After a short, but very restful, night’s sleep in our hotel in Emeryville, we hopped on the California Zephyr the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to roll. This leg of our trip took a full 24-hours. Grand Junction is our next stop. We will be laying over there for a day to visit family.
As we passed through central California, the train filled up with people headed to Reno to visit the casinos. They were a friendly and fun group of people. In the afternoon we started seeing a little bit of snow in some of the ski resort areas which really excited Corbin. Unfortunately his little Texas toes didn’t get to touch any snow because all of the “fresh air stops” were in snowless areas.
We started to experience our first train delays on this leg too. All of the power would periodically go off, and our train would just stop. The conductor never really explained what was happening in depth, but at one point outside of Truckee we were sitting on the tracks in the middle of the woods for over an hour so that some things could be checked out. The attendants were great and did everything they could to assuage the frustrations of the passengers. The problems continued all throughout the night too. At one point we were over three hours late, but the conductor made a little bit of that time up, and we only arrived in Grand Junction about 2 hours behind schedule.
We also experienced our first night of sleeping in the coach seats. I am surprised to report that sleeping in coach was very much more comfortable than I expected. We packed our sleeping bag liners for warmth and compactness, which worked really well. I’m a light sleeper, so I was up off-and-on all night, but I did feel pretty rested in the morning. Honestly, sleeping in coach wasn’t my favorite thing, but on a trip like this, it is really the best option unless you are a Rockefeller. If we were going all the way from Emeryville to Chicago, paying for the sleeping car accommodations would be well worth it. Since we are breaking our time on the California Zephyr in half, we would essentially have to pay double for the sleeper car so it really isn’t feasible.
I was a bit disappointed that we passed over the Great Salt Lake while it was still dark out, but due to the delays, we were able to catch a lovely sunrise over Salt Lake City. We took so many pictures of Utah and Colorado… it was just too much beauty to capture. One of the most shocking things for our Texas brains was seeing all of the frozen rivers!