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By: joealaska , 5:53 AM GMT on February 06, 2013

A few nights ago I got a call at 3:30 AM. A boat we had delivered to a few hours prior was missing their eggs. 18 cases of 12 / 15 Dozen. They needed the eggs in an hour or two, as they were leaving.

I woke up one of our guys and it was done within an hour.


Today I was on the phones for some time, but I did not go in. I did go out to Summer Bay and took photos of the big boat new to Dutch.

While I have been told I will be off April and May, it seems to be up in the air a bit. But, stupid me, I am looking into taking the train across country. The CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR, from San Francisco to Chicago (possible connection to Louisville). It is called one of the better train rides around.

The trouble is it is a train. Never stops moving except for a few stations. It is advertised as one of the most picturesque rides on the rails. BUT...

BUT there is travel time at night. I do not want to see the best scenery at midnight.

Working out the schedule, but more important is being able to do this trip...


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12. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
6:34 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
joealaska has created a new entry.
11. shoreacres
1:31 AM GMT on February 10, 2013
Coincidentally, a photographic record of the end of the Marysville, Kansas, UP Depot.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
10. cybersuze
12:16 AM GMT on February 10, 2013
JoeA, what does the title mean, "anyone can be a businessman online"?

DHaupt, great stuff, don't forget the train station bar/restaurant, the "Legal Tender"! We almost moved to Lamy ... but went to Santa Fe instead -- good move. Boise, even better!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
9. DHaupt
2:32 AM GMT on February 09, 2013
My wife informs me that I conflated two tales concerning air travel involving my mother-in-law, Thelma Braidwood, and with my maternal grandmother, Nellie Fern McCann.

Thelma never did fly anywhere. To get her to her high school reunion back in Pittsburgh, KS, My wife and daughter drove her in a little Chevy Nova, basically a Toyota Corolla, often referred to by auto mechanics as a "Toylette". It was a terrific little car and is still on the road, currently owned by the daughter of a friend. They all survived the extensive time packed in close quarters reasonably well. They were still speaking to one another, but not much.

It was Nellie Fern who finally consented to fly because her offspring (I think it was my mother) refused to pay for her passage by any other means. She boarded the plane with her Bible clutched to her bossom; she belonged toThe Disciples of Christ Church, so she had no rosary beads or they would have been well fingered too. By the time the plane landed, she was a aviation enthusiast! She let her other children know that if they ever wanted her to visit them, send the plane tickets: otherwise, have a Merry Christmas.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
8. DHaupt
1:40 AM GMT on February 09, 2013
Arbie, I believe that Amtrak has been using busses extensively for quite a long time. That last trip to Kansas that my in-laws took included a lot of bus travel. I recall that there was serious flash flooding in the Mojave Desert country and they had to be bussed out of California. Their train got caught between floods and couldn't go forward or backward. The busses met them in the desert, carried them back to Bakersfield where they regrouped and then driven to Kingman, AZ

I was in error about their taking the California Zephyr each time. The actually took one of the LA bound trains and then the Southwest Chief. That train stops in Albuquerque, but the closest it gets to Santa Fe is the little village of Lamy, NM

I thought it would be nice to give Joe a preview of his train adventure and also share with others. Here is a view of downtown Lamy on a typical wintery day:

The Amtrak station is just behind you as you contemplate the shopping prospects of Lamy:

Humm.... Maybe you should consider a side trip to Santa Fe, it's only 20 miles away on the Lamy Shuttle -- a buckboard wagon?

Lamy is considered to be one of the scenic wonders of the trip, especially on a bright summer day. You will probably get there in the middle of the night. Just wait 'til you get to Nebraska and Kansas -- probably in broad daylight.

You might want to save your money and go for a real adventure on a train trip into the Andes. You might even get a revolution thrown in for free. But, buy a collapsable bicycle and a backpack before you go.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
7. Arbie
12:52 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
In case anybody is interested, what Amtrak is doing now is filling the gaps where they don't have service with bus rides. Not Greyhound--they own their own buses, I believe (last time I checked). They also have deals where you can do things like take the train one way and fly back (with a cheaper than normal plane ticket). They do keep having to close lines. The trips I took in the 1990s don't exist anymore, although you can sort of take them by taking Amtrak bus service. I keep checking because I enjoyed the cross country train rides so much. I was hoping to take my kids from Houston to NE Ohio to my parents by train, but it isn't possible anymore--hasn't been for many years. I have no desire to do the bus thing. That is just not the same. I was really bummed when Amtrak closed the line going north out of Houston.

Service was great in the 1990s, by the way. Has anybody been more recently?

I think Joe would be wise to ask and make sure his train ride is really a train ride.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
6. DHaupt
7:39 AM GMT on February 07, 2013
My father-in-law, John Ralston "Jackie" Braidwood, was an old Pullman man. He was proud of the fact that he was born in Indian Territory in 1896. He retired from the Pullman Richmond (CA) yards when they closed on December 31, 1959. He retired on his Pullman pension and Railroad Retirement System and lived until July 6, 1988, over 28 years in retirement. In all those years, he never once set foot in an airplane because he thought the infernal thing would crash and cheat him out of a long life! He died just shy of his 92nd birthday. If he had ever done one thing his doctors advised, he would have easily made it to 99. But, he boasted about how he never took his medicines until two days before any doctor appointment. You could say that Jack was a crusty old Scotsman.

For all his years in California, he almost always went back to Weir City, Kansas, every Summer and always on the California Zephyr. My wife, Muriel, was on all these trips until her college years. As her parents entered old age (80 say?) she made a few more trips as chaperone.

In the early days, the accommodations were pretty posh all along the way, but as train service decayed in the 1950s, things got pretty iffy. Amtrak started closing stations, grand old hotels along the route died and were demolished (like in Albuquerque).

