Yesterday and today were mainly traveling days. Up refreshed by 7:30am yesterday despite the previous night’s ghostly shenanigans, I worked on LITTLE ROCK for awhile before heading to the Hot Springs Pool for one last dip before skipping town. I had lunch at Polanka, a hole in the wall run by two Polish women. The combo platter (pierogis, kielbasa, stuffed cabbage) and apple blintz for dessert put me right back in the East Village in Manhattan. The train was delayed but it gave me time to explore the small railroad museum at the historic Glennwood Springs, CO train depot. Who should surprise me at the train station but the Warren-Powells who knocked off early from their day of swimming to see me off.
Continuing westward on the California Zephyr, everyone in the observation car and I stood in slackjawed wonder as a bald eagle (my 2nd sighting this trip) flew alongside us just over the Colorado River. What a sendoff. Next we snaked through De Beque Canyon, followed by Ruby Canyon which takes its name from the red sandstone cliffs lining the canyon walls. As the sun set and Ruby Canyon turned black we crossed into Utah. I holed up in my room writing until bedtime.
Up this morning at 6:30am (now Pacific time) to write and we were in the middle of Nevada headed southwest to Reno. After Reno we made our last stop in Nevada, the town of Verdi, site of the first train robbery in the west in 1870.
In California we soon passed Donner Lake, named after the Donner Party, who were stranded during the winter of 1846-47. They resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. Only 48 of the 87 members lived to tell about it.
At midday came Auburn, CA and Sutter’s Mill, the locus of the 1840s gold rush that swept this whole region. They don’t call ’em the San Francisco 49ers for nothing.
The day was spent writing, writing, writing. Got off in Emeryville (San Francisco), CA around 5:30pm, the final stop on the California Zephyr. Touchdown! I’ve come all the way across the country and I’m spending the night with my old friend Nat and his family. We watched his son play a baseball game, had Mexican dinner at Padrecito and called it a night. This wasn’t my first time in Frisco, and it’s a good thing because there’ll be no time for sightseeing or show-going. I must be back on the Zephyr headed eastward at 9:10am tomorrow morning.