Ridden An Amtrak Train


"A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car, but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad."
--
Theodore Roosevelt

One of the things I had always wanted to do was to travel from the West Coast to the East Coast by land. I have always had a strong attachment to our country, but when I really thought about it, I had seen a lot less of it than I would care to admit. When I set out to plan a trip to do this, I first thought I could rent a car and drive it across, but because of J's schedule this year, the trip would have to occur in the winter. Since I wasn't interested in driving in snow, the train was a very appealing option. I have always been fascinated with the American train system, but I had never used it to travel before.

Today, after a very generous ride from our friend Aaron, J and I boarded an eastbound train from Emeryville headed to Chicago. This route is called the California Zephyr, and it's a two and half day journey through two mountain ranges and seven states. One of the things that really got me excited was that I was going to be able to see so many different types of terrain from plains to rivers to snowy landscapes.


We got a room in the sleeper car with our own private bathroom and shower.


The start of the trip brought us up towards the Sacramento area along the Carquinez Strait. We passed San Pablo Bay, Suisun Bay and the Suisun Marsh.


On our way to Sacramento, we made a short stop in Davis. I thought it was cool how different train stations were decorated differently.


Just past this was the Roseville station, which had a more colorful paint job.


Next, we traveled through the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and it was gorgeous.


We passed through Truckee, where we could see some of the small town businesses that occupy Donner Pass Road.


Our next big stop was across the state line into Nevada. It was in the "biggest little city in the world", Reno.


As the sun was setting across the Nevada desert, our last stops for the evening were in Sparks, Winnemucca, and Elko.


One of the perks of purchasing a sleeper car is that your meals are included in the price of your ticket. We ended up going to the dining car for lunch and dinner today. For lunch, I had a bacon cheeseburger.


For dinner, I had a steak cooked rare. Both of the meals today were good, much better than airplane food.


So far, I have really enjoyed my time on the train. I got to see some of the country I have not seen before and a lot of which is not easily accessible on the regular roads. Although the room feels pretty cramped at times, the accommodations are reasonable and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's great sights....
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