Thursday, November 4, 2010

All Aboard!

On Saturday morning I was so excited to get on the train! Mom took me to the station in Davis to meet up with my grandmother, my traveling companion, and we set off! It will be my first time sleeping on a train and traveling on one for more than 3 hours!

We'll be traveling for two weeks, looking at some of the most famous sights in American history. I am probably most excited for John Adam's house, Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's house, Mt. Vernon, Independence Hall, and the Smithsonian Museums. You can read all about everything we see here on this amazing blog. We will be documenting all of the important places we visit, and the times in history to which they correspond.

So, I have to be honest about my initial reaction to our sleeping compartment: It was very small. I knew that grandma and I would be getting lots of quality time together on the four-day trip so I went exploring right away. I went into the Dining Car to scope things out. It was pretty cool. In the next car, what they call the observation car, they had swivel seats so I was able to see east or west or north or south with just a swivel. What more could I ask for? The windows allowed you to see through the roof, well almost. Later at lunch I met one of the attendants, Siobhan. She was hilarious and dressed as a devil for Halloween during the whole ride to Chicago! I looked forward to our meals because she always had something to tell me that made me laugh. She also gave me lots of attention and compliments so later when we stopped in Denver, I bought her some hot chicken wings she had mentioned she liked. She went crazy and said, "THANK YOU SO MUCH GIMME A HUG!!!" So we did.

We met a lot of pretty weird and entertaining people on our ride east. Probably the most interesting people we met were a father and daughter team, Richard and Lisa, who were so sarcastic that we had no idea whether to believe them or not. My grandmother asked them if they were really train actors for our entertainment. They weren’t but we still enjoyed their unbelievable and questionable comments throughout dinner. For breakfast we met an interesting Russian guy too, who got out of Russia 20 years ago because he didn't believe in the mandatory military service they have there. Scary! Our porter, Lawrence, was really fun to hang out with, and totally came down to play when he was on a break! When we stopped in Fraser to have a break, we had a snowball fight, in which I totally demolished everyone else who dared challenge my snow-thority. However, the Russian guy won the snowball target contest on his first try. Unfortunately,I was unable to show my skill since the conductor said get onboard or catch the next train leaving tomorrow. There was always something interesting to see outside the train too. I think Colorado was my favorite state for scenery. There were all these red mountains everywhere, and green trees on them. I loved taking pictures, but it was a little tricky as we were moving at such blinding speeds! It is unbelievable how you can tell we are in a totally different part of the continent looking out the window. We saw some elk and deer at one point, but grandma and I got in a big fight trying to decide which state they were in so let's just say it was between Nevada and Illinois. We also saw a super scary old canoe crashed; it was bent around a boulder in the middle of the Colorado River. Wonder what happened to that guy...

When we changed trains in Chicago, we unfortunately had to say goodbye to the awesome Dining Car staff of the California Zephyr, and hello to the angry trolls that ruled the Diner of the Capitol Limited, that’s another story…