We met some nice people, one horribly rude person, at least one person with NO sense of humor, and amused our selves by tweeting @Amtrak_CA while traveling by rail. We saw parts of three states we might not have seen otherwise. I was so entertained by watching the scenery glide by that little knitting got done. Well… that and, you’ll see…
|Eustice at Union Station in Downtown LA|
Princess Charming (a.k.a. my sister-in-law) drove us to Union Station… and thinking that we were very clever we used Google Navigator in our fancy new Android phone! And do you know that it doesn’t know the difference between the Union Rescue Mission aka Skid Row and Union Station? I didn’t either! So that was an interesting little, ahem, side trip.
We get there, negotiate the issues of parking of car (far away, up a hill thankyouverymuch) and bringing in baggage (drop off Eustice, myself and luggage while they go park car providing this great photo op time). And then we go inside to check our big bag. As we get to the front of the very short line Our Prince Charming realizes that he has left his wallet, containing his ID, on his dresser. Which is at home. Our train is leaving in 20 minutes. My first thought is that maybe we can take a later train after we go back home, get them, skip going to Skid Row a second time and come back to the train station.
Bless the sweet woman behind the counter and the fates that guided us to her! She notices that Our Prince’s backpack is desert camo and embroidered with the U.S. Army Reserve logo. She asks if he’s in the Reserves. Yes. Does he have his dog tags? OMG YES! In the backpack! Between my military ID showing I’m his spouse and his dog tags she checks us in! I later gleefully tweet about it with #fuckthetsa. I sure love me someone that can use common sense!
Still, we will need his wallet once we get to Washington. I shove a fistfull of twenty dollar bills at Princess Charming who keeps assuring us that it’s NO PROBLEM to go back to our place, get the wallet and fed-ex it to the friends we will be staying with. She walks out with us right to the train (did I mention I hate the TSA because they’re stupid?), because she wants to see the train more of the station, which has been refurbished nicely, and also see the train. It’s kinda fun.
|Eustice gets settled in.|
We upgraded from coach seats to a Roomette the larger accommodations are even nicer, and I dearly would have loved the ability to lay down AND look out the window, but this worked out.
|Eustice tries out my seat.|
Look at the above photo and towards the left you can see the Los Angeles River. The tracks run parallel to the river through many areas and I saw so many things that I wish I could have captured with the camera. Most of them had to do with people who are making their homes (illegally) along the river. One image that has stayed with me was a man washing up standing on an island of debris in the middle of the river. He had shorts on, and what appeared to be bottles of shampoo and soap with him.
|Eustice helps me eat my brie and fruit filled salad.|
|Helping save my Prince from the evils of potato crisps.|
We had our lunch in the parlor car, a great perk of having sleeping accommodations… In the meantime The Princess had taken care of shipping off the wallet. She called to tell me that it would get to our friends house almost a day before we do.
Lunch was wonderful. The menu in the parlor car is limited but fancy and delicious!
And then we went back to our private little room and watched Southern California go by…
|Cows running away from the train, you’d think they’d be used to it. But Eustice says cows are dumb.|
|A hawk or possibly a turkey vulture, I’m not sure. We saw a lot of wildlife and at one point I was positive I saw a mountain lion laying down in the scrub grass.|
The person tweeting for Amtrak_CA recommended we check out the wine and cheese tasting so when they announced it we made our way back to the parlor car and made our first new friends.
Hazel and her daughter (I wish I could remember her name, Mary?) who were taking a train trip across most of the country on their way to a big family reunion/pow wow. When the daughter was a teen she was Princess of her tribe (the name of which I have also forgotten, I really must learn to write things down… everything oozes out of my whiffle ball brain).
|Eustice kisses a real (native American) Indian Princess|
About half-way through the second glass of wine we discover that one of the runners up for last year’s asshole of the year competition is also on our train! Lucky us!
As the host is telling us about the wonderful wine we’re drinking this jerk sitting in the booth right next to the host takes a phone call and begins talking loudly. The host, who has a melodious voice, begins to attempt to speak over him. But Mr. Rude just talks louder. Apparently the person sitting next to him doesn’t know him but he’s stood up to let him get up from his chair so he can go take the call down the stairs to a quieter area. But Mr. Rude just ignores all of this. He has important things he needs someone named Stewart to know.
|really good cheese.|
The host gives up talking and simply stands there. I’m fairly sure I saw him roll his eyes. There are at least 20 people all waiting for Mr. Rude to get off the phone. Only he KEEPS TALKING. A few people loudly ask him to take the call out of the room or get off the phone. He keeps telling the person on the phone to tell this and that to Stewart. Eustice tells me to make sure that he also doesn’t forget to tell Stewart that we all love him now. So I yell out “Tell Stewart we love him!” My Prince shakes his head, and someone laughs. And Mr. Rude keeps on talking. When he finally gets off the phone someone loudly says “What a JERK.” And then the host resumes his talk. Best. Host. Ever.
Shortly after this My Prince realizes that he forgot our garment bag. This is where he packed our clothes for the wedding we are making this trip to attend. My Prince goes from relaxed to panic mode in a blink. This activates my fixer super-power (it’s annoying usually, ask anyone that has happened to mentioned a problem near me). I immediately text his sister who calls me back. Mortified that the phone has rung I leap up and try to run to the stairs and am almost thrown to the floor by the lurch of the train (note to self: do not leap anywhere on a moving train).
She and my Mother in Law are getting their hair done. This means that she’s almost an hour from our place. It’s already after 2 pm but she swears it’s NO PROBLEM to go back to our place, shove my dress and most of The Prince’s suit into a small box and have it sent to us before the shipping store closes. This will no doubt cost quite a bit, but is cheaper than having to buy new. See why she’s Princess Charming? Our clothes will also arrive in Washington before us!
And that’s how we started out our trip by forgetting stuff. Next time I’ll tell you about how I managed to spend the rest of this leg of the trip looking like I had a head injury.