Amtrak Cross Country

Part 1 Observation car, Views from our roomette,
Sierras near Truckee, Train curves along Truckee River,
Winnemucca sunset, Dramatic rock in Utah badlands
Part 2 Continue Utah and dramatic rock formations,
Glenwood Hot Springs resort in Colorado Rockies,
Beginning of beautiful Colorado River and Valley.
Part 3 Scenic Colorado River Valley, Rafters,
Broad colorful valley into Fraser-Winter Park,
Farms and rolling hills in Iowa.

 

Cross Country by Amtrak
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Cross Country by Amtrak
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Sacramento to Chicago on Amtrak
The California Zephr, Part 1 of 3

Observation car, Views from our roomette,
Sierras near Truckee, Train curves along Truckee River,
Winnemucca sunset, Dramatic rock in Utah badlands

April 9-11, 2012

Posted June 19, 2012,  2012 Herbert E. Lindberg

In 2008, Mary and I went on a wonderful river cruise up the Danube through Hungary, Austria, Germany and so on.  We enjoyed the cruise immensely, and also the business-class flight across the ocean.  However, even though business class, the flight home was extremely tiring because of all the security check-in nonsense and the cramped conditions of flying in a pressurized tube. As we sat waiting for our final flight from the East Coast to Sacramento we swore to each other that we would never again take a trip that included long distance airplane flights.

This spring we decided to put our vow to test by traveling across the country on Amtrak.  Our primary objective was to visit the South, specifically Charleston and Savannah.  These first three photo pages describe the first leg of our rail trip, three days from Sacramento to Chicago.  The pages are not set out by days because sights interesting enough to photograph are uneven across the nation.  I set out our itinerary and plans for the entire trip more than a month in advance.

The maps below are sliced from the official Amtrak U.S. Map.  The 3-day trip covered in these pages extends over the Western Third and Middle Third sub-maps obtained by clicking on the thumbnail versions below, which will open the large versions in separate tabs.  Photos on this Part 1 page were taken between Sacramento where we boarded to the badlands between Green River, UT and Grand Junction, CO, all on the Western Third map. Open this map now in a separate tab, which you can use to follow along with the captions.

 

Western Third

Middle Third

Eastern Third

East Coast (full-size is right reading)


Mary sits at a table in the observation car as we go through the Sierra Mountains approaching Truckee.
 (between Auburn and Reno on the map.)

 

Back in our roomette Mary looks out at snow-covered mountains.


Mary's view out the window.


Herb sees them in the forward direction.


Herb propped up in the corner of the roomette, looking at Mary and the window next to her.


Outskirts of Truckee.  The train gives interesting views of the back streets and back yards of towns. Auburn was interesting.


We are just past Truckee approaching Reno, probably along the Truckee River.  That's the front of our train on the left.


The sun set as we neared Winnemucca, NV.  Not colorful, but dramatic with crisp mountains and tumbleweed foreground.

As it got dark we asked our porter to set up our beds for us in the roomette.  The seats slide toward each other on tracks to form a one-person bed 6 feet 4 inches long.  Then a platform rotates down from above the windows to form an upper bunk 6 feet long and just barely wide enough for one person who doesn't move.  I couldn't fit into this bed so lucky Mary was elected for this spot.  It was tricky for Mary at 82 years to climb up and down from the bed, but over three days she got the hang of it.  Not so easy was taking a shower in one of the two showers for the 10 roomettes in the car.  I managed to get up at 3 a.m. to take one shower during the trip.  Mary stayed dry.  More fundamentally, once a person is in the upper bunk there's nothing more to see outside -- no window.  Next time we'll spend the money for a full bedroom with a wide bed for two, a sink, and a shower.


Next morning, Tuesday April 10, just past Green River, Utah at 8:16 am MT (Mountain Time).
I'm in the observation car facing out the left side of the train as you look forward.
Our roomette, #9, faces right, which may be why it was the last to be reserved.


8:23 am MT


Miner's (?) shack; 9:14 am MT


Is this what they call the badlands?  9:19 am MT


Dramatic display of sedimentary rock layers.  9:25 am MT
The gently curved bands in the sky are reflections of the observation car windows, not rain.

 
Part 1 Observation car, Views from our roomette,
Sierras near Truckee, Train curves along Truckee River,
Winnemucca sunset, Dramatic rock in Utah badlands
Part 2 Continue Utah and dramatic rock formations,
Glenwood Hot Springs resort in Colorado Rockies,
Beginning of beautiful Colorado River and Valley.
Part 3 Scenic Colorado River Valley, Rafters,
Broad colorful valley into Fraser-Winter Park,
Farms and rolling hills in Iowa.

Continue to Part 2   |   Home Page