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rafinmd

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  1. Copper10-8 has posted with some nice photos on the World Cruising thread: Roy
  2. Copper10-8 has posted with some nice photos on my World Cruising thread: Roy
  3. Day Amtrak+1, Sunday, January 19, 2020, Hotel Queen Mary, Long Beach Crystal Serenity concludes a 2-day stay in Cabo San Lucas. Queen Mary 2 begins a 2-day stay in Hafia, Israel. I had a very good and long sleep, not waking up until about 6:30. I had hoped to catch a sunrise from Queen Mary but it was not to be. I was out on the sun deck right around 7 but it was coming up directly behind the Carnival Imagination and in any case I had forgotten to put the memory card back in my camera. I don't expect a picture Monday either since the Inspiration will probably come in between me and the sun but I have my hopes up for Tuesday or Wednesday. When in Long Beach 3 years ago I worshiped at Covenant Presbyterian Church and that was my plan again. Oversleeping put me a bit behind the 8-ball and it was almost 15 minutes into the 8AM service when I arrived. It was still a good experience and I especially appreciated the postlude, Bach's Gigue Fugue. I have tapped my toes to it many times but never before in an actual worship setting. Bravissimo! After church I stopped at Vons (California's version of Safeway), a block away from the church and at an ATM before taking the Passport back to Queen Mary. I did a bit of exploring later in the morning. The staff does their best but keeping up an 80-year old ship is a challenge, as might be noted by peeling paint around the lifeboat stands. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/lifeboat.jpg The highlight of the day was brunch. It is served each Sunday in Queen Mary's First Class dining room. I was joined at brunch by a cruise critic friend (Copper10-8) and Holland America security officer and his wife. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/salon.jpg A band provided music and a man dressed as a Captain circulated around the ship greeting the guests. He told me that he is an occasional speaker on the Cunard Insights speaker. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/theband.jpg There were about 5 buffet stations including almost anything one could want for brunch. I feasted on waffles, bacon, mac & cheese, pork rib, 2 types of cake, and a cookie. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/buffet1.jpg After brunch we walked around the ship. There's an old Russian submarine that has been on exhibit but has deteriorated to a point where it is almost certainly destined for scrapping. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/russian.jpg This sailaway addict heard the general emergency signal from the Imagination indicating the start of the muster drill. I went up to the promenade deck about 5:15 to watch her departure. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/imagination.jpg On the way back to my room I passed the wedding chapel (the former second class smoking room). https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/wedding.jpg The gym was originally on the sun deck but is now inside the ship near the main staircase. Some of the original equipment is in a small window display. The stationary bike is a far cry from what is used in today's spin classes. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/thebike.jpg I took the Passport shuttle into town for a light dinner at Burger King, and was back on the ship a little before 8. Monday is the Martin Luther King holiday in the United States. May it be safe and pleasant. Roy
  4. Day Amtrak+1, Sunday, January 19, 2020, Hotel Queen Mary, Long Beach Crystal Serenity concludes a 2-day stay in Cabo San Lucas. Queen Mary 2 begins a 2-day stay in Hafia, Israel. I had a very good and long sleep, not waking up until about 6:30. I had hoped to catch a sunrise from Queen Mary but it was not to be. I was out on the sun deck right around 7 but it was coming up directly behind the Carnival Imagination and in any case I had forgotten to put the memory card back in my camera. I don't expect a picture Monday either since the Inspiration will probably come in between me and the sun but I have my hopes up for Tuesday or Wednesday. When in Long Beach 3 years ago I worshiped at Covenant Presbyterian Church and that was my plan again. Oversleeping put me a bit behind the 8-ball and it was almost 15 minutes into the 8AM service when I arrived. It was still a good experience and I especially appreciated the postlude, Bach's Gigue Fugue. I have tapped my toes to it many times but never before in an actual worship setting. Bravissimo! After church I stopped at Vons (California's version of Safeway), a block away from the church and at an ATM before taking the Passport back to Queen Mary. I did a bit of exploring later in the morning. The staff does their best but keeping up an 80-year old ship is a challenge, as might be noted by peeling paint around the lifeboat stands. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/lifeboat.jpg The highlight of the day was brunch. It is served each Sunday in Queen Mary's First Class dining room. I was joined at brunch by a cruise critic friend (Copper10-8) and Holland America security officer and his wife. