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Last Daze - more missed connections

Thursday I was up around 8, did not shower because it was still freezing and the rest of the day would mostly be spent sitting. The treadmills were replaced by rolling carts and vacuums. For a place where check-in isn't till 4 pm they sure start cleaning early.

Dressed, packed, watched some TV news, went across the street to the main building and checked out. Set up the laptop in the cafeteria but there was a very weak signal, even after moving closer to where others were online. One nice thing about this vacation package is they pick up the rolling suitcase from the room and bring it to the other end of the RR depot. I had my dino knapsack filled with camera, headphones, etc.

At about 11:30, since the GCRR train did not board till 3:15, I took the blue line to the visitors center. I was in search of a small water bottle an sunglasses. The bookstore/gift shop had a small metal mini-bottle in the youth section. The Nice Lady said they sold sunglasses down the way at the bike rental.

Bike rental/cafe had a very small supply of sunglasses, but I found a pair of ugly tortoiseshell polarized ones which can replace the ones in the car, and would be better than nothing for the long bright dome car ride.

On to the main visitor center just in time to see the movie. According to the web site: "Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder, a 20 minute movie that takes viewers on a rim to river and dawn to dusk journey through the park. Movie starts on the hour and half-hour."

People-watched for a while - lots of stretch pants, then blue line to the train depot, way too early. People watching there was Vietnam vets (some kind of convention, they had the same new hats on), the antidote to eye candy. None of them were in combat, which is mostly why they are still alive.

On the train at 3:10, again the outside is dead boring, so they had a guide entertain us with jokes and a buffet. No scones this time, but better stuff - chocolate chip squares, and a variety of those tiny square cake-on-the-inside-icing-on-the-outside things. Really good salami on the veggies and cheese plate. Diet coke. Guide handed out flutes and choice of Martinelli's and sham pain.

She made two toasts, one to "our military" which I ignored and one to "2019 - may all your pains be sham pains".

The sun was brutal, even behind the layer of low clouds, and my SPF was in the other bag. Major annoying sunburn. 

A truly excellent older cowboy with killer guitar and yodeling skills did some Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, etc. standards.

I was full from the train buffet, so skipped the buffet dinner. The shuttle to Flagstaff was due at 7:30, so at 6 I didn't think I would have time anyway.

A small but steady supply of eye candy was available in the lobby.

Shuttle was there on time, but it was a full van, and four people were late. Driver called dispatch, who said the 4 had canceled.

Flagstaff Amtrak, 8:15 pm, sign on the info desk says 8:30 train is late. 4.5 hours late.

I probably should have taken my bags and found a place for dinner. But I waited it out.

Just before midnight the train arrived, and boy was I glad to have upgraded to a sleeper.

For about a minute.

Used the restroom down the hall, passing the previous occupant - a very cute petite blonde in a black silk nightgown.

There isn't enough room in a roomette. Getting undressed was a contortion feat.

Lying on the bed was the wrong move, the top sheet and blanket were so tightly made I had to get up, stand in the 2 inches available between the bed and the door, and pull. Exhausting. Moreso at 7,000 feet. The whole night was a struggle in a too-narrow bed at elevation. The altimeter app on my Pixel 3 said we were still at 5500 feet after 2 hours.

Got some sleep, 6 am was woken up by a LOUD announcement that breakfast was being served at 6:30. The train was still 4+ hours late, but the food service is on its own schedule. So at 7 I got dressed, made a pit stop, and went to the dining room where they sat me at a table with a couple who were finishing eating. I was so very not hungry, ordered scrambled eggs and bacon, and an orange juice. Only managed to finish the eggs and half the bacon. There was a side of ugly roast potato slices and a bread croissant. When she delivered the food and asked if there was anything else, I asked for water. Which never arrived. Instead she parked herself across the aisle and chatted with the couple there. No tip.

Back to the room, it was now made up as a 2-seater, so for the rest of the trip I just sat and enjoyed the view. Windows too dirty for photos, a shame because I would have liked to take some. The camera stayed in the dino bag.

We arrived at LAX around 10:35 am - 2 hours, 35 minutes late. The Coast Starlight had left at 10:10. Most of the stranded passengers were going to Seattle, and the car attendant said we could catch up to that train by going to Barstow and taking the central valley train. But that connection is in Sacramento, I would have to transfer there to a southbound Capitol Corridor train. And looking on the Amtrak site, we were so late that even that connection was gone.

But I knew I could take the Surfliner to Santa Barbara and a Thruway bus to San Jose.

So...to the LAX Amtrak ticket line. 10 minutes for a window to open. Lazy woman sends me to Customer Services on the other end of the lobby. Almost as lazy woman gives me a slip authorizing the re-booking, says if the ticket lady has a problem with the bus connection, have her call a manager.

15 minutes in the ticket line. There are 6 windows, as soon as one opens two more close. Only one open, she closes when I am at the head of the line. Meanwhile I have to use my Theater Voice™ to send some local line skippers to the back of the line. Security everywhere, doing nothing.

As luck would have it, Lazy Woman 1 opens up. Looooooooong story short, she is on the phone with Amtrak Vacations for more than half an hour. When she finally gives me a new ticket, it is 11:40. The train leaves at 11:48. A golf cart arrives at the other end of the lobby just as I get there, takes me to the train, I am the last person to board, sent to the downstairs/handicapped seating on the end car. Fine with me, I didn't have the energy to climb stairs.

The Surfliner has the same great ocean views as the Starlight, but I'm on the other side of the car, and the sun is also on that side. Camera stays inside the bag. But I am wearing the ugly shades.

At Ventura we are sidetracked for 20 minutes, we will not make it to the bus connection in time. Except the thruway buses wait for the connecting trains, so I make it after all. There is no signage on the buses, but a driver standing by the bus asks where I'm going, and it is his bus. Rolling case loaded below, dino comes on board. Plenty of seats.

We make all the stops the train would, half an hour dinner break at a McDonald's in King City. It's a long ride, but no unexpected delays, and freeway most of the way. As we pull into San Jose, the clock on the bus says 23:56. Almost midnight? Feels like it. But my phone says it's 10 pm.

Stumble to the parking lot, my car is there, and not covered in dust.

Home in 20 minutes, Spook is at the carport door when I open it, and I manage to block her exit with the rolling case. She is very vocal, but she retreats to her space under the livingroom plant table.

Over the next hour or so I fire up the PC which immediately starts last Sunday's backup - full, so I'll be leaving it on overnight and most of tomorrow.

Plow through email. Phone interview with Comcast Monday at 9:30, and one at 10 am Tuesday but I can't remember who it's for.

Putting away things little by little. Leaving the bag of worn clothes to be sorted later. The jeans have seen enough action, it will be shorts from now on. House was at 75° when I arrived, one orchid looks fried. The one not in open sun.

Heated up some chicken soup, added matzo balls. Watched some Tivo as I ate =Graham Norton's story telling show (with clips from many very long ago seasons), The Zoo. There is only so much lemur surgery and endangered Chinese box turtle hatchings I can take in one sitting. To be continued. Three scoops of mint chip with Hershey's syrup, whipped cream & sprinkles.

To bed, Spook jumped right up and curled in close enough to be petted. Still vocal.

Woke up around 6, Hgl was >350. Insulin, and mint tea (remnants of dehydration cough). Facebooked, back to bed.

Plans for Saturday:
Finish unpacking
After the backup is done, turn off the PC for a bit, then download from the Nikon
The week's mail should be delivered today

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