Yesterday, we (mostly) finished up our last big Western route, the “Southwest Chief”! The whole day was spent in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona (the West is big), reading and writing and working (very slowly; our hotspot is out of high-speed data) and not having much adventure to write about, sadly.
The most notable event was our mechanical stop in Albuquerque, where the engines got switched out and we dashed over to a grocery store to get some food (I realized that a full fast is kind of ridiculous—why not eat food if I can buy it off the train? Also, I was getting very hungry & cranky, which eating quickly remedied).
This shopping was stressful, because we pulled into the station at 4:07 PM with a directive from the conductors to be back onboard by 4:15 PM or else—the train’s pulling out at 4:19 PM, and you don’t want to be left behind! Just like all other projections of time made by Amtrak staff, fortunately, this too was nonsense; we sprinted onboard at 4:17… then sat and ate for half an hour in peace.
I had some blueberry bagels, which I loaded with ~4x the amount of cream cheese I’m used to, taking a cue from New York. That made them quite filling! Mattea had some bites of a big container tapioca pudding, and a banana. She had wisely grabbed some real food for herself in Chicago, so didn’t need to buy much here.
The train actually left around 4:50, continuing to be 30 minutes late. This is a tolerable delay, but doesn’t make us comfortable: our next and final train leaves at 10 AM PST tomorrow… 1.5 hours after we’re scheduled to arrive at the same station in LA. And both my mother and maternal grandfather (I typo’d “paternal” last time; oops!) will be there, planning to ride with us.
Hopefully the tracks are clear all the way, and we don’t get shunted to the next train!