By the way, typing on a train in an experience. With the shaking and rolling, it's sort of a game never knowing exactly over which keys your fingers will land. It's not bad, mind you, just sort of an adventure. And at least I know have an excuse for typos.
Just a minor report. We left Los Angeles last night at 6 PM and are now in New Mexico. This is the view from my roomette window when I got up this morning --
Best was last night when I went to bed. You barreling through the desert, and the sky is covered with stars, so I left my curtains open and just watched it all as I lay there. (Even the elves taking care of the homestead where a bit jealous, and that takes a lot.)
The roomette itself is pretty small, though very comfortable. (Larger rooms are available.) There's an upper and lower berth, both tucked away, and the porter sets them up each day, though you can do it yourself. The opposite seats are both comfortable and can roll out to recline at a pretty good angle. They're close enough that you can stretch out and rest your feet on the one across the way. A fold-out table in the center, AC/DC plug, and a bunch of light switches, though you can't get things all that bright.
Try as I might, I couldn't take a good picture of the roomette, so this will have to do.
Happily, there's even a shower on board. The room for it is small, so changing getting dressed is somewhat tight, but it's just nice having it there at all. One fun fact: despite the knob saying "Cold" and "Warm", the concept of "Warm" hasn't apparently hit the Southwest Chief. Hopefully that will be better tonight.
They just came through with the call for lunch reservations. (All three meals are included with a roomette.) The food last night was fine -- the crabcake was quite tasty, though they had a little trouble with getting the temperature right on the steak. I ended up being fine with well-done over red rare. And the desert was delicious. Dining on a train is a joy, though I'm looking more forward to lunch since half the fun is eating as you watch the countryside zip by. (I got that at breakfast, though we were stopped for much of it, which kind of defeats the purpose. Bad timing on my part.) Eating in the dark at night hardly has the same impact.
It's communal dining, so they stick people together at tables unless you're a group of four. That's a toss of the dice, but I lucked out last night with a nice group of three older folks who were headed for Kansas City. A nice group but even they admitted they were a bit odd. As the guy said, "This is my current wife -- and the lady sitting next to you is my second wife. And it's a bit more offbeat -- usually they travel together, and I stay at home. I've done my traveling, and don't like to that much anymore. But I hadn't taken a train and decided to go along." It got funnier when they added that there is a first wife, too, who the two subsequent wives often travel with, but she couldn't make this trip. Hey, I said, as long as it works for you all. And it does, they said they all like each other.
There's a very nice porter taking care of the car. He's been with Amtrak for 17 years, and loves it. We talked for a while and he spoke about how meaningful the job is to him, not just helping the passengers, but getting to some of them them well who take the trip a lot. Even having stayed with some of them in their homes. "Management look at this as doing the job properly," he said, "but to me it's very personal."
Anyway, I'm glad to see that the automatic scheduling seemed to work perfectly, so even if I don't check in as regularly, those will keep getting posted.