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A little reclaiming, a little new and a bunch of old!

by Chris Guenzler

Following the completion of the Maine trip, I decided to return to the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, Montana to reclaim it for my sobriety. I used my Alaska Airline Mileage for a round trip sleeper on the Coast Starlight and a round trip on the Talgo to Vancouver which I purchased Business Class for in order to ride the new Skytrain extension. Marty, my most wonderful night time ticket agent in Santa Ana booked that part of the trip plus the trip Seattle to Essex and then back to Portland. I asked her to check sleeping car prices and when they were favorable I had her book a room both ways for me. In Portland I would have two new light rail lines to ride before taking the Talgo the next morning to Olympia-Lacy to board the Starlight there so I could have lunch on the train to start the trip back. I went on-line to get the hotel rooms with the Pioneer Square Hotel in Seattle and the Mark Spencer in Portland. I did the Izaak Walton Inn on-line as well but they were still having problems with their new system but as I always say "Everything works out if you let it!" I called Steve Fredson and offered to take him on the Spirit of Washington Dinner train if he would come down to Seattle to pick me up the day of that trip which he did. With everything set, I coached track at McFadden, enjoyed Winterail 2002 with Bruce Jacobs in Stockton and continued to deal with those most interesting kids on Hedy's case load that we have worked together with yet. The week before the trip I first booked two steam trips out of Minneapolis in June and two days before booked the Milwaukee Road 261's trip to Duluth and Two Harbors in May. With that all done, I definitely needed a vacation and counted down the days until departure.

Surfliner 765 3/28/2002

I could not wait to get on this train and was greeted by Conductor Bonnie who told me that her daughter Sonia and her husband Tom ex conductors on this line had a baby girl. That started my trip off with some great news. I visited Thomas Lin in the cafe car for some herbal tea which I took back to the cab car to enjoy with some chocolate donuts that I had brought along. The trip to Los Angeles Union Station was quick and then I waited on the platform for the Coast Starlight to back into the terminal.

Coast Starlight 14 3/28/2002

I boarded the sleeping car fittingly named California for my trip to Seattle. I had started to read "The Summons" by John Grisham for this trip and like any of his books you can not put it down once you have started reading it. My excellent sleeping car attendant was nicknamed Cadillac and I had the ever friendly Larry as my Parlour Car Attendant. We left Los Angeles on time with me reading as we headed north. I stopped at Moorpark and visited with Larry before having an excellent 14 Hamburger and a Turtle for dessert. I detrained at Santa Barbara and photographed the train. I decided with Amtrak's very cloudy future that I would shot pictures on this trip as we headed up the coast out of my room as far as Surf which kept me busy until then. At San Luis Obispo I detrained for pictures, first off of the pedestrian bridge before walking to the front end then back for a picture of my car the California. I wondered what the chances would be to have the California, Oregon and Washington all on the same train consist.

I enjoyed the sunshine at San Luis Obispo and within ten more minutes we had finally left town an hour fifteen minutes ate. We crept over the bridge on a slow order the first of many this afternoon. I enjoyed the climb over the very green Cuesta Grade with clouds overhanging the peaks. For dinner I had a true Coast Starlight Prime Rib not the Texas Eagle version on past trips along with another Turtle. I watched the movie "Hearts of Atlantis" in the Parlour Car Theater before calling it a night at Salinas now over three hours late. We must have had a ton of slow orders during the movie. I made my bed and slept the night away soundly.

