Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Trip Home on Amtrak

The return trip to Sacramento was much more pleasant. We arrived at the Sacramento depot yesterday at 4 p.m. after a 16-hour trek across the Utah and Nevada desserts.

Amtrak's train no. 5 departed Salt Lake City at midnight -- Sunday night, Monday morning -- after a 30-minute stop to taker on passengers, fuel and supplies. Dave, our sleeper car attendant, had our beds ready for occupancy as we boarded the train. The nice thing about this trip was that we could go right to bed upon boarding.

I awoke around 6:30 to find the train approaching Winnamucca, our usual halfway destination for when we drive. Deb and I ate breakfast around 7:15 a.m. in the dining car. Train no. 5 had a very pleasant crew. Under the leadership of dining car steward Susan, this crew acted like they loved their jobs. It showed.

My French toast and Deb's pancakes were good -- I really can't say any more about the food. As one writer put it, the food was better than Denny's. They could've served slop and I would've enjoyed the meal on this train. A steward and servers who act like humans covers any imperfections in the food.

The dining car crew acted as they enjoyed their jobs. Our servers -- Carleen and Joyce -- joked with passengers. They engaged you in conversation and asked how the trip was going. A quick "Bye, bye" as passengers passed through the dining car made them feel more like valued guests instead of stowaways.

My son slept in Monday morning. When he came into the dining car, Carleen graciously changed the Tuscan omelet to a plain cheese omelet. Twenty minutes later, Joyce brought him plate set it in front of him with a cheerful, "Alrighty! Enjoy!"

I've been away from a computer with an Internet connection for a few days now. I'll have more about the International Dutch Oven Convention tonight. I should be able to post photographs tonight as well.

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