Most of my camping gear is stacked in the attic in St Paul. It took quite a bit to sort it all out, and pack it away in a little nook where it will be for at least the next 18 months.... when I hope to be returning.
Finally we bade our teary farewells as I boarded the Empire Builder for Chicago. It was a long lay-over in Chicago before I was able to board the Californian Zephyr to Emmeryville. Without having booked, I went straight to the hostel where I had stayed on my trip from Los Angeles, all those months ago. (The quoted price is $30 per night, of which the free hostel booking agency keeps 10%. On my first visit the receptionist had told me that if I did not book, and just came in, I could have a bed for $27. So much for free booking agencies!)
[That evening I had a wonderful time, just as I had in so many places, I visited a Toastmasters Club. I must have visited some two dozen (or more) Toastmasters Clubs this trip.... from Key West to Fairbanks.]
I boarded the Californian Zephyr with great anticipation. I was so looking forward to going through the Rockies, especially Glenwood Canyon. I had driven it in 2001 and was longing to see it from the other side, from the train.
The train was not very full, and the trip was most comfortable. I slept well both nights, as I had two seats to myself all the way. During the day I spent most of my time in the lounge and dining cars, and met the most wonderful folk. It was just such an enjoyable trip.... i.e. until we got to Denver.
At Denver we were stationary for quite a long time. Soon the reason became clear, there was a derailment up ahead, and since it was going to take three days to clear the track..................... we were re-routed through southern Wyoming to pick up the original track again at Salt Lake City.
It is not as if I can take this train again, next week, or month, or whatever, and am indescribably disappointed at not having gone through Glenwood Canyon. In Salt Lake City we had five or six hours, and were encouraged to go into town. Many did. I chose to stay in the train. Here I was able to pick up my email, and check a few things (such as RTA), since SLC provides free wifi throughout the city.
I really should not denegrade the trip through Wyoming, which runs parralel with I-80 for most of the way, and was very scenic with light snow covering the countryside. We also saw some wildlife and domestic farm animals.
But it was not Glenwood Canyon!
In Emmeryville I had a lovely lady from Couchsurfing greet me at the train and offer me accommodation for the two nights. Next day I went down to wherever it was to pick up a car from Budget. Heading north on 880, back to Berkeley (where I was staying), I still have no idea how I ended up on the Bay Bridge and was forced to go all the way to Treasure Island before I could get off and turn back. But then, I guess if CalOldBlue can get lost in SF with a GPS, I am in good company.... and I did not even need a GPS to help me. I managed to get onto the wrong road, all on my own.