3/29/2002 I woke up to a full moon in the western sky over the Sacramento Valley north of Chico running over four hours late. Like I always say, "Running late can be a good thing" as in this case a daylight trip up the Sacramento River Canyon and by Mt Shasta. I went to the Parlour Car and enjoyed the early morning solitude and talked to Larry as we watched as we passed the southbound train number 11 at Gerber. I then had a French Toast Breakfast which really hit the spot. I shot pictures as we crossed the Redding Trestle on a perfectly clear morning. I could see Mt Lassen, Mt Shasta and the peaks of the Trinity Alps. Later a pair of tunnels led us out onto the lower level of the Pitt River Bridge. After crossing the Sacramento River at Lakehead, I sat in one of the big plush chairs in the Parlour Car to enjoy the daylight run up to Dunsmuir which we arrived at over four hours late. We ran north up the Cantara Loop and had wonderful views of Mt Shasta on three sides. We ran nonstop until Worden siding in Oregon where the Union Pacific had a non clearing freight train on the mainline and another freight in the siding. We pulled into the siding hoping to fit which we barely did and the mainline longer freight then ran by us. We followed the freight in front of us on into Klamath Falls. With the dining car already full, I had Cadillac bring my lunch to my room where I enjoyed a 14 Burger and Turtle which I eat while we sat in Klamath Falls. I even had time to jump off for some fresh air while the connecting passengers for train number 28, the Portland section of the Empire Builder were removed from our train to be bussed up to Wishram to meet that train there. I hope that does not happen to me in June when I go to Minneapolis to ride the Milwaukee Road 261 to Chicago and the UP 3985 Minneapolis to Kansas City. At the north end of town we met the second freight of the day with Canadian Pacific power in its engine consist. At Algoma we met a BNSF bare table train waiting for us to pass along as we cruised along Upper Klamath Lake. The Starlight passed Root Beer Falls.

We ran nonstop to Chemult with the UP keeping us from getting delayed further by having all their freight trains in the sidings along the way. I finished the excellent book "The Summons" on the east slope of Cascade Summit and received my dinner reservation as I was on the last page. We descended down the snow covered upper reached to the bare ground further below. At Fields, we passed an eastbound pig train with both of the UP's Olympic Torch Relay units powering it. Further down the grade at Wicopee, another eastbound with CP Rail power, so it has been an interesting day for motive power watchers. It has also been interesting to see all the different locations along the line in different light conditions. I had a repeat of last night's dinner as we sat in Eugene waiting on train number 11 running about thirty minutes late which just happened to have Steve Grande, the head man of Trainweb aboard. I waved at all the Sleeping cars as well as the Parlour Car and Dining car hopping that he might see me. North of Eugene the clouds began to roll in as I listened to music and did word fill in puzzles. I started to tire after Albany as it had been a good but long day and got an idea. Why not sleep the rest of the way to Seattle as I would get a full night rest that way. I got a blanket from Cadillac and slept all of the rest of the miles to Seattle.

3/30/2002 Cadillac buzzed my room when we were in the tunnel ready to back into King Street station in Seattle. We backed into station at 12:50 A.M. four hours and forty-five minutes late. A new northbound Starlight record for being late. I said goodnight to Cadillac thanking him for his excellent service. Talk about a complete opposite of Richard who I had on the Southwest Chief going to Chicago in December. Cadillac was everything that you could ever want in a sleeping car attendant. I made a very quick walk through a still very lively Seattle night life to the Pioneer Square Hotel where after a very nice long hot shower I was back in dreamland.

The Mt Baker International 760 3/30/2002

I woke up refreshed and ready to go. Following a shave and shower along with viewing the Weather Channel with no rain in the forecast, I enjoyed a few pieces of toast and orange juice before walking back to Amtrak via the Waterfront. I met a northbound empty Waterfront Trolley heading up the line. I checked in for Business Class for Vancouver before picking up a revised Via timetable to look through. I boarded the Las Vegas Talgo set taking seat 9c on the inland side of the train for a change of pace. We left on time plunging into the tunnel under downtown Seattle, through the Interbay Yards before crossing the drawbridge at the Ballard Locks. We cruised the shoreline of the Puget Sound stopping briefly at Edmonds prior to stopping at the waterfront station in Everett. We plunged into the tunnel under Everett's downtown then went past the new Everett Transportation Center still waiting track to be put in. The movie northbound was the "Count of Monte Cristo" which I had never seen before. We entered Canada and the movie ended with us across the Fraser River from New Westminster on a cloudy but dry day. We crossed the Fraser River and went along the new Skytrain route with the first two stations now open that I would be riding to in a couple of hours before we zipped into Vancouver's Central Station on time.

