This morning our group got on the buses and made our way up and over Echo Summit. Of course chains were required, but the road was good and traffic was light. We made our way down the hill, got the chains off at Twin Bridges and cruised easily on US-50 to the train station downtown. I gathered my things and Marie and Chico the Dog were waiting. He started to bark his fool head off when he first saw me coming out of the station. One of my fellow passengers commented positively after watching the dog all happy faced to see me. We stopped to eat, we came home and I took a long nap. Finally, I was home.
This was my first real Amtrak train ride. I enjoyed my trip both ways, though if I ever did this again I would pack my Yeti full of ice, food and drinks instead of eating on the train. About the only improvement would be to offer WiFi from the train. British Rail teams with Virgin to offer WiFi on their trains. There were a number of dead spots during the trip, making streaming music a partial reality. All in all, an excellent adventure.
The MontBleu in Tahoe has nice rooms. I know this because I’m in one. Right when the road reopened, two big rigs tangled on Echo Summit and the road was immediately closed. Passengers were becoming concerned that our safety was in jeopardy as the sun was setting and the snow falling harder. Finally the word came that we were staying. Our driver bulldogged a 2 point turn and eventually we arrived at MontBleu. As we were getting off the bus, our driver told us that the road reopened. By this time it was too late and within 90 minutes I was safely ensconced in a nice room at MontBleu, a full cuppa in hand. Marie told me that the huge storm should be tapering off by tomorrow. This excursion has been delayed twice now. Last Thursday I had planned on having Big James take me to Denver, I’d catch the Friday morning train and be home Saturday. I-25 was so icy Thursday we didn’t even make an attempt. Between sold out trains and the Raiders playoff game, I ended up getting on yesterday’s train out of Denver and you know the rest.
In the 4.5 hours since we all got on the buses in Reno, we are as far as Myers, in Tahoe. It appears that US-50 is open in between the avalanche control activity. We are in line just waiting. Amtrak is overseeing our trip, they’ve ordered our drivers to wait in the snow until the road opens. We were allowed a half hour at Harvey’s in Tahoe to pee and get a snack, thanks to our drivers pestering Amtrak for permission to stop. Some of my fellow travelers are unhappy that we aren’t getting rooms at Amtrak’s cost. I just want to go home
I slept a bit, waking up about 0700. The snack car filled my metal coffee mug, which was nice. Food on the train is expensive, if I do this again I’ll bring my Yeti bag full of goodies. My train is terminating at Reno as mudslides have blocked the tracks. Amtrak is going to bus us to our stops, mine being Sacramento. I-80 is closed as well, we are going to have to take US-50 over the mountains. Marie texted me that US-50 is intermittently closed for avalanche control. It is going to be a long day.
The Pineapple Express is alive and well in Colorado today. The weather forecast was for snow, but it is warm enough for rain.
The train more follows the Colorado River than I-70 does. Here’s 2 shots of the river alongside the tracks
We crossed the Rockies through the 10 minute tunnel and are now on the west side of the mountains. The snow is noticeably deeper now, and last night’s weather said snow along the I-70 corridor today. It is gloomy outside, no sign of Mr. Sun.
Big James delivered me to Denver yesterday and I managed to be first in line at the coach check in. I got a window seat and once situated, I got a bite to eat in the snack car. Upon returning to my seat, I discovered a seatmate sitting next to me. She’s going as far