Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Amtrak Across America - The California Zephyr (Part II)

We awoke on the train to a few announcements, lovely desert scenery and gorgeous weather. It wasn't very easy for me to sleep the first night but it wasn't bad either. The bed was comfortable but I wasn't used to my surroundings yet. We were at ease, just sitting back and being transported through the American West, an enchanting land... 

This was a nice way to travel. We laid around for awhile, eventually it was time to make my way to the restroom for a wash. The bathrooms are pretty clean and I found them to be basically respected by other passengers, which was nice. There were a few decent appointments as well, like air freshener.

In our room, I insisted on the bottom bunk. No climbing for me. Unfortunately there is not a window on these trains for the upper bunk - some lines do have that feature, as we would on our second leg of this trip via The Cardinal.

I'm not big on breakfast, so taking photos was a bigger priority for me. And they make it easy - you relax, the scenery passes by.

Finally ready to go to the dining car; the views are just as good in there and the seating is comfortable. Plus you can get some food. Especially on this train, the food was really tasty. They actually have a kitchen with a chef downstairs. I really hope that somehow, someway, Amtrak figures a way to keep this wonderful feature.

The lounge car is a nice place to hang out, and a great way to meet people. I was not looking for that at all, and yet I did have some wonderful conversations with some fabulously interesting people. I met an international aid worker in his 70s, traveling with his twin boys. He had some good stories about relief work in various African countries, and was on his way home to be with his (much younger) wife. He was a cool dude.

There is a lot of glare from the windows on these photos, but I thought the scenery is worth it.

My husband was having a great time with the amazing staff on this train. They were so pleasant and downright fun to hang out with. We joked and clowned around so much with these folks, my husband and I never bothered with any of the games we brought. I actually didn't end up doing tons of reading and stuff like that because we passed a lot of time rappin and chillin with peeps.

We weren't the only ones laughing and having a good ol time. There is apparently a time honored tradition along a stretch of the Colorado River this train traverses where the locals simply insist on mooning the train.

The staff mentioned it to us and I was skeptical. But I assure you, it happens, and everyone does it. There were plenty of otherwise respectable-seeming people of mature ages that excitedly dropped their drawers when they heard the train coming. The train staff said they'd seen plenty more than moons over the years. 

We spent a fair amount of time outside of our room; there are plenty of places to wander about on the train. There was more food to be had as well, and once again I enjoyed myself. I am so pleased they took the time to accommodate people with weird diets, like me.

A few more snaps of the scenery and it was almost time for our arrival in Denver.

A fair amount of people were ending there trip here, but we also had arrived on schedule; we had enough time to wander around downtown Denver for a look.

Above, the outside of their gorgeous train station. 
Below, the indoors is used as a sort of upscale food court, with restaurants and bars in a giant hall. It was really quite crowded and busy on a Friday night.

the weather wasn't bad but a light rain was falling; it was time to return to the train.

Once again, lots more antics at dinner. We met a really fun mother-daughter couple. They were having a good time messing with my husband, and our wonderful car attendant, Terence.

Poor Terence. He has to deal with the public constantly.

We did overnight on the train and have some time in the morning and afternoon, but the scenery was drying up a little. I did not take many photos that afternoon.

Chicago has its own beautiful train station as well, seen above and below.

We had a few hours because of the on time arrival of our train, which was great. We took the time to visit with a friend in Chicago and have a walk around.

Just a few more photos still to come in Part III, where we linked up with Amtrak's Cardinal Route to make our way back to Washington DC.

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