Time stands still as I sit on the motionless train awaiting the news that we’re able to push forward again. I stare at the tumultuous sea and gray sky on this blustery winter day and wonder how long it will take to remove the fallen tree from the tracks.
The announcement broke the silence, crackling through the speakers, “The track crew is just ahead and will be inspecting the rails all the way down the coast to make sure it’s safe to continue.”
Safe to continue! I thought. What? Are we on a wagon train in Indian territory? Is Fess Parker our scout? Awesome!
I find it interesting that rails in Europe travel smoothly at the speed of light and actually arrive at their destination on time. Yet, in the U.S we still hear the clickity, click of the tracks and can’t pull off a six hour trip, that takes four in a car.
Not even an hour into our trek, we’re already running thirty minutes late. No wonder the freeways are packed and public transportation is losing it’s foothold in America.
At least I brought food! Hard boiled eggs, dates, fruit, nuts, muffins and of course chocolate. I don’t go anywhere without chocolate. My daughter had taken me to the train and as I boarded she’d winked and said, “At least I know you won’t starve to death.” I think she was mocking me!
As the man behind me hums Christmas Carols, it occurred to me that maybe I should have flown. I don’t even think it’s legal to sing Christmas Carols in February.
Flying would have been another option, but the reliability of the airplane taking off on time is quite slim in inclement weather! Drizzling is inclement weather in California. I can’t believe no one has ever called Chicago to see how it’s done!
On rainy days, our whopping three destinations of L.A, San Francisco and Phoenix typically won’t allow us to land on their wet runways. Real size planes take first priority and since our local planes are toy-size, there is the strong possibility the plane won’t even take off at all! I’m not saying small town living doesn’t have it’s charm, flying out of it just isn’t one of them.
We have numerous delights that you can’t find in the big city. Green rolling hills, majestic ocean breezes, people wearing sweats and Uggs in the market, clean air and praise God, if you drive at top speed and don’t get a ticket, you can make it to the closest Nordstrom’s in a little over an hour.
I’ve travelled Amtrak a couple of dozen times, business class, and learned only today that there is a foot rest that comes out from under the seat to prop up your legs. This alone makes the trip worthwhile.
We just got word over the intercom that our official speed is now, CRAWLING! They are watching for mud on the tracks. I’m waiting for them to ask the passengers to walk along side the train with flashlights and picks. Fortunately, I’m wearing rain boots.
We are now completely stopped, my seat neighbor has started humming an upbeat, nasally marching chant, mimicking every instrument in the band. Very impressive!
I close my eyes and smile. At least we’re still going in the right direction and I have plenty of food.