The route used to go into Wichita, KS (as close to Weir City as they could get) but on the last trip he ever made in 1987, The train stopped about 35 miles out in a wheat field at about 3 AM and they had to set on benches in an open kiosk until relatives in Wichita who weren't much younger could drive out to pick them up. I should mention that long stretches of the route were done by bus transfer.

A few years after Jack left us, Thelma, his wife of 60+ years wanted to go back to Pittsburgh, KS for a high school reunion. We finally got her on an airplane. She enjoyed it tremendously and wouldn't travel any distance any other way.

Amtrak is now promoting these trips as nostalgic adventures; I've heard the service and amenities are much better now.

So, go do it. You can drive back if you miss too much scenery. I'm sure you'll make it, just a question of when. Tell me that you saw this dilemma coming.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. Arbie
4:55 AM GMT on February 07, 2013
I took a couple of round trip cross country train trips way back before I had kids and I really enjoyed it. You definitely need to be in the right frame of mind though. Ready to relax, sit back and chill. I brought lots of stuff to do. You can spend long hours in the lounge car if your seat doesn't face the scenery you want to see. The seats are huge and meant to be slept in so you don't need to get a compartment. The aisles are patrolled all night so it is safe.

All that wet snow that causes so much trouble sure makes for a pretty picture.

I was reading an article on how much less snow than normal Alaska got this year. Pretty freaky. Apparently a lot of dog sled races had to be cancelled.

Meanwhile our short winter looks to be about over hardly before it began.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
4. dotmom
2:33 PM GMT on February 06, 2013
UK says: Thinking about your last trip, if I recall rightly, there was one night where you found the low rumble of noise from passing trains to be a wonderfully soothing lullaby that helped you relax into a deep, deep sleep.

UK: This was probably a flashback to infancy when our kids would only go to sleep it you took them for a ride in the car or put them on top of the electric clothes dryer and turned it on. Something about that motion and sound would do the trick. The dryer trick only worked until they outgrew the baby basket.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. insideuk
11:27 AM GMT on February 06, 2013
I like the sound of this 51 hour rail trip, with or without sunlight. But that is perhaps because I’d be likely to want to SLEEP at a few points within this time period and I would be happy to have those periods of sleep coincide with the hours of darkness.

I’m weird like that.

But I understand the desire not to miss a viewpoint that you are paying for just because Amtrak haven’t thought to artificially illuminate the Rockies and Sierra Nevadas.

Stupid, stupid.

The solution for Joe, who, as we all know, is never knowingly caught unconscious whilst on vacation, is for the train to park up in the Moffat tunnel and only move off once the sun is risen. Though overtaking manoeuvres could be tricky for trains in more of a hurry if there is just the one track beneath the mountain. Everyone would be required to breathe in until dawn.

That is just about doable, at a push. I’ve personally worn party frocks that required such actions. Hell, I’ve partied all night in new shoes that required MY FEET to breathe in by two whole sizes…

Alternatively he could enjoy the train journey with infra red binoculars strapped to his face, off his head on caffeine to keep alert, with his nose pressed up against the glass. No need to waste money on one of those cute little private Superliner Roomettes if you have no plans to use the turn down service. Or the bathroom.

Maybe you could book the trip to take advantage of a full moon?

I’m sure that whizzy new camera of yours has some special low light capabilities so that you don’t have to blind the wildlife with sudden bursts of flash photography. There may be epileptic bears en-route that are as distant from emergency medical assistance as they are from the bathroom. Hell yes, no doubt there would be.

Thinking about your last trip, if I recall rightly, there was one night where you found the low rumble of noise from passing trains to be a wonderfully soothing lullaby that helped you relax into a deep, deep sleep.

You could potentially miss the whole 51 hour long caboodle could you not?

My only experience of sleeper trains was when I was 15 years old and I took an adventurous trip to the Scottish Highlands with my Grandmother. The train left London at about 9pm and headed north as we giggled our way across hundreds of miles of excessively bumpy track whilst trying not to fall out of our very narrow little fold down bunks. I don’t think either of us actually got a wink of sleep because we were too excited by the novelty of having this tiny little space all to ourselves. There were buttons and levers everywhere, with very little explanation as to their purpose. Some appeared to serve no purpose although we did wonder if we might actually be in charge of driving the train ourselves as at some point during the night we discovered the train would slow down if we held the straps tighter.

Under the window there was a tiny little table which lifted up to reveal an even smaller little sink with full running hot and cold water. It was almost 7am before we discovered this and to ensure we got out monies worth my Grandmother stripped down for a quick flannel wash. At the same time the train came to an unexpected halt. As quick as a flash she had flicked up the window blind to ascertain the reason for the delay and exposed herself to a few dozen startled commuters on the platform of Stirling railway station.

I have returned to Scotland many times. My Grandmother never has yet.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. dotmom
11:08 AM GMT on February 06, 2013
Never a dull moment! :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. ycd0108
6:28 AM GMT on February 06, 2013
Just you awake on the west coast and me about to pass out.
The idea of the train ride night or day appeals to me - no hotel bills either.
We took the "sleeper" from Zurich to Paris and some days later from Paris to Amsterdam. It was just fine though we did not see much. I got up in the middle of the night somewhere in Belgium because the train was stopped. The station we were parked at was flooded and the tracks were almost under water. This would be 1998 late fall - must have been some storm system through there because when we arrived in A-Dam none of the ATMs functioned. We had gotten in to the habit of spending all the currency of the country we were leaving and pulling the new country's money from the ATM. Luckily we had a friend in A-Dam who fronted us some Guilders - likely so he did not have to put us up in his apartment.
My point is:
"Don't you worry
About a thing
'Cause every little thing
Is gonna' be alright!"
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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About joealaska

I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.

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