Day 068_Actual Travel Begins!

Written: 5 August 2021

(it’s true most of this was written on 5 August on the train – but I could not get a signal strong/long enough to even insert the images, much less post the article. So – I’m actually posting this on 9 August. I’ll catch up on days 69 – 71 (today) before getting to current stuff.)

This morning my daughter got up HOURS early to provide transportation to the Train Station in Emeryville, CA. I’m making the first leg of travel with a very dear friend going back 45 years. Heavy traffic in the Oakland area (as usual), then to a totally unfamiliar procedure at the Amtrak Train Station, and we finally got on board! The next 2 ½ days we will take the California Zephyr train to Chicago!

This map shows day (red) and night (blue) sections of the route – We departed from Oakland (on the far left) and went to Chicago (In the middle – kind of the “hub”). The photos later of the woods were taken in the first red area of that route, California and Nevada.

The train is SOOOO relaxing! I have a “roomette” to myself, which has ample room for one, sufficient room for two, and the chairs fold out into a comfortable twin size bed.

My “roomette” – Plenty of room for one – workable for two. Marilyn and I each had separate roomettes right across the hall from each other.
Very comfortable bed made from the two seats stretched out.

I just sit and watch the world go by at a leisurely pace! Delightful. And soporific – I nap, and nap, and doze, and then get tired of dozing so I nap again. This first day I’m not “practiced” on photos and what might be interesting, so I’ll just post a few photos and images taken along the way. I sent a friend in Namibia some video with a little audio when I first got started, and his comment was “You sounded really tired!” And he’s right. Day 1 of this trip is trying to decompress.

Some views and video taken from Oakland to just entering Nevada (daytime, day 1 of this trip).

Home for the next three days.
You don’t realize how BIG these passenger trains are until you’re right next to them.
The hallway – my roomette is the second door on the left. This is all on the second floor (upper deck) of the car.
We are approaching the Sierra Nevadas – a mountain chain still in the California border.
Still in the Sierras, just before Nevada.
The dining car – don’t know the passengers but we met different people at every meal. We are now in Nevada.
I know, I know – give me some time and I’ll figure out how to edit out videos of my leg. LOL. We are maybe 20 minutes out of the station.
Forests typical of the Sierras. Miles and miles and miles.
More forests.

One thing strikes me immediately – the sheer size of the economy in this country as opposed to Namibia. When we go through towns, the STUFF I see – numbers of cars, campers, stores, junk, infrastructure, roads, buildings, businesses – etc. etc. etc. It is no wonder people from many countries see the USA as a land of opportunity. The poverty, homelessness and desperation that are present in almost every society are here also – but the riches and abundance tend to overwhelm them when viewed from the outside.

I’ve lived in Namibia for over six years and have experienced the very, very poor to the very, very rich and most things in between. I’ve not seen a single societal characteristic or behavior that I haven’t also seen in the USA. But the economy is so vast it can easily overwhelm being able to see the all-too-human aspects of the culture here.

Now I’m going to veg out and try to be ready to experience an entire day, tomorrow.

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4 thoughts on “Day 068_Actual Travel Begins!

  1. About an hour before you get to Chicago you will pass through Princeton Illinois. That will be the closest you and I have been to each other in 21 years

    1. Hi Renee! I am SO sorry I haven’t replied to your email outreach a while back. I’ve been much more involved than I planned on, and just haven’t managed relationships very well.

      I will write you a personal note soon. I think the next three days in Milwaukee will be fairly quiet, and I hope to have some time to catch up. It was a joy hearing from you! Maybe we should just get on the phone and talk!! Give my best to Jim and anyone else of the “old” gang. Hmmm, “old” is taking on an entirely new meaning. 😉

  2. Very cool Andy! Definitely makes me want to hop on a train to somewhere! I haven’t been on any train in decades – far too long ago!

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