Monday, May 5, 2014

Another long and unremarkable ride home aboard the Zephyr.

Holiday Trip to Las Vegas and Reno, Part 15
January 4, 2014

A faulty room assistance klaxon woke me up about forty minutes west of Salt Lake City. Upon our early arrival I spent the next hour stetting my legs and getting reacquainted to the concept of winter weather. I was able to catch a few more hours sleep after leaving the station.

Breakfast this morning aboard Amtrak was the Chef’s Good Morning Special – a baked spinach, mushroom and cheese frittata with grits, plus a side of bacon. Calling it a frittata is not too much of a stretch, but it has more in common with Persian kuku than an Italian frittata. The half-moon patty was somewhat unappealing in presentation, but otherwise tasted fine.

Later that morning we have our first unexpected delay in the Grand Valley of western Colorado. Another delay came up west of Granby, as we waited for a late westbound California Zephyr to pass by while our train waited on a siding.

After leaving Denver I went to the cafe in the Lounge Car hopeful for another microwaved California Pizza Kitchen pizza like the one I had enjoyed on the Southwest Chief [see blog post]. Sadly, that was not the case.

In its place I rolled the dice with a DiGiorno pizza; that was a fail right from the start. The cafe attendant had microwaved the pizza not on the heat reflecting silver side, but the other way round on the bare cardboard. I took a couple of bites of this doughy round of bread, ate the meager toppings, and threw half of it away. Cooking blunder aside, it was an abomination!

The train was making good time through the inclement weather moving in to the Midwest, but bus lines were canceling services left and right. I was skeptical about whether I would have a bus connection in Ottumwa for the next several days.

The next morning I was relived to find the service still running. The afternoon ride to Des Moines via Highway 163 was uneventful. Despite temperatures below zero and the abrupt location change of the bus station, I was able to get a ride home, courtesy of my pal Rachael and her truck Frank.

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