Amtrak Cross Country Train Trip...The California Zephyr - Part 3

The California Zephyr: Chicago to Emeryville, California

Did I mention that train travel requires having “sea-legs” and being unafraid to meet people at a shared dining room table, or, after falling into their lap?  Well, we know Leslie, Rudy, Sam and Tina, Nan, Jordan...all “lap” buddies and good sports.

We arrived in Chicago about two hours late with sore shoulders, necks and cramped legs...not too different than a 15-hour flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong or Sydney, Australia. That’s just how coach rolls. Happy to stretch and walk around, but we had limited time before we change over to the famous California Zephyr train route. The “Zephyr” takes you from Chicago, across America’s heartland through Denver, over the Rocky’s, through the Continental Divide, Utah’s desert and the High Sierra’s arriving in Emeryville, California, the end of the line for this route in about 51 hours. We need beds. The concept of double-backs in coach was just too scary.

One lesson about train travel is that you can’t be in a hurry. We left Boston late and arrived in Chicago late. Why would we expect to leave Chicago on time? We had just enough time to find a wine store near Union Station and stock up for our trek across the country. Wine, nuts, cheese, bread, some fresh fruit are all must have’s. We added one celebratory spirit and splurged on a bottle of 12 year-old Glenlivet...we are, after all, celebrating my son’s solo cross-country bicycle trek! It turns out we have another couple of hours to kill in Chicago. Had we known that, I would have hopped in a cab and given Dylan a quick tour of Chicago. This was his first trip to this amazing city.

 We waited in the slightly cramped Metropolitan Lounge for sleeper car travelers. We lunched late on pulled pork sandwiches and boarded the California Zephyr at about 5 PM, nearly 3 hours late. Like I said, one cannot be in a hurry and travel on a non-commuter-type train. We found our sleeper compartment (roomette) at the front of the train and we excited to know we were in an upstairs room. Small still seems inadequate when describing our little train-habitat. But, we were excited, nonetheless. We had seats, a table, windows, a door, curtains and BEDS! It's the little things in life that one tends to appreciate. Cozy, but very cool.

It was far too early for wine so we found ice, cups and cracked open the scotch...a toast was in order-two fingers please! Within a few minutes of departing we met Karen, who introduced herself as our sleeper compartment “steward”. She gave us a quick tour of our room, explained that we have access to showers and the low-down on meal service protocol. All good information.

We were enjoying our little train-habitat...good conversation, replenishing our ice as needed, and missed the first call for dining. So, Karen asked us if we wanted to dine in our room. Sure, why go hang with the “little people” when we can enjoy or private train-space. She handed us the now familiar menu that showcases breakfast, lunch and dinner menu offerings. About 10 minutes later, Karen took our orders and we found more ice.

Dining in this 4X7 roomette was hysterical. Karen delivered what was basically to go order in two large tote bags. We have a shared table the size of a briefcase and now picture this. Two dinner plates, two bread plates, two wine glasses and four salad plates, two desserts. Here we are, two adult diners sitting in a compartment the size of small elevator enjoying dinner on a rocking and rolling train. More Scotch please! It’s all about the environment and it was way too much fun.

Later, we dropped the top bunk, hit the sack and awoke to the sound of the Conductor announcing McCook Nebraska. So, we may as well start our second day on the California Zephyr and explore the dining car during the daylight.

We made a reservation and found our way to another shared both with a mother and daughter from southern Illinois on a bit of an adventure. Nam just retired from teaching at a small liberal arts college, and her daughter was a part-time grad student in Chicago....More to follow

Views: 537

Tags: amtrak, california zephyr, train food

Comment

You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Advertisments

 

DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

The Sip

The Sip: Stay up-to-date on the beer, wine and spirits category with original content from SmartBrief -More

New food offerings helped Starbucks boost sales

Baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and the first price increases in nearly four years helped lead Starbucks to a 7% same-store -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $50 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Ward Whitworth Named President for On The Border Mexican Grill

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, which was recently acquired by Border Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Argonne Capital Group, today announced the appointment of Ward Whitworth as President of On The Border.

The Melting Pot Targets Houston and El Paso, Texas for Franchise Expansion

Restaurants, Inc. announced today that it is actively seeking franchisees to expand its presence throughout the Lone Star State, naming El Paso and Houston as target markets for future franchise development.

Encore Restaurants Purchases 8 Existing Five Guys Restaurants, Plans to Develop 45 More

Encore Restaurants, LLC, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Encore Enterprises, Inc., has announced the purchase of eight existing Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants across central California including Elk Grove, Fresno, Lodi, Natomas, Roseville, Stockton, Tracy, and West Sacramento.

Takeout Orders to Hotels Jumped 125% in Popularity in Last Three Years

For many Americans, hotel room service is considered a travel luxury; however, data from PFK Hospitality Research1 suggests that room service revenues fell 9.5 percent from 2007 to 2012, with some hotels shuttering unprofitable operations altogether.

National Restaurant Association Praises House and Senate Commerce Committee Passage of Travel Promotion Act

Yesterday the National Restaurant Association (NRA) praised the House passage and Senate Commerce Committee markup of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014. The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes Brand USA, the nation’s first global marketing campaign, to promote the United States as a destination for international travelers.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service