Vancouver 3/30/2002

Being first in line at Canadian Customs sped me through and I visited my ever friendly instant teller machine. I went to the gift shop for a pair of post cards for myself this time. I walked over to the Skytrain Station to complete my goal of riding the first part of the new Millennium Line. I took an Expo line train out to Columbia where I then waited for a train for the new line. I boarded one of Translink's new cars with large front windows out onto the new line as it ran to the two new stops of Sapperton and Baird where I detrained. I rode back to Columbia in old equipment before transferring to another train out to King George before running to the other end of the line at the Waterfront before returning to Main Street/Scienceworld. I walked over to the mini CN Yard to shot a couple of locomotives and went over to the Waterfront Trolley whose sign said, "Open Weekends and Holidays 1-5". Well this is a Saturday but there was no signs of life. I went to the I-Max Theater and got a ticket for "Lost Worlds" narrated by Harrison Ford of Indiana Jones/Han Solo fame. It was a very educational I-Max movie. I returned to Central Station and had a McDonald's hamburger to tie me over until I ate on the Talgo later.

Mt Baker International 763 3/30/2002

I was first through US PreCustom Inspection which now included a baggage X-Raying machine. As I was enjoying my evening meal at my seat on the Talgo, the rain started even though it had been threatening all day. The Talgo left right on time and after the customary realigning of switches, we headed back south. For once, we did not get delayed at the Fraser River Drawbridge. We stopped at Blaine, Washington but this time we sat while the US Customs officials conducted their business. This might be a post 9/11 situation. The movie once we got going again was "Ocean Eleven". I was at the end of the movie and I found the first and only negative thing about the Talgo, no drinking water in the cars. I had to walk to the Bistro for a glass of water from a pitcher on the counter. Other than that, it had been a great trip. We ran straight to King Street Station with no delays at the Ballard Locks and I walked back to the Pioneer Square Hotel for the night.

Spirit of Washington Dinner Train {Brunch} 3/31/2002

Steve Fredson a long life friend of myself and my brother Duane picked me up after another excellent stay at the Pioneer Square Hotel and we drove to Renton on a mostly cloudy Easter Sunday to ride the brunch trip on the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train. We found the place easily enough thanks to a good map off of their web site. We passed a Milwaukee Road substation two blocks west of their depot from their good old days when their box cabs would pull their cargo down the street at Renton. The consist of our train was:

F-9 84 ex B&O.

MARC Olympic {Rounded end observation car} ex Reading,

Mt Rainier {Dome} ex UP via Autotrain.

Columbia Winery {Dining/Bar} ex Santa Fe City.

of Renton {Super Dome} ex Milwaukee Road.

Cascade {Kitchen} ex Santa Fe.

City of Seattle {Dome} ex Santa Fe.

Chateau Ste Michelle {Platform}.

ex Santa Fe Head End Power Car.

ex Amtrak F-9 82 ex B&O, MAc.

We left nearly on time after waiting for some late arrivals running down the street of Renton before we crossed the Cedar River with Interstate 405 to our east. We passed the Kenworth Plant right before the Boeing Plant at the south end of Lake Washington. We ran along the east shore of Lake Washington with Mercer Island out in the middle of the lake. Amy, our most wonderful server bought out my meal of just French Toast {since I don't eat eggs}, potatoes and sausage which were fabulously delicious. After we passed the Interstate 90 crossing of Lake Washington we climbed away from it under Interstate 405. We climbed before we crossed the Wilburton Trestle built in 1891, which is 975 feet long and 102 feet high. A few miles further Lake Washington returns to view but much further down the hill with downtown Seattle standing guard beyond. We ran through some unspoiled forest with some great houses and backyards to view along the Dinner Train's route. We stopped at 124 Street in Kirkland to allow the conductor to turn all of the signals in a five way intersection red. We cut across the ridge line of the hills into the valley with the Sammanish River. We saw the Red Hook Brewery down in the valley before we pulled into Woodinville where the train switched tracks and reversed direction heading back up the floor of the valley to the Columbia Winery which was across from the Red Hook Brewery, our trains destination.