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/salon.jpg A band provided music and a man dressed as a Captain circulated around the ship greeting the guests. He told me that he is an occasional speaker on the Cunard Insights speaker. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/theband.jpg There were about 5 buffet stations including almost anything one could want for brunch. I feasted on waffles, bacon, mac & cheese, pork rib, 2 types of cake, and a cookie. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/buffet1.jpg After brunch we walked around the ship. There's an old Russian submarine that has been on exhibit but has deteriorated to a point where it is almost certainly destined for scrapping. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/russian.jpg This sailaway addict heard the general emergency signal from the Imagination indicating the start of the muster drill. I went up to the promenade deck about 5:15 to watch her departure. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/imagination.jpg On the way back to my room I passed the wedding chapel (the former second class smoking room). https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/wedding.jpg The gym was originally on the sun deck but is now inside the ship near the main staircase. Some of the original equipment is in a small window display. The stationary bike is a far cry from what is used in today's spin classes. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/thebike.jpg I took the Passport shuttle into town for a light dinner at Burger King, and was back on the ship a little before 8. Monday is the Martin Luther King holiday in the United States. May it be safe and pleasant. Roy
  5. Day Amtrak+1, Sunday, January 19, 2020, Hotel Queen Mary, Long Beach Crystal Serenity concludes a 2-day stay in Cabo San Lucas. Queen Mary 2 begins a 2-day stay in Hafia, Israel. I had a very good and long sleep, not waking up until about 6:30. I had hoped to catch a sunrise from Queen Mary but it was not to be. I was out on the sun deck right around 7 but it was coming up directly behind the Carnival Imagination and in any case I had forgotten to put the memory card back in my camera. I don't expect a picture Monday either since the Inspiration will probably come in between me and the sun but I have my hopes up for Tuesday or Wednesday. When in Long Beach 3 years ago I worshiped at Covenant Presbyterian Church and that was my plan again. Oversleeping put me a bit behind the 8-ball and it was almost 15 minutes into the 8AM service when I arrived. It was still a good experience and I especially appreciated the postlude, Bach's Gigue Fugue. I have tapped my toes to it many times but never before in an actual worship setting. Bravissimo! After church I stopped at Vons (California's version of Safeway), a block away from the church and at an ATM before taking the Passport back to Queen Mary. I did a bit of exploring later in the morning. The staff does their best but keeping up an 80-year old ship is a challenge, as might be noted by peeling paint around the lifeboat stands. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/lifeboat.jpg The highlight of the day was brunch. It is served each Sunday in Queen Mary's First Class dining room. I was joined at brunch by a cruise critic friend (Copper10-8) and Holland America security officer and his wife. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/salon.jpg A band provided music and a man dressed as a Captain circulated around the ship greeting the guests. He told me that he is an occasional speaker on the Cunard Insights speaker. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/theband.jpg There were about 5 buffet stations including almost anything one could want for brunch. I feasted on waffles, bacon, mac & cheese, pork rib, 2 types of cake, and a cookie. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/buffet1.jpg After brunch we walked around the ship. There's an old Russian submarine that has been on exhibit but has deteriorated to a point where it is almost certainly destined for scrapping. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/russian.jpg This sailaway addict heard the general emergency signal from the Imagination indicating the start of the muster drill. I went up to the promenade deck about 5:15 to watch her departure. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/imagination.jpg On the way back to my room I passed the wedding chapel (the former second class smoking room). https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/wedding.jpg The gym was originally on the sun deck but is now inside the ship near the main staircase. Some of the original equipment is in a small window display. The stationary bike is a far cry from what is used in today's spin classes. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/thebike.jpg I took the Passport shuttle into town for a light dinner at Burger King, and was back on the ship a little before 8. Monday is the Martin Luther King holiday in the United States. May it be safe and pleasant. Roy
