Saturday, September 2, 2017

Taking the Train to Iowa – All Aboard the California Zephyr! Dispatch #5

After filling out the accident form and sitting for a while with ice on my knee and my elbow, I felt well enough to explore the California Zephyr. My seat was on the top level, which meant climbing up a very narrow set of stairs that curved around tightly. However, the upper level of the car was just as roomy as the Lakeshore Limited, the controls for the seat back and the footrest were different, but I figured them out. 
I walked back to the Observation Car, and it was awash in bright sunlight. The walls and ceiling of the car were all window. Down a set of those same kind of stairs was a snack car, and I indulged in a coffee and a bag of trail mix. I took it back up to the observation car and settled down at a table. My trip was going to be short in relation to the route of the train, and I thought that once the train got further west it might be a little more difficult to find a seat in the car. But this early in the trip I had plenty of room to enjoy my snack and the sunlight.

It was obvious that the Zephyr has not been updated in quite some time, and, as in the Lakeshore Limited, the place where it shows is in the bathrooms. All bathrooms are on the lower level, and, at least on the car I was on, they are clustered in the front of the car, along a passageway that was barely wide enough to open the door. Inside, they were tinier than an airplane bathroom. Part of the welcoming announcement when I first boarded was a rather lengthy reminder to everyone to be considerate of others and keep the bathrooms clean. They probably get dirty a lot faster than the ones on the Lakeshore Limited since they are so small.
It was only a few hours later we crossed the Mississippi into Iowa, and shortly thereafter arrived at my destination, Mount Pleasant. The train station there was an old fashioned one-room structure with wooden bench seating.But I never had to sit down because family was waiting for me, and that is what the train ride was really all about. 
Next week, I get to do it all again, in reverse.

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