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Global Cooling

Up at 6, out of the door by 7, even with no traffic to speak of, Emeryville was a longer drive than I remembered. Got to the Amtrak parking lot to find a fenced in muddy lot. Turned around in the PO parking lot and found Amtrak parking was now in a condo complex's garage a block away, and is no longer free. The sign says $5, but didn't say if that was a flat fee or per day. Either way it's a good deal.

Was at the station by 8:30, decided to check my roller bag and only carry in my dinosaur knapsack & camera. Idiot conductor was assigning seats in numerical order, ignoring requests for window seats. He said he had no idea if the number I got was one. It wasn't. This is a change from the last time I took the Zephyr, used to be each conductor had a seating chart and would take requests if seats were available.

Lucy for me, sort of, is he had assigned a group of 3 to two window seats and an aisle. The man at the window seat was happy to swap with me. But it was the sunny side of the car, so for most of the trip photos were impossible through the glare. And to add insult, after Sacto the seats behind his other two people became vacant, so he took the shady side window seat for the rest of the run.

There was no snow at Colfax, which surprised me, I did finally get some winter wonderland shots as we got near Truckee, but not a lot because of the glare. The train winds back and forth, and goes through tunnels, so timing is everything. The goos news is for the last leg of the trip, the view was on my side, Truckee River and bridges and some of the wooden sluice structures or whatever they are called.

Arrived in Reno a few minutes early, but it took 20 minutes to get my bag and another 10 to get to the head of the elevator line. The station has two elevators and an escalator, but they have the freight elevator and escalator blocked off. Go figure.

I waited at what I thought was the taxi stand as a bunch of people got into what looked like a private vehicle, but it turned out to be the Ramada shuttle. No room for me, though, so I went across the street and got a taxi. It was only $7, no biggie. when I checked into the hotel the shuttle driver asked if I'd gotten the next one, she had seen me waiting. Very friendly staff.

Up to the room, the 6 am wakeup and staying up for the whole trip took its toll, so I took a nap. slept till 7.

Went downstairs to the hotel restaurant, and had a delicious beef veggie soup and a really nice piece of prime rib. They were kind enough to leave off the asparagus. Garlic mini potatoes were not very garlic-y, but okay. The chocolate cake was rich and fresh from the fridge. Yummy.

I've been reading from the Harry Harrison megapack, finished a stainless steel rat episode and started on something else. It's a hodgepodge in no particular order. Took the Nexus to the room, then went back downstairs and got the free goodies pack, which turned out to be two $1 coupons for $5 minimum table games, a free drink at the casino bar, a free bottle of water there, a free soda at the casino diner and $1 off on a meal there. Just to see what happened I put $20 in a poker machine and kept betting 5 quarters at a time. After maybe 10 minutes I hit a full house, and got 100 quarters back. Cashed that in, got a roll of quarters as part of that because I'd been meaning to buy one last week, my stash in the car is running low. Was glad to be out of there, too many smokers. I know they have some smoke abatement in place, but it's not enough for me.

Plan A was to take the shuttle into town at 11:30 to be part of the street party and see the fireworks, but that was before the temps dropped to a wind chill factor of 0 degrees F. I have a view of downtown from my room, but it's probably too far away to see much. Decisions, decisions.

Plans for tomorrow:
Visit the El Dorado ice cream parlor
Go to the cinema and see The Movie
Maybe meet up with Automation Guy & his wife & kid at Circus Circus
Find a good buffet or steak house
Pack

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