Steve went wine tasting while I photographed the inside and outside of the train. We headed back to Renton with me enjoying a Coca-Cola before the Chocolate Mousse arrived for dessert. I rode the open platform of the Chateau Ste Michelle back past the Wilburton trestle so I could get some great pictures before I returned to the Great Dome for the rest of the trip back to Renton.

The weather was great, the service by Amy was excellent and I got a fantastic ride on a very special train. Steve drove me back to King Street Station in Seattle where I waited for my next train to Montana.

Empire Builder 8 3/31/2002 About 4:00 PM the Empire Builder was brought into King Street Station with my sleeper, car number 32003, the Edward Ullman right outside the door ready for me to board. Sleeping car attendant, Jimmy Wong greeted me and I settled into my Superliner One sleeping car. My luggage cart and second bag got to ride downstairs on this trip as they would not fit into my room. We left Seattle the same way I went yesterday as far as Everett with me riding again on the inland side of the train. I sat down for dinner on the Puget Sound side of the train and enjoyed the watery views until Everett where we turned east towards the Cascade Mountains with me enjoying a Porterhouse Steak and a Turtle for dessert. It sure had been a good day of eating in my life on this last day of March. I returned to my room to enjoy as much of the climb to the Cascade Tunnel as I could. Well it was long after dark by the time we reached the west portal and we entered passing the occasional safety lights which lit up my room for a brief second or two. Upon exiting the Cascade Tunnel, I turned in for the night and slept well into Montana.

4/1/2002 Waking up to the snows of Montana about forty miles west of Whitefish, I went to breakfast and had some great pancakes prior to our arrival in Whitefish. I detrained to shot our train and the NW-5 on display there in Great Northern paint. We ran east through a snowstorm with the Empire Builder licking up the new fallen snow. We stopped at Belton {West Glacier} before we made our way through the snowstorm along the southern boundary of Glacier National Park which you could not see any of thanks to the weather all the way to Essex where I detrained.

My Reclaiming of the Izaak Walton Inn for My Sobriety 4/1/2002

The hotel van was waiting just like old times and after we picked up a family off of the Portland Section of the Empire Builder, we drove to the front of the Izaak Walton Inn. I walked inside for the first time sober with everything looking just as it did the last time I was here in 1988. My room was not ready, so I stored my luggage down in the basement until noon when my room would be ready. I jacketed up and went out into the snowstorm to the Pedestrian Bridge for some picture taking.

I caught a couple of BNSF freights with me walking up the hill to see the four cabooses that you can rent as a cabin painted as Great Northern, Burlington Northern, Montana Rail Link and Burlington. I think they need two more to complete the railroads of Montana, the Northern Pacific and the Milwaukee Road. As I stood out on that bridge it dawned on me that this was the first time in my life that I had ever stood out in a snowstorm. And how many shapes of snowflakes there are. After about three hours I returned to the warmth of the Inn. I bought some post cards which I filled out and mailed before getting my room. I took my luggage up to the second floor to room 18 on the southeast corner of the building track side. The bed had a Great Northern bedspread and GN stained class over the bathroom. After I took a nap and a walk out to the bridge now that the snow had ended and the sun was out. I returned and with US Highway 2 closed, I decided against renting the car and called Amtrak for a round trip to Havre Wednesday the day I leave so I could at least ride over Marias Pass. I enjoyed a linner{lunch/dinner} before re exploring every inch and picture in the Inn. I was amazed how much I remembered from my three stays here 1986-1988. The Flagstop Bar looked exactly like it did all those years ago. I ordered a Seven Up to official reclaim the Izaak Walton Inn for my sobriety. Later, I walked out to train number 8, the westbound Empire Builder to reclaim my scanner that had ridden to Havre without me. Watching the Empire Builder leave made me think just how lucky I am to be sober here at this moment of my life at the Izaak Walton Inn, Essex, Montana. I returned to my room for a few word fill in puzzles and a call home before calling it a night.

