Friday, November 07, 2008

Dear Jody,

You asked me to tell you how the trip was going, so I decided to start writing before I had Internet service. I am sitting, right now, down in the lounge, the only place I can find electricity, looking out a huge window. There are two lounges – the top one has windows that go up to the top of the car, but the seats are not as comfortable looking and there are no tables big enough to hold the computer. or that have any electricity.

So, I found a spot in the downstairs lounge. This is where you can get snacks and sandwiches, beer, wine, pop, tea, coffee and a smiling face. Mike is a very nice bartender (as he calls himself) and allowed me to take over a whole table, plug in and be able to type away. Right now we are at Havre, Montana and Norm is outside taking a walk in the fresh air. I chose, because of my knee, to stay down here and write to you.

The trip started out by leaving Peanut with Candy and Wayne at 8:00 last night. It was harder on me (and on Norm) to leave her. She was with her all-time favorite person, Wayne, because HE gives her treats!

We drove west, in rain and wind, until we entered South Dakota, where the wind, being from the south, was easier to handle. We had allowed sufficient time to make it to Fargo by 2:30 am so stopped at every rest stop to walk and stretch. We stopped at the first rest stop in North Dakota and took a 30-minute nap. Well, Norm did. I don’t know what was worse, the diesel truck next to us that was running it’s engine (at 48ยบ, mind you – very mild!) or Mr. I-Don’t-Snore, snorkeling away right beside me. Then headed on to Fargo. The route from I-29 on to the Amtrak station was very straightforward. We DID go by the station – there was just a very small sign on the side of the building that is easy to miss.

But then, what is a trip for us if we don’t make at least 1 turn-around, looking for something or someone?

Got there in plenty of time – in fact, just as the eastbound train arrived, so the stationmaster was outside getting baggage out of the train and loading people on. So we had to wait to check in. And all my worries and fretting (to myself) about something being wrong with the reservations was for naught. I gave him my name, he got the tickets out and in less than 5 minutes, we had our baggage checked, the tickets in our hands and nothing else to do but wait. The train was supposed to arrive at 3:30but didn’t show up until about 4:30.

However, it was advantageous to one gal that the train was late. She came just about 10 minutes before the train was supposed to arrive only to find that she didn’t have a reservation. We other passengers spent the next 45 minutes listening to her trying to explain to someone on the other end of the phone that there was no reservation … she needed the name of the person that had reserved the tickets or the credit card number. They, on the other line, were confused and couldn’t find anyone who would have made the transaction. Finally they found someone who had the credit card and just 10 minutes before the train actually DID show up, the stationmaster found the tickets --- made out for the day before! Whew!!! I’m so glad it wasn’t ME!

Once the train came, we climbed up to the second level of the train and found seats, then settled in for the morning. I texted Jill and Candy to let them know we were on the train and moving, then covered up with a blanket and tried to sleep. Oh! Yes, Jody, there WAS a conductor (actually, 2 – a head one and an assistant) who took our tickets and told us where to go on the train. And when it was time to go, he DID shout “All ABOOOOARD!!”

I woke up at 6:30 and watched the night get lighter – no sunrise to speak of. And when it got light enough, I could see that it was snowing! By Williston, there were about 4 inches of snow. I texted to let people know we had snow and got a message back from Cookie to tell me that Deadwood, South Dakota, had 36” of snow already!

We went to the dining car for breakfast and sat with a couple that was heading home. They had picked up the train from Oregon to Vancouver, rode on the Canadian line and down to Washington DC, stopped at Massachusetts to visit family and were heading back home to Oregon. What an exciting trip that was! They told Norm and I that they used to ride coach, but now use the sleeper cars. (And I just heard the announcement that sleeper car passengers were invited to the dining car for wine and cheese – another plus for riding the sleeper!)

Norm said, first thing after he woke up, that we needed to go sleeper on the way back. We will see if we can rearrange better for sleeping tonight in the chairs – both of us have napped today and not been so uncomfortable as we first were this morning.

I have gotten quite friendly with Mike, the bartender, and he promises that if there is an actual sunset this evening, he will show me Venus and Jupiter. So I need to make sure I’m down here for that!

Lunchtime, we ate what I had brought along. Thank you, Jody, for recommending jello and fruit cups. I made a bunch of jello with fruit cocktail and put it in disposable containers. Joy suggested sandwich wraps, which I made, and they were good, too! Apples for an afternoon snack and banana bread – thanks, again, Jody! It’s yummy!

We will have supper in the dining car tonight and then try to be comfortable for tonight’s sleep. If we can split up and have seats across the isle, we would have more room to sprawl.

And now, Jody, I have two people waiting in line for the only electrical hookup around, so I must not be selfish but let others have it. I will continue this next time I get a hookup, or tomorrow at Jill’s.

Oh! There’s sunshine! We MIGHT have a sunset after all!

Now, here's a slide show - and don't forget, you can click on the slideshow to make the pictures bigger, if'n you wish!

1 comment:

Jan said...

Thanks for the slide show, Connie. Paul and I MUST take a train trip. You have convinced me! Imagine seeing the snow in the Dakotas.