Updated: Mar 23, 2021
As I sit here typing away, I no longer have the luxury of contemplating the use of the onboard toilets like I did on our coach journey from San Francisco to Santa Monica. We are currently 18 hours into our 31 hour train journey so I have no choice in that matter. Thankfully the loos aren’t too bad on board so it’s not much of an issue. However, they are downstairs. That’s right – we are upstairs on a train. This might not be unusual to some, but it is for us. We boarded the train last night at 10pm. It’s a huge double-decker Amtrak train. I’ve never seen anything like it. Our seats are pretty good, upstairs and spacious. Not too far away from the dining car, or the observation car, where I’m sitting right now. (Well, by the time you read this I won’t be on the train anymore because even though there is WiFi onboard, it’s not working.)We have lots of leg room and the seats recline. The table pulls forward and there are two foot rests. Technically I suppose one is a leg rest. It’s pretty much a recliner.
Because we got on the train at 10pm, it was straight to sleep for us. Or that was the theory. Between trying and failing to get comfortable, and the woman who was sitting opposite us yapping away to the man she was sitting with, it was almost impossible. Which made it a really long night. I also really didn’t appreciate the flood lights that lit up the train when we pulled into one stop.
Thankfully, the yapping woman’s friend got off at Palm Springs. Safe to say we were pleased when sun rise came. We headed down to the observation car, and watched it rise over the mountains. This might be a long train journey but we’ve seen a lot of the country. We’ve come from L.A to Palm Springs. From there I have no idea where we were stopping in the night. Since then we’ve had a couple of stops in Arizona, New Mexico and now we’re in Texas which is our destination. However we won’t reach San Antonio until 5am. It’s a bit strange because once we hit the mountains, we went forward an hour. Now I’m not entirely sure if we’re still an hour ahead but no one has told us any different.
We haven’t quite been through the desert, but we have been coming through some really arid, dry, sandy areas with lots of cacti and bushels.
Every so often we come through a really strange-looking little town that wouldn’t be lost in a horror movie, and some of them look like they’ve come straight out of a western. Some of them are made up of actual brick buildings, but we’ve seen more little wooden shacks and trailers. We’ve also gone along side the Mexican border, which was interesting.
There are lots of interesting people on the train. We met a nice couple while having breakfast who actually knew about England. Not just London, but places like York. So far we’ve met people who have asked about London. The lady that talked too much in the night also eats a lot, and makes a lot of phone calls. There’s a really tall cowboy somewhere. He looks like he’s too tall for the train. There is such a mix of characters, you could probably use the train as inspiration for characters in a story or a film.
What can we say about California? Well, I’ve actually already written a bit about San Francisco , and from there we went to L.A. We stayed in Santa Monica for a couple of nights where we did the pier and the beach, then went and stayed in the spare room of a really lovely couple a bit closer to Hollywood. From there we moved a couple of streets over into an apartment. These places were courtesy of Air BnB. We had a great time, really. It was amazing. My highlight was Universal Studios, although Griffith observatory is a must. I don’t want to give too much away about what we did there though, as with my previous blog I only want to give a rough outline of what’s going on.
I’ve actually been to L.A twice, and I must say it’s changed a lot in the 10 years since I was here the last time. Some of it for the better, some of it not so much. There is hardly any sign of the glamour that was once the golden era of Hollywood. We really enjoyed it though. I think we’re ready to move on and see some more of this gigantic country. I still can’t get my head around the vastness of it.
Back off to my seat now, it’s getting really warm in here. Plus I’m hungry. Here’s hoping for a better sleep tonight!