  6. It's pretty much a standard intercity coach although I think the seat spacing is pretty wide. I think each ship comes with 3 buses so it's fairly roomy. I am not prone to motion sickness but I think the ride was fairly normal for a long distance bus. Restroom is pretty much airline style. There is not a drink "service" although they do carry at least water on board. I found the pace of the walks fairly natural although it probably depends a bit on the guide. Roy
  7. I should have come back to this thread right after Brunch. When the next FLL sailaway comes I will be sailing away myself in San Pedro. I will try to check in for a while but probably won't get video. Roy
  8. The first car on the train is what they call a "Transition Sleeper". For years it accommodated only off duty crew but a few years ago they started selling the extra berths to paying passengers. It's a full sleeping car but only about half used by the public. Roy
  9. Actually, I could have left several days later without worry about missing the ship. I was more concerned, since I had planned this to circle the globe without flying that I would need to fly to get to Long Beach in time if there was a missed connection. In the meantime, I missed what sounded like a pretty nasty day in Maryland. Roy
  10. Day Amtrak4, Saturday, January 18, 2020, Arrive Los Angeles, Transfer to Long Beach Crystal Serenity begins a 2-day call in Cabo San Lucas. Queen Mary 2 is at sea from Messina to Hafia, Israel. I slept pretty well my final night on the train. I was feeling pretty good when I woke briefly about 4 and found we were in California, but after checking the schedule we were actually about 10 minutes further behind than in Albuquerque. While the trip was general west bound our final leg was to the south and the sun came up just after 7 on our left side. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dawn0118.jpg When the Southwest Chief is on time breakfast is very early, I think 5:30-6:30. As dinner ended Friday evening it was announced it would be pushed back to about 6:30 to 9, depending on the train's actual progress. I went in about 7:30 for scrambled eggs and potatoes,. While eating the conductor announced an estimated 10AM arrival but while at the table it was obvious that we were moving very slowly. A freight train had derailed and progress slowed to a crawl and when we reached Union Station it was about 11:10. Cynthia had indicated it would be a long walk to the station and I agreed to use a Red Cap. It turned out to be a good move as he asked if we wanted to go to the Metropolitan Lounge. I had never known there was one in Los Angeles but it was quite decent while pretty well hidden from common view. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/loungelax.jpg My planned layover before the bus would have been very long but arriving 3 hours late shortened it considerably and I took advantage of the internet for a while and took a short walk in the station area. At my age carrying 2 backpacks totaling 46 pounds is a bit of a challenge but I manage fairly well for short distances. The lounge called a Red Cap to help me to the bus but all he did was point me in the right direction (I had already found the bus stop). https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/lastride.jpg The connecting bus primarily serves passengers coming from Bakersfield where the train stops at mountains and is lightly used on the last leg from Los Angeles to Long Beach. It arrived in Los Angeles promptly at 2:35 and departed promptly at 2:45. We stopped first at the Catalina terminal in San Pedro and then continued to Long Beach. There was a Princess ship in San Pedro, and as we crossed the bridge to Long Beach I got my first view of Queen Mary. In addition to QM Carnival ships often dock there. I didn't have my camera but behind Queen Mary was Carnival's newest and largest ship, the Panorama. It's just a bit smaller than QM2 but I was surprised that it seemed to dwarf Queen Mary. I was dropped off at the Long Beach transit center and it was about a block to the free Passport Shuttle. Free has it's costs as the main transit stops all have benches to wait but not the Passport. It was less than pleasant waiting for the bus with 46 pounds on my back. I arrived at Queen Mary about 4. As I walked from the bus to the gangway I could hear loud music from the Panorama. I am in an oceanview room on A-deck (A148). There is a bit of a passage way from the door to the main part of the room. I suspect initially there was an inside room or 2 on the section near the corridor. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/a148entry.jpg The room was not big but had all the necessities. A sealed doorway suggests it once connected with what is now A150. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/a148room.jpg I left about 6PM for a bit of shopping and dinner. From the Passport stop the ship looked pretty all lit up. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/qmnight-1.jpg I must have been pretty tired because I dozed off for a while instead of working on my blog. I officially went to bed after the 11PM news. My parting shot today is that when I checked into the hotel I had a long string of emails waiting about the storms at home. It looks like things were bad enough to have the schools closed but not so bad that most events couldn't be relocated, especially a long awaited Eagle Court of Honor for one of my scouts. Congratulations Hunter. Roy
