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Uncle Markie out and about.

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Dec '13

Train Day Two.

I love how Amtrak pads their schedules for the last stop of their long distance trains… Fullerton to Los Angeles they said it would take from 6:34am from Fullerton to arriving in Los Angeles at 8:15am. Round numbers an hour and a half… what their schedule shows for the outbound times…. 6:15pm LA, 6:50pm Fullerton – so the real time is half an hour. Means that while technically “running late” this morning we arrived on time. The same is true in/out of Seattle. Schedule time inbound = hour and a half, outbound time = forty five minutes.

The Metropolitan Lounge in the Los Angeles Amtrak station, which had just opened when I was through last December, has been upgraded further:

They should put these chairs in the airport lounges. Each chair has two outlets on the side (that black box) and the table and drink holder pivot. Seriously cool… not sure if I have room for them in the living room though. And big FLAT arms to set more crap.

The trip north out of Los Angeles is one of the most stunning chunks of rail line in the US – there are rumors about moving the Coast Starlight inland (which would cut time out – not like they are planning for the chunk around Point Defiance in Tacoma). The dining car and the view:

Luckily I’m on the ocean-side of the train so whatever water view there is, I get it. Unfortunately in the mountains of Southern Oregon it means that you are on the mountain side rather than the valley view.

Grilled chicken Caesar in the Parlour Car for lunch. When you eat in the Parlour Car you eat with however many are in your party… be it one or four – no forced communal seating. Downside: limited menu which usually doesn’t thrill me. Upside: being about to read in piece. Downside: you don’t to get met random interesting people. Upside: you miss the crazy ones.

Wine tasting in the afternoon (with trivia contest). Two California whites, two California reds – tomorrow it will be Washington/Oregon wines… included free with your sleeping accommodation (as are all meals). And there are several cheese varieties to try as well. Very civilized. I like the cheddar with lavender in it. The smoked was good as well. Ah, life.

Dinner was the Ancho Short (in theory a Tom Douglas recipe) ribs with mashed potatoes – and half a bottle of the Paso Creek 2012 Zinfandel from Paso Robles – the other half will die tomorrow with dinner.

But the joy of the evening was on our short layover in Emeryville: a visit from the boys, Mark and Onyx who I was witness to their ceremony last week.

Thanks to my Car Attendant/Cabin Boy/Porter – not sure what the phrase is for taking the great picture. I have long envisioned a book entitled, “Station Hugs” where the theme is friends meeting at the train station for quick hugs while passing through.

Another late night – rocked to sleep by the train.

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