Got up at 6 am Sunday expecting to take till 8 to get out of the house. Threw some extra kibble into Spot's dish (to add to the programmed drops). But I was out at 7, walking to light rail the train was at and out of the station while I was 2 blocks away. No problemo, I was way early, another train in half an hour.
But the reader board said it was 8:25, and kept changing between the next train being in 45 minutes and 26 minutes. Not a good look for VTA.
Next train did show up in 26, long boring ride on a cloudy dark Sunday morning to the all-trains station at Diridon. Walked the whole width of the station, bought a diet coke and a bag of potato chips for breakfast, sat in the waiting room and finished the chips, but the coke lasted me much of the train ride.
Coast Starlight was a couple of minutes late, which is pretty good for a ride coming from Seattle.
My roomette was way at the front, which meant a 5-minute winding walk to the dining and lounge cars.
Dirty windows in the roomette and dirty highly reflective windows in the "lounge" car did not make for good photography. You would think they would fix the observation car windows after 30 years. They have stopped calling it the observation car and it is now intended for people using the snack bar down below it.
No parlor car anymore. Business class instead. Parlor car was mostly useless anyway, except it had the wifi router. Now the train has free but password required wifi which works well except in the deadlands by Vandenberg AFB.
Winter sunset was way before we got near the ocean, so nothing to see at all for the last 5 hours.
Lunch was with a mechanical engineer and a couple from OSU baseball. Dinner was with the same engineer, a young wife whose husband was away for work and kids staying with grandparents. And a Canadian guy who looked 18 but said he was 30, whose wallet was stolen in Oakland. No details. Our own undocumented alien. He thinks he can make a living selling photos of people on the beach in LA. Good luck with that.
The two women sharing the room across the hall kept the door open and the curtains closed, and yapped on the phone much of the trip in German. Annoying. One guy up two rooms kept his door open as he made marketing calls.
No ice. No apple juice, just orange. They used to have those available in the corner of the roomette area.
At SLO they also announced dinner would be early because we expected to be way early into LA. But gthat was a crock because even if we got in an hour early, that wouldbe 8 pm, plenty of tme for the crew to clean ujp after a 7 pm dinner.
We were in SLO a long time, I did not have a schedule but I don't think we arrived early. A few minutes out of SLO we stopped for a mechanical issue, and it was slow all the way to Santa Barbara. From there it was slow until they announced there was a problem with the way the signals were programmed, slowing and stopping them for no reason. They were contacting the UP dispatcher about that. Soon after that we were sidetracked for about 15 minutes waiting for a northbound train.
So much for the excuses for an early dinner. I was in the last feeding, 5:30 pm.
Lunch was a burger, dinner was a small but excellent steak and a delicious crab cake. No dessert because no ice cream and nothing on the menu appealed to me. Lunch time I tried the chocolate "pudding" but it was actually a very dense cake-like object which did not survive being frozen.
Arrived half an hour early at LA, long long walk to the front doors, where two policemen looked at my Google map and showed me where my hotel was IRL. A yellow vest had pointed me in the opposite direction. 5 minute walk past a lot of homeless people and through a cloud of marijuana smoke to the hotel. No problem checking in.
Good wifi. No power outlets. Had to move the night stand to plug in the phone & tablet. Soda machine out of order, down one floor bought two diet cokes, but the machine was stocked with caffeine free despite the caffeinated label on the machine.
I was actually able to stream on twitch for an hour.
Plans for Monday:
hotel free breakfast
hang around Union Station till my3 pm train