  11. Day Amtrak4, Saturday, January 18, 2020, Arrive Los Angeles, Transfer to Long Beach Crystal Serenity begins a 2-day call in Cabo San Lucas. Queen Mary 2 is at sea from Messina to Hafia, Israel. I slept pretty well my final night on the train. I was feeling pretty good when I woke briefly about 4 and found we were in California, but after checking the schedule we were actually about 10 minutes further behind than in Albuquerque. While the trip was general west bound our final leg was to the south and the sun came up just after 7 on our left side. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dawn0118.jpg When the Southwest Chief is on time breakfast is very early, I think 5:30-6:30. As dinner ended Friday evening it was announced it would be pushed back to about 6:30 to 9, depending on the train's actual progress. I went in about 7:30 for scrambled eggs and potatoes,. While eating the conductor announced an estimated 10AM arrival but while at the table it was obvious that we were moving very slowly. A freight train had derailed and progress slowed to a crawl and when we reached Union Station it was about 11:10. Cynthia had indicated it would be a long walk to the station and I agreed to use a Red Cap. It turned out to be a good move as he asked if we wanted to go to the Metropolitan Lounge. I had never known there was one in Los Angeles but it was quite decent while pretty well hidden from common view. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/loungelax.jpg My planned layover before the bus would have been very long but arriving 3 hours late shortened it considerably and I took advantage of the internet for a while and took a short walk in the station area. At my age carrying 2 backpacks totaling 46 pounds is a bit of a challenge but I manage fairly well for short distances. The lounge called a Red Cap to help me to the bus but all he did was point me in the right direction (I had already found the bus stop). https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/lastride.jpg The connecting bus primarily serves passengers coming from Bakersfield where the train stops at mountains and is lightly used on the last leg from Los Angeles to Long Beach. It arrived in Los Angeles promptly at 2:35 and departed promptly at 2:45. We stopped first at the Catalina terminal in San Pedro and then continued to Long Beach. There was a Princess ship in San Pedro, and as we crossed the bridge to Long Beach I got my first view of Queen Mary. In addition to QM Carnival ships often dock there. I didn't have my camera but behind Queen Mary was Carnival's newest and largest ship, the Panorama. It's just a bit smaller than QM2 but I was surprised that it seemed to dwarf Queen Mary. I was dropped off at the Long Beach transit center and it was about a block to the free Passport Shuttle. Free has it's costs as the main transit stops all have benches to wait but not the Passport. It was less than pleasant waiting for the bus with 46 pounds on my back. I arrived at Queen Mary about 4. As I walked from the bus to the gangway I could hear loud music from the Panorama. I am in an oceanview room on A-deck (A148). There is a bit of a passage way from the door to the main part of the room. I suspect initially there was an inside room or 2 on the section near the corridor. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/a148entry.jpg The room was not big but had all the necessities. A sealed doorway suggests it once connected with what is now A150. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/a148room.jpg I left about 6PM for a bit of shopping and dinner. From the Passport stop the ship looked pretty all lit up. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/qmnight-1.jpg I must have been pretty tired because I dozed off for a while instead of working on my blog. I officially went to bed after the 11PM news. My parting shot today is that when I checked into the hotel I had a long string of emails waiting about the storms at home. It looks like things were bad enough to have the schools closed but not so bad that most events couldn't be relocated, especially a long awaited Eagle Court of Honor for one of my scouts. Congratulations Hunter. Roy
