Thursday, January 12, 2006
Lookit! Part 1
The Reno Fun Train chugged across the Eastern Sierra desert...
...along the Truckee River...
...on its way back to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Amtrak has daily service from San Francisco to Reno and back, but its schedule is completely unreliable.
Part of the reason is that the train going west starts in Chicago, so its arrival in Reno during the winter is often not just a few hours late but occasionally twelve hours or two days.
In that case, Amtrak sticks their passengers on ugly buses and takes them to Sacramento, which is sort of missing the point of taking the train in the first place.
So I cannot recommend the "Reno Fun Train" on the weekends or the "Snow Train" during the weekdays any higher (click here to get to Key Holidays, a family outfit that puts these trips together).
It's not only inexpensive, but their brochures actually say "No Buses!"
The specially chartered train, with its private cars, only runs for about three months during the winter.
I've taken the trip twice before over the last ten years, and on the last trip there was an old woman who was overwhelmed by the beauty of the scenery who amused the heck out of us.
I don't know if she was senile, or had always been somewhat simple, but her enthusiasm was that of a five-year-old.
Every time she saw a beautiful bit of scenery...
...and there was plenty of it...
...she would yell excitedly to her friends, "Lookit, lookit, lookit!"
I was with my loving Domestic Partner, along with my friends Joshua and Markus, and we must have heard "lookit" close to 200 hundred times.
Ten years later, the phrase is still an inside joke for all four of us...
...partly because I still can't think of a better way to express enthusiasm for a beautiful sight.
It's certainly better than listening to "docents" reading sonorously from scripts over the PA system about the history of the Donner Pass...
...which was what was inflicted upon us this year during the crossing of the Sierras.