[Sca-cooks] Take the Train, was OOP Bananas

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 19 07:32:53 PDT 2008

Simon Sinneghe wrote:
>Just for the sake of completeness, the California Zephyr travelled
>over the Western Pacific and Burlington.  You were thinking of the
>Chief and Super Chief on the AT & SF maybe?

When i was a kid in the 50s and early 60s my family took the AT&SF 
Super Chief from Chicago to Los Angeles. Both my parents disliked 
flying - mostly from fear - when you don't understand how something 
that big and heavy can defy gravity... So they rarely flew.

I have powerful memories of several train trips, one of getting 
caught in a great snowstorm in Kansas that stopped the train for 
quite hours until the tracks were cleared, another of the sun rising 
over the red rocks of northern New Mexico.

My family got a stateroom, and we read books, played games, and 
watched the scenery - no tvs, no videos, no computers, no iPods - we 
were present, aware of our surroundings, and actually interacting 
with each other, not abstracted by electronics. I have always found 
looking at the changing landscape of the US fascinating and wonderful 
- one reason i enjoyed driving to and from Pennsic last year.

There were freshly-cooked sit-down meals with white table clothes, 
and china plates and heavy tableware, and a little glass vase in a 
strange springy holder (so it couldn't fall over), with a fresh 
flower. Not the fast food of today served carry-out style :-(

My daughter heard me talk about my childhood cross country train 
trips, and wanted to take the train. So we took the train from 
Emeryville (a few blocks from the Berkeley city limits) to San Diego 
to visit my parents. The train had only some big corp. fast food, and 
was showing "Maverick", so i guess it was 1994, when she was 13.

However we didn't make it all the way.

Somewhere in the San Fernando Valley, almost in LA but still several 
hours from Sandy Eggo, some yahoo intentionally parked a large 
American van on the tracks in a sound-walled area, at one end of a 
curve, and not near a RR crossing, so it was not visible to the train 
driver. The train came around the curve, and although he braked 
furiously, we smacked into the abandoned van. No one on the train was 
hurt, and there was no one in the van, but it took hours to make sure 
that no one had been hurt, that the tracks were not damaged, and that 
the train was not damaged. I don't remember all the details, but 
IIRC, we were eventually bussed to Union Station in LA, where we were 
put on another bus to the station in northern San Diego County, 
arriving many hours late.

Anyway, taking the train to Pennsic sounds not bad, especially since 
the airlines are raising prices and cutting back services. Huette's 
mention of how much stuff one can take on a train is heartening. 
Plus, on the way to Pennsic, one has time to hand finish garb or 
weave trim :-)
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

My LibraryThing

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