Tag Archives: amtrak

Train Comin’ Round the Bend. . .

If I stayed on this train, I could go back to LA. No, thanks.

I slept most of the bus ride to Raton. It was a Greyhound that Amtrak uses as a shuttle to a train station, so now Jut can’t make fun of me for never having ridden one. It wasn’t very crowded and I had a whole two seats to myself, so I tried to figure out the 3 Mennonite couples that got on in Colorado Springs, listened to Sam Beam, enjoyed the scenery near the Colorado/New Mexico border, and slept. We took 25 the whole way to Raton, stopping at Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Raton was interesting — a tiny peach-colored adobe building that was the train station. Apparently we lucked out and it was open, because it is closed 8 months of the year and you have to handle your own bags and just chill on the side of the tracks instead of on the 40-year-old chairs inside the lobby.

So now I’m on the upper level on the last passenger car, watching the brown grass and little shrubs go by. We were following the highway for a while, but now we’re in the middle of nowhere. Either the telephone poles here are really short, or they just look so because I’m on the second story. There were some mountain-goat-ish looking animals a while back. (I don’t have any idea what they really were; the mountain goat thing is wishful thinking.) I think we’re stopping in Las Vegas, NM and Santa Fe before we arrive in Albuquerque.

Riding a train is so different than a plane. People actually want to engage in conversation — the whole time we were waiting in Raton, I talked with an 85-year-old black lady from Denver who was going to Long Beach to visit her daughter; a 50-something lady from Denver who was going to San Bernardino to visit her daughter; and a 60-something retired nanny who was going home to Flagstaff. Now I’m sitting next to a lady who has her two daughters and they’re going home to Riverside after spending time in Denver. The car is a lot different, too — there is so much more leg room, body room, reclining room. It is quite nice. And the lounge car is awesome — it has full length windows that go up over the top of the car, too, and there are little chairs and it’s all light. It looks like a train from the movies. I think I would like to try to train more often.

I think I might go check out the dining car and see how overpriced it is. I’ve already eaten like 80 granola bars and it would be nice to get some real food.


Riding That Train, HIgh on Cocaine. . .

I am at Union Station in Denver. It is 5:30 am, and I have been here for 45 minutes. My bus for Raton, NM, providing connecting service to Albuquerque via the Southwest Chief, leaves at 6:00. There is free wireless here, of course.

I had an interesting night at the Hostel. After I wrote, I went out to look for a light rail/bus schedule, and ran into Christian and Mark, two guys who had just gotten in. They were probably in their 40s, friendly, a little bit uncomfortably so. I got a new roommate, too, a Korean girl who turned on all the lights and banged around and pissed off Eileen. When she got there, she locked me out of the room by mistake, so I talked to Christian for awhile and he told me his life story — everything from his fiancee dying in a car accident to being homeless in Guatemala and Phoenix to coming back to Denver after being attacked by a dog. He offered to walk with me this morning to the train station, but I told him he didn’t need to, and I left before I told him I was going to so as to prevent the awkward early-morning company.

The lady at the Hostel said I could catch the light rail to 16th Street for $1.25, and then catch a free bus to Union Station from there, so I got up super early (not that I slept last night anyway) and started walking to the light rail station. But I wussed out after about 2 blocks — I have a ton of crap with me and it’s heavy!! — and called a cab. So I got here for $6, almost an hour early.

Right now it is me and a bunch of old ladies. This must be the old lady train to New Mexico. I guess I didn’t get the memo. So, it’s an adventure. I hope I can sleep a bit on the bus so I’m not a huge pill when I get to Brenna’s. The ticket window just opened, so I better go get hooked up.