The Zephyr back again: Chicago to SF

Our return trip was that Sunday after AWP, but for some reason I kept thinking it was on Monday and that we had a whole day in Chicago to tool around. But around Friday the words of the guy who checked us in started ringing in my ears, “Four nights,” and I started calculating, “Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday,” and thought, Wait, that’s four! and had a heart attack. But then I checked our train tickets and the dates matched up. Phew!

Our train wasn’t till 2 PM so we had a leisurely morning. I wanted to leave around one, although it’s just a five minute cab ride, to be safe, but then MB got caught up working on something, and we didn’t leave till 1:30, which made me very nervous (though I didn’t nag, yay!), but that actually turned out to be perfect because people were already lining up to board by the time we got there, which meant no sitting around a crowded station.

While our train out was perfectly lovely, this one seemed nicer somehow. Our roomette was slightly roomier, and we had a skinny closet, which made a huge difference. The bathroom was also bigger, with a real faucet instead of one of those deals where you have to keep pushing the lever to make water come out. And there were more deluxe sleeper cars, one grade up from our roomette. The lounge car, however, was much smaller, but if that means a bigger roomette and bathroom, that’s fine by me.

I barely even tried to write on our trip back. More daydreaming! Cool things I saw, in addition to the fantastic scenery: enormous wind turbines, eerie and alien-like; a huge bald eagle flying right by our window (MB missed it); horses rolling around in the dirt, their spindly legs up in the air; a lone doe standing on the snowy mountainside.

Those nights on our trip back, I was able to sleep. I got smart and put in ear plugs, which made all the difference in the world. Why I didn’t do it sooner, I’m not sure.

Our train was hauling ass and by our last day on the train, we were about an hour ahead of schedule. That is till we got right outside Martinez and were held up by a bridge that was apparently letting every boat in the world pass.

While I was ecstatic to be back in California and just an hour from home, I was already missing the spectacular views and those little towns. Of course I couldn’t spend forever on the train, but by the time we pulled into Emeryville, I thought I could, in the near future, definitely get back on.

I did miss my bed though.

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