November 24th, 2015


Pre-travel jitters

Later today I am going on my first-ever overnight train trip.

dimakoi and I are taking a sleeper car from San Jose to Albany, OR. We'll be spending Thanksgiving weekend with her mother and sister.

As I prepare for this trip, I have started realizing how ill-equipped California living has made me for spending time in colder climates (ones that have real seasons). We're expecting weather around 48F (around 4C) during the day and 32F (0C) at night. Silicon Valley, by comparison, is around 72F (22C) during the day and around 59F (15C) at night. We only have two "seasons" -- wet and dry.

I haven't been to a true winter climate in many years. Even New Jersey in November wasn't all that frigid. I am trying to locate the boots, long underwear, and winter gloves I haven't worn in years (in some cases, decades). I've written up my packing list.

I will miss my annual Indian food pilgrimage, but at least we'll be going out for dinner, which means I don't have to eat turkey. (I've already checked the menu of where we'll be eating.) I won't be able to take Lady because Amtrak doesn't allow dogs (sigh), but I'll likely be reinforcing the training of dimakoi's sister's standard poodle (which, thankfully is not named "Peppy"). I especially want lots of layers because I expect to be doing lots of dog walking (something I don't get to do with She Who Does Not Like To Be Walked).

I will also be doing some cooking, much to the relief of dimakoi's sister, who was afraid she'd be spending all weekend cooking for us. I don't usually get to cook for an "audience," so I am very much looking forward to this.

There isn't a lot to do in Lebanon, OR, but I figure I'm fried enough that I won't care.

Now if I could just calm down enough to sleep....

Greetings from the Upper Berth

I am situated in my pull-down upper berth in our sleeper car. It is really tiny and downright cramped in here, but Amtrak has ways of dealing with that kind of thing.

The train is currently in the Emeryville station. dimakoi says it's supposed to have arrived in Emeryville around two hours ago, which means we're two hours behind. I guess that's par for the course.

Next to my bed is a sort of mesh basket-thing that functions as a night table. I have my watch, phone, and iPad in it, and I'll likely put the computer there when I'm ready to sleep.

This is definitely an adventure. They are much more self-service than airplanes, but on the other hand, you don't have the security theatre of the airports and you do have things like a shower and room to walk around.

One of my friends suggested I go to the club car and get something alcoholic to drink, but there's enough movement that I think I'd get really nauseous if I did. I suspect a lower floor room would be more stable, but dimakoi wanted an upper floor room because all of the between-car traveling is done on the upper floor.

I am amazed at how quiet these mini-rooms are, especially considering their (lack of) size. We aren't hearing anyone else in the hall, and hopefully they're not hearing us.

Anyhow, it's about time for me to wind down and sleep. They start serving breakfast at 6:30am(!).
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