4/2/2002 I woke up to the alarm today testing it for tomorrow morning and took a nice long hot shower. Today is a day of rest. I had pancakes for breakfast before venturing out to the bridge for Amtrak with a couple of eastbound BNSF freights, one which was racing the Empire Builder. The freight won to West Java as Amtrak stopped to do the station work at Essex but would win the race to East Java and Havre as well as all points east. I went in and read by the fire and relaxed. I truly valued this vacation more than any of the other ones before as I need a rest from those kids I work with this year. I took another hot shower before napping with very vivid dreams. I spent most of the afternoon out on the bridge on a most beautiful clear April afternoon. One of the hotel workers, Felipe, walked by and asked if I wanted to see his N gauge trains and it seems that he really enjoyed them. I shot a couple of trains then got my wish with an all Cascade Green four unit lash up. That was it for the trains for the next few hours and I was glad that I did not rent the car with the limited trains. I will have to remember to book a trip here late week when the action is greater. I had an excellent steak dinner prior to working on the visitor's jig saw puzzle and added twenty new pieces to it. I relaxed the rest of the evening. A Boy Scout troop arrived from Duluth and after a few minutes of rowdy behavior they settled down for a quiet night.

4/3/2002 I woke up, showered and met the leaders of the Boy Scouts down by the fire until I had breakfast. Funny thing is that this is their first trip to Montana and I will be in Duluth for the first time in May when I ride the Milwaukee Road 261 steam locomotive there. Small world is it not! I packed up really not wanting to leave, said goodbye to Larry and was driven back to the platform at Essex.

Empire Builder 8 4/3/2002

I shot a picture as the train approached. This is the first time that I have ever boarded an eastbound train here and would be my first sober eastbound daylight trip over Marias Pass as the only other eastbound sober trip left Essex in twilight. The conductor came and sold me a one way ticket to Havre then I sat back and shot pictures all the way the Browning. It was a perfectly wonderful clear day and I could not have picked a better day to cross Marias Pass. Everything that makes a great wintery passage {Yes, I know it's spring} so I really enjoyed the train's crossing of Marias Pass. Once we got to Browning the camera was put away and the headphones were put on with the word fill in puzzles started. We ran undisturbed to Shelby where we met major freight train interference. I was thankful that I was on the BNSF, and not the UP, where things quickly clear up. As I preoccupied my time across Montana I felt if I was practicing for my trip in June when I go to Minneapolis to ride the steam trips. We ran to Gildford where we crept along for a few miles due to slow orders. The landscape had been plowed with the wheat beginning to stalk. We pulled into Havre thirteen minutes before the Empire Builder was scheduled to leave heading east. I detrained to purchase my return ticket to Essex or so I thought.

Havre 4/3/2002

No matter how well you explained it to a reservation agent somehow I knew in my heart that there would be a screw up. I went to the counter and there was no Havre to Essex in the computer. The wonderful female agent there worked on it, sent me to have lunch at Subway and when I returned my ticket was ready. She had to read up on Guest Reward while I was gone. I called Barry Christensen and he told me about the Orange County Railway Historical Society meeting that I missed and by the sounds of it, I did not miss much. I told him about Essex and my most wonderful visit there. I walked out and sat on a bench watching a freight pull in before Amtrak's number 7, the westbound Empire Builder came in to be fueled. The assistant conductor took my ticket so I could walk straight onto the train seeing if my sleeping car room was open which it was so I set up shop for the run to Portland so now I could kick back all the way there.

