Lisa took me into Reno yesterday morning, dropped me at the Amtrak station, and headed home. I went into the station and they told me that Amtrak #5 was on time, and thus I was too late to check my bag. They were wrong. Unfortunately, I couldn't prove it. Not wanting to lug my bag over to the Silver Legacy and back just to get coffee (and in case they were right), I skipped coffee and settled in to wait. Lisa later reported that as she got home, #5 was passing the house, and that's about right, as we left Reno around 45 minutes late. Lisa wanted to tell me that there were some private cars on the tail of the train, but something about Skype wouldn't let her leave me a message. ( Silver Cars Through the Silver State )
As our train headed into the mountains, it started to rain, and rain continued fall heavily most of the trip. There was no snow at Norden on the west side of the summit, but snow was falling on Interstate 80 across the valley, and I saw bulletins of the freeway being closed due to multiple spinouts and accidents. Even after those were cleared, chain controls were in effect. Everything I saw made me really happy to have been on the train today.
I've been making this trip enough times that some of the crew — in this case, the conductor and assistant conductor, plus one of the California State Railroad Museum docents — recognized me. I spent most of the trip as far as Sacramento camped out in the lower level of the lounge chatting with them, except when I went to have lunch.
After Sacramento, the CSRM docents left the train, and I returned to my seat for the remainder of the trip to Emeryville. This is a lot less interesting than the Sierras, but it does have points of interest. Today's trip threatened to become more interesting that we might have wanted, however. ( Troubled Bridge over Deep Waters )
Delays notwithstanding, we got to Emeryville. I had no problem with my luggage, as there had been lots of room on the lower-level luggage racks when I boarded at Reno. Because of the delays, my connecting train following us down from Sacramento wasn't too far behind, and so instead of going over to the Emeryville Public Market in the rain to get dinner, I stayed in the station and waited for my train to Fremont.
Incidentally, if you try to book a seat on the California Zephyr to San José, you'll be shown a very long (about three hour) connection at Emeryville. That's because Amtrak's long-distance connection rules require a two-hour minimum connection time. In fact, there's a train to San José roughly an hour or so behind #5 when it is on time. Because it's an unreserved coach train, you can just board the next train to SJ and show your ticket. Take note of this if you're thinking of coming out to Worldcon 76 San José by train from Chicago. (You can't check your luggage through to SJ, though; you'll have to hump it onto the Capitol Corridor train yourself.)
By the time we got to Fremont, the rain had stopped, which I appreciated because I still had about one km to walk to my mechanic's shop, where the Rolling Stonewas waiting for me.
Once again, it was a mostly routine trip, and much easier than it would have been had I tried to wrestle the RV over Donner Summit. In fact, if I had been driving, I would have had to leave on Saturday to get out ahead of the weather.
BTW, no costumes this Halloween. I couldn't fit anything into my luggage for this trip.