through several stops.

When I returned at 10p the car was dark and the spot wad occupied; luckily he was still awake. He was disembarking at 4a in Lincoln, Nebraska.

I sat down, finished my wine, read some, and listened to a Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast I had managed to download to my iPod Touch at the brewpub.