• NOL - CHI - MTP - SLC, 11/28 - 12/1

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by Ocala Mike
Left New Orleans on Tues., 11/28 on #58, the City of New Orleans. Train had a P42 at the head end, followed by a Transition Sleeper, Diner, Sightseer Lounge, 2 Coaches, and a Sleeper at the rear. We were pretty much on-time all the way in to our reverse move arrival in Chicago on the 29th. I slept comfortably in the front seat of a coach that I had all to myself. Mild and wet in Chicago on Wed., 11/29 (65 degrees).

Laid over until the 1:45 departure of #5, the California Zephyr, for my short trip to Mt. Pleasant, IA to meet up with my wife in Nichols (she had flown on ahead of me to spend extra time with her sister there). Again had a coach seat all to myself, this time near the stairway. Looked for Gil Norman walking his dog near Clarendon Hills, but, alas, it was either too wet out or I was on the wrong side of the train. Got to MTP right on time, and was met by my brother and sister-in-law. Spent a few hours at the Riverside Casino in eastern Iowa playing slot machines (not much luck).

Fast forward 24 hours, and the weather changes drastically to a more winter-like chill. The wife and I board #5 at MTP again on Thurs., 11/30, this time in a bedroom on one of the sleepers (the crappier one of the two, I might add). The consist of #5 was 2 P42's, Baggage, Transition/Crew Sleeper, 2 Sleepers, Diner, Sightseer Lounge, and 2 Coaches. Our attendant, named Ron, was not too big on keeping the coffee pot going, so I snuck into the adjacent sleeper to steal theirs. Also, he got a little short with us when we tried to put the beds up in the morning instead of letting him do it. Other than that, he was good with the suitcases so I tipped him $10 at the end of our journey in SLC. Along the way, we found the food in the diner better than we expected, with the cheesecake being excellent. Unfortunately, the shower in our room leaked pretty badly, so going to the head became kind of an adventure. When we pointed it out to Ron, he let us use the head in the next bedroom which was dry and vacant. Fantastic daytime scenery of course along the Colorado River, and we got some great pix of the Ruby Canyon right around sunset so the bright red walls really show up. We actually pulled into SLC some 45 minutes early, and I had fallen asleep through Provo, so failed to call my son to tell him we were early. Had to wait a few minutes for him to arrive to take us to our hotel.

Spent a couple of great days around Salt Lake City, Park City, and Ogden
sightseeing and visiting. Came home by uneventful airline hops back to New Orleans where I had left my car a week before to start this whole trip. Drove back home to Ocala where we arrived last night with some nice memories and pictures. All in all, a very nice trip, although I can't say that my wife is now an Amtrak devotee!

  by Gilbert B Norman
Had my auto not suffered an $1800 "close encounter of the wrong kind' that morning at the hands of another party (their insurer has contacted me about settling), then I would have been down there to see Mr. Ocala pass 18.34
  by Ocala Mike
Ouch, Gil, that hurts. It was that kind of morning in Chicagoland, I guess; really weird weather for that time of year. Things changed in a hurry after I got out of town, and we managed to dodge everything but some chilly (but seasonable) temps the rest of the way on our trip. Was really cold and windy in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Mon., 12/4.

Ocala Mike