Empire Builder 7/27 4/3/2002

Before departure I was thinking about Amtrak route's which I had not ridden in a sleeper on and only the Texas Eagle came to mind. With the start of the wheels turning, I was now on my way home with the exception of the side trip to Olympia-Lacy to catch the Coast Starlight on Friday morning. I sat back and enjoyed my re crossing of the high plains. At Shelby, after doing our station work, we backed to the east switch before running around an eastbound freight that had been on the mainline in front of us. They called in the early dinner reservations and I enjoyed a Montana Porterhouse and a Turtle. The meal lasted all the way to the Summit of Marias Pass where we spotted a herd of elk. The sun had set so we made our westbound descent in twilight. I had my room light on at Essex so everyone could see me wave from my sleeping car room. I turned out the light and enjoyed the darkened snow covered countryside to West Glacier where I made up my bed.

4/4/2002 Waking up briefly in Spokane, I slept right until Pasco where I went to the Lounge Car to enjoy the trip down the Columbia River on a beautiful clear morning. Mt Hood stood out nicely and the train made great time until Bingen where we went into the siding for the BNSF 1088 east. After our station work at Bingen-White Salmon we proceeded to Stevenson where we went into the siding for two more eastbound BNSF freights. I truly enjoyed today's trip down the Columbia River Gorge and I was totally relaxed never feeling better. We pulled to a stop at Vancouver, Washington's depot before we crossed the Columbia River to our last stop on the Empire Builder, Portland Union Station. I detrained there, stopped for a picture of my train before calling home.

Portland 4/4/2002 The Sad Visit but Life Must Go On!

It was the saddest phone call of my life learning that my ex vice principal, Ed Cole had passed away. The worst part of it is being in Portland and missing the funeral back home tomorrow. I knew in my heart that Ed would have wanted me to be on this trip and to be enjoying myself. He was Mr Railroading at McFadden before I arrived and I loved talking trains with him. I will be eternally grateful that I gave him that roundtrip on the Coast Starlight to Seattle and Talgo train to Vancouver, BC for his retirement. He had a way of lighting up a room and my life. I will always never forget the light he brought to me and everyone he met. He was truly a man who will always be loved. Ed Cole, I will never forget you!

After the shock had settled, I walked out the depot picking up some Tri-Met schedules before I walked to the Mark Spencer Hotel. I shot one of the new Downtown Streetcars on my way there. I checked in and had a very nice room on the second floor. I left a message for Hedy as I felt really sad but remembering that life must go on, I decided to start my day of streetcar riding. I bought an all day Transit Pass and then rode an Airport {Red} Line train out to the Portland Airport over the new line that branches off the Gresham {Blue} Line at Gateway station. At Gateway the new line makes a U-turn on a bridge to run north along Interstate 205 to the bottom of the bluff where it turns west to the Airport. Great views of Mt Hood and Mt St Helens were found on this line. I returned to Gateway before taking a Blue Line train out to the end of the line at Gresham. I went back to downtown and had a Subway sandwich for lunch before returning to my room for a little television.

Later I rode the new Downtown Streetcar Line on a Skoda Streetcar made in the Czech Republic and saw some more of Portland especially the Portland University at the south end. The line has a southern stub end where the operators switch ends of the cars. I then rode a standing room only trolley in a seat out to the west end of the line at Hillsboro. I went to the KFC there for dinner and finally got a picture of a Portland and Western cab hop running down a street there. I returned to downtown, went to Powell Books for a pair of railroad books before watching Friends and the Kings/Red Wings game from Los Angeles with the Kings winning 3-0 ending a five game winless streak. I called Hedy and we talked about Ed which made me feel better. I had an excellent night's rest.

4/5/2002 I watched the Weather Channel with rain later in the morning and Sports Center before I going downstairs for a continental breakfast. I checked out and took the Downtown Trolley to within four blocks of Portland Union Station to wait for my next train.

Cascade 750 4/5/2002

Due to UP freight train interference, 750 finally rolled into Portland and we left twenty-five minutes late. Well that should cut done my waiting time if all goes right. It was an overcast morning with rain expected later in the day. So far on this trip I have been lucky with no rain and I hope that it holds up until after I am on the Starlight. We made our way to the Columbia River and crossed into Washington and our Vancouver stop. Now I would sit back and enjoy the high speed Talgo run north. The movie was "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Sword" which I would watch as much as possible. I took the headphones off at ten and had my own private service for Ed as the train sped north. As we neared Olympia, I photographed the mysterious Mima Mounds before we arrived at Olympia-Lacy. I detrained and walked to the front end for a picture with me also on Trainweb's northbound camera there. I called home and talked with my mother. Ed Cole's funeral would be over. He is with God now and I am waiting on the southbound Coast Starlight.

