Sunday, September 2, 2012

Over the "hump" to California.

Woke up in Winnemucca well before dawn. Enjoyed a blue moon over the Nevada landscape as the sun started to lighten up the sky and later a proper sunrise from the dining car. Breakfast this morning was a cheese omelet with passable bacon, more of the decent potato wedges and an over-billowy croissant.

Passing through Sparks I ponder, "Where art thou, Ron Mael?"

Coming into Reno on time I perused the Amtrak iPhone app and noticed an earlier connection available in Sacramento for Modesto if the Zephyr pulled in early enough. Upon arrival I hustled the one-and-a-half blocks from the tracks to the station, finding the southbound bus ready to roll. Alas, magnificent bureaucracy kept me from boarding.

Going over the "hump": Climbing up the Truckee River, downtown Truckee, my travel companion, Donner Lake.

Out of breath and incredulous, I rest before trekking back out to the train platform to cool my heels for a couple of hours. With the phrase “Highball 704” crackling from the conductor's radio, the San Joaquin pulled out of Sacramento in time, arriving in Modesto almost ninety minutes later.

Meeting up with pal Tim for the first time in years we drove the short distance to home where I greeted pal Julia, his wife. I showered for the first time in days and sat down to a delicious meal of shredded chicken verde tacos with avocado, diced cheese slices, “tamed” jalapeño, and an heirloom cherry tomato salad. Retiring early I slept on a decent air mattress with a little fan by my bedside. The night was cool, ice water was abundant, and the toilet was near, roomy, and not jostling about. Oh luxury!

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