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AMTRAK Los Angeles to Boston


August 6-10, 2010


             It was a rough five weeks going through a bout of upper right lobe lung infiltration and severe bronchitis as a result of accidentally inhaling a crumb of toast.  The lung is clear now by X-ray but I am still coughing and not fully back to normal.  We celebrated Anabella's 7th birthday with her two weeks early because we will not be there.  On Thursday 8/5/2010, the night before I left, I had the chance to eat a good bunch of US-grown Samsoe potatoes (Samsoe Island, Denmark.)  I first had them in 2003 and in 2009 I brought two bags of them home to see if we could grow them here.  Skye, our handyman, has been growing them for me in his garden.  Believe me they were very very good.


Friday, August 6, 2010


            I was awakened by my new grandson Erik (left) at 9:50 AM and after playing with him awhile, I got up at 11:30 and organized my packing.  It should be less complicated because this trip is only for 5 weeks instead of the usual 3 months.  Getting all the pills counted out is quite a boor.  After I was all packed I went to Peet's to get a cappuccino and relax.  Today I started back on the 500 mg Metformin diabetic medication.

 

            Marcia drove me to LAX Union Station and at the front door a Redcap took my bags on his cart and drove me right to my sleeping car (#430) and put my bags in my room (#15) at 6:30 PM; very First Class.  After I got on the train, Jeff and Rebecca showed up with Kaylin (right,) Anabella (center) and little Erik (left) to see me off.  It was very nice.  Anabella is in her cast after breaking her left wrist.  They all got to see the large family room I got because when I booked it that was all they had left.  It is large with 4 beds but no sink or bathroom.

 

            Jeff gave me the MS Expression Web software disk so I could follow Vince Daukasis' recommendation to upgrade from MS FrontPage for my website.  FrontPage is 7 years old and Microsoft no longer supports it.

           After the train pulled out at 6:55 PM (exactly on time,) I set about to install the program and by the next morning I accomplished it and am writing this on MS Expression Web 3.  At 8:00 I went to the dining car and had a nice dinner salad, sirloin steak cooked perfectly with a baked potato and succotash and finished off with a piece of perfect apple pie.  I enjoyed a nice 1/2 bottle of Cavit Italian Pinot Grigio.  What a nice way to travel; almost like you were a human being.


Saturday, August 7, 2010


            I woke at 4:20, 5:55, 8:15 and at 11:00 but didn't get up until 12:05.  I really have no place to go.  We arrived in Albuquerque at 12:25; 15 minutes late.  I was all set for running so I jumped out and did it at 12:30.  I thought the run in Albuquerque would be horrendous in the August heat but it wasn't as bad as I feared especially when I got over to the Alvarado bus center which is covered and gave me shade and then went in the air-conditioned station.  I was able to get a decent cappuccino in there.  I noticed they added a private car at the end of the train called the Northern Sky Charter (below right.)  We left Albuquerque at 1:25; 30 minutes late.

     

            They said that the extra car made it harder to climb and cross the Raton Pass and we did it very slowly.  Once over the top we made it to flat land.  The clouds over the plains were spectacular.  Below are some of the scenes.

            You can see the raining occurring off in the distance (below.)  Just beautiful.

            Marcia called me at 5:20 after landing in Boston.  She will get the car rental and drive to her brother Charlie's house in Melrose.  I went to dinner at 7:30 and again ordered the Pinot Grigio.  For dinner I had a really good plate of BBQ spare ribs with baked potato, salad, roll, succotash and ice cream.  Best I've had in years.


Sunday, August 8, 2010


            I woke at 6:30, 9:55, 11:30 and got up at 1:30.  We arrived in Chicago at 3:20; only 20 minutes late.  My car attendant, Freddy, helped me detrain my bags and I rolled them to the First Class Lounge to store.  It was just in time for me to run at 4:25 in the hot and humid streets and then get to the 5:00 Mass at Old St. Patrick's Church.  On the way back I decided to try one of Big Al's Italian beef and cheese sandwiches and got a McDonald's Angus 1/3 pounder in Union Station and ate them both in the First Class lounge with a Fresca I brought with me.  At 7:30 I went to the ticket counter and picked up my return tickets and a huge $350 refund for the train being so late on my last trip.  Not bad.

            Very soon after that at 8:00, Phil, my friend the Chicago Redcap, had my bags and told me he would take me to the train.  I boarded at 8:05 (Deluxe Bedroom A) and the Lake Shore Limited left Chicago right on time at 9:30 PM.  Soon we were going through Indiana, and you can see a lot of abandoned manufacturing plants (below); a symbol of our time.

After being a Redcap for me and thousands of other travelers, Phil retired in 2012.

            My car (#448) attendant told me to walk the five train cars back to join the wine and cheese party which I did and at 10:00, I joined a very nice lady from Massachusetts.  The wine and cheese with grapes and crackers were very good and the sunsets were lovely.

  

            I then went to the lounge car and while online I bought Missing Sync for the Palm Pre and a program from MarkSpace called Expensify to keep track of spending.  Then, using both computers, worked with the new software and attempted to find out how to sync the new Palm Pre phone I had gotten on trial on an Amtrak Guest Rewards special deal.  I had already tried the Droid X and sent it back for the Palm.  By 4 AM I finally went to bed watching a movie on the Archos unit as I have each night.


Monday, August 9, 2010


            I woke at 7:00, 10:20, 3:00 and got up at 3:05 in the afternoon and discovered that while I was sleeping we were blocked by a freight train derailment and we were 6½ hours late and would not get to Albany until 9:30 PM.  Well, at least my run in Albany won't be in a hot humid August day.  Having been raised in the nearby city of Troy, I know how it gets here - pretty horrendous.  I got a frantic call from my daughter-in-law Rebecca to tell me that she saw my oldest son Kevin's Caesars Palace commercial running during the TV show "Jeopardy."  You can imagine, I was really excited to see it.  I wasn't able until much later.



[To see it on YouTube, click HERE.]

Here are some samples

Getting the paper, Kevin locks himself out of the room.  So he takes a swim, goes to the spa and  then goes to buy a suit and meets a girl.

He asks her out to dinner and then a Caesar's show with Cher.

He plays roulette, wins and gets a kiss.  Getting back to his room; still no key.  He runs to get one, saying his only line: "I'll be right back."

PS: The actress that played the girl was the winner of the final rose on the Bachelor in 2011."



            We arrived in Utica at 7:10 (6.5 hrs late) then in Schenectady at 8:25 (6:25 hr late and finally into Albany at 9:20 PM.  I jumped off the train immediately and did my run in drizzling rain but mostly on the station platform which is covered so it wasn't too bad.  I took the escalator up to the main station and got a lousy cappuccino and then the train departed at 9:50.  No real dinner served on this train because its supposed to get into Boston way before dinner time.  At 11:00 I went to the lounge car and got a ham & cheese sandwich and then a cheeseburger.  I had to wait another 3 ½ hours for Boston.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


            We finally pulled into Boston South Station at 3:50 in the morning and Marcia had already told me no one was picking me.  I rolled my bags out to the front of the station (below left, which is very nice, by the way) and I caught a taxi and arrived at Charlie's house in Melrose at 4:30 in the morning.

     

            They left dinner for me in the fridge so I had some Legal Seafood clam chowder (above right) and some berries with whipped cream.  A little tired, I finally climbed into bed at 5 AM and was out in two minutes.  No Archos movie tonight.

 

KJH                                                             Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #2 

Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD

KHofferMD@AOL.comRETURN TO INDEX

Melrose, Massachusetts

Sent 1-13-2011

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