Coast Starlight 11 4/5/2002

I boarded an on time Coast Starlight taking my assigned Room 5 in the sleeping car Iowa on the east side of the train. I went to the dining car having a 11 Burger with a Turtle being done by Centralia. I napped down to Portland where it was really raining. I finished "Bill Miner - Last of the Famous Western Bandits" then started reading Paul Theroux's "The Old Patogonia Express, by train through the Americas". We went into a siding at Hallawell for the three hour late running northbound Coast Starlight as we had out distanced the rain. I had a grand dinner of Prime Rib and a Turtle. It was the best Prime Rib yet almost a Black Angus {Stuart Anderson} restaurant quality. As we left the Willamette Valley, we headed into the Cascades into more rain. We crossed Cascade Summit in the dark. In the "It's a small world department" I met Courtney who after we had talked about Emerson, Lake and Palmer and a Jethro Tull show we were both at in the Long Beach Arena in 1977 and 1979. It turned out that she and one of my brother Jon's friends Chris along with Jon had gone to our ranch together years ago. She was married and traveling with her husband and their son. You never know who you will meet on a train. I said my good nights before Chemult and slept until south of Chico.

4/6/2002 I woke up early and rode the Parlour Car south out of Chico. We passed the Sutter Buttes and I talked with the conductor. He told me that we lost forty minutes this morning at Chico. He said that earlier in the morning at Redding a woman had stepped off of her sleeper to have a smoke and that he told her to wait there and get on with the coach passengers giving her longer to smoke. Two guys grabbed her and took her to the bottom of lounge car and started to have their way with her. They got the idea to break into to the cafe area to get some liquor. The conductor was looking for the woman when he heard noise coming from the lower level of the lounge car. He went down and caught the guys in the act and had them arrested at Chico on Federal Charges. They were hauled off and taken to jail.

I enjoyed breakfast in the dining car as the Starlight ran down the ex WP tracks before pulling into Sacramento. I enjoyed more of the Theroux book as I was in Costa Rica as we pulled into Emeryville. At Oakland they added two California locomotives to our consist and we left one hour twenty five minutes late. I napped down to near Salinas before having a 11 Burger and Turtle in my room. I watched Ocean 11 again as we traveled down the Salinas Valley which finished at Paso Robles. The trip down the very green covered hills of Cuesta Grade was extremely beautiful and we met train number 14 at Chorro before we pulled into San Luis Obispo for some pictures and fresh air. We had an extended stay at San Luis Obispo which was used for an almost perfect met with Surfliner 775 at Conception. Before that took place I had dinner with a honeymoon couple training from San Jose to LA, cruising the Mexican Rivera and flying home along with a young man who was on a return leg of a round trip to Wisconsin. I had a repeat of last night's dinner and told them about that first train trip I ever took and we all had a good laugh about it. After we had reached Santa Barbara, I watched "Domestic Disturbance" which killed time to Camarillo where we met Surfliner 783. My sleeping car attendant Gary White did an excellent job on this trip. From Camarillo to Los Angeles I sat in my darkened room listening to "Out of the Blue" by the Electric Light Orchestra. What a way to finish a great trip on the Coast Starlight. We arrived at 9:35 PM, a little over thirty minutes late but I did not care as I cut down my time waiting for my Surfliner home to Santa Ana.

Surfliner 794 4/6/2002

The conductor off of 794 upgraded me to Business Class when he saw me walking from the Starlight's sleeping car. Due to major problems on the railroad today, I had Ron Houston as my conductor with his wonderful announcements. We left on time and made a quick and uneventful trip to Santa Ana where my mother was there to pick me up and take me back home ending a most wonderful and restful Amtrak trip.