  12. Day Amtrak4, Saturday, January 18, 2020, Arrive Los Angeles, Transfer to Long Beach Crystal Serenity begins a 2-day call in Cabo San Lucas. Queen Mary 2 is at sea from Messina to Hafia, Israel. I slept pretty well my final night on the train. I was feeling pretty good when I woke briefly about 4 and found we were in California, but after checking the schedule we were actually about 10 minutes further behind than in Albuquerque. While the trip was general west bound our final leg was to the south and the sun came up just after 7 on our left side. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dawn0118.jpg When the Southwest Chief is on time breakfast is very early, I think 5:30-6:30. As dinner ended Friday evening it was announced it would be pushed back to about 6:30 to 9, depending on the train's actual progress. I went in about 7:30 for scrambled eggs and potatoes,. While eating the conductor announced an estimated 10AM arrival but while at the table it was obvious that we were moving very slowly. A freight train had derailed and progress slowed to a crawl and when we reached Union Station it was about 11:10. Cynthia had indicated it would be a long walk to the station and I agreed to use a Red Cap. It turned out to be a good move as he asked if we wanted to go to the Metropolitan Lounge. I had never known there was one in Los Angeles but it was quite decent while pretty well hidden from common view. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/loungelax.jpg My planned layover before the bus would have been very long but arriving 3 hours late shortened it considerably and I took advantage of the internet for a while and took a short walk in the station area. At my age carrying 2 backpacks totaling 46 pounds is a bit of a challenge but I manage fairly well for short distances. The lounge called a Red Cap to help me to the bus but all he did was point me in the right direction (I had already found the bus stop). https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/lastride.jpg The connecting bus primarily serves passengers coming from Bakersfield where the train stops at mountains and is lightly used on the last leg from Los Angeles to Long Beach. It arrived in Los Angeles promptly at 2:35 and departed promptly at 2:45. We stopped first at the Catalina terminal in San Pedro and then continued to Long Beach. There was a Princess ship in San Pedro, and as we crossed the bridge to Long Beach I got my first view of Queen Mary. In addition to QM Carnival ships often dock there. I didn't have my camera but behind Queen Mary was Carnival's newest and largest ship, the Panorama. It's just a bit smaller than QM2 but I was surprised that it seemed to dwarf Queen Mary. I was dropped off at the Long Beach transit center and it was about a block to the free Passport Shuttle. Free has it's costs as the main transit stops all have benches to wait but not the Passport. It was less than pleasant waiting for the bus with 46 pounds on my back. I arrived at Queen Mary about 4. As I walked from the bus to the gangway I could hear loud music from the Panorama. I am in an oceanview room on A-deck (A148). There is a bit of a passage way from the door to the main part of the room. I suspect initially there was an inside room or 2 on the section near the corridor. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/a148entry.jpg The room was not big but had all the necessities. A sealed doorway suggests it once connected with what is now A150. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/a148room.jpg I left about 6PM for a bit of shopping and dinner. From the Passport stop the ship looked pretty all lit up. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/qmnight-1.jpg I must have been pretty tired because I dozed off for a while instead of working on my blog. I officially went to bed after the 11PM news. My parting shot today is that when I checked into the hotel I had a long string of emails waiting about the storms at home. It looks like things were bad enough to have the schools closed but not so bad that most events couldn't be relocated, especially a long awaited Eagle Court of Honor for one of my scouts. Congratulations Hunter. Roy
  13. I doubt if this has changed since November. Pressing is page 3: https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/laundrycrystal.pdf Roy
  14. As slow as she is, if she left last she would get in the way of tomorrow’s arrivals. Roy
  15. Two months sounds like a long time and l’ll be on and off by then. Roy
  16. My bus to Long Beach leaves in 30 minutes. Probably will miss the HAL ships. Roy
  17. No compensation. The US is a huge country and most trains have wifi but at least not yet on the really long distance ones (mostly to and from Chicago). New York to Florida trains did not have it for many years but got it within the last couple of years. No doubt though, trains here are pretty much orphans. As it was I had a long layover in Los Angeles and should reach Queen Mary as scheduled. Roy
  18. There's an elevator at the very back of the lounge. I board the ship on Wednesday. Roy
  19. I can't really answer. Basel really is not that big, and most likely berths are assigned at pretty much the last minute. If you're taking a taxi, you could try going to marinetraffic.com and saving a screenshot of it's position on your ipad or phone. Roy
  20. Day Amtrak3, Friday, January 17, 2020, Onboard Southwest Chief Crystal Serenity is at sea from Huatulco to Cabo San Lucas. Queen Mary 2 is at sea from Messina to Hafia, Israel. I posted photos of my roomette from the Capitol Limited. The roomette on the Southwest Chief is identical but the perspective from the IPAD may be a bit different. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/swcnight.jpg I woke about 5:15. At the time we were at Dodge City Kansas and left perhaps 20 minutes late. From there took a serious downhill turn. We came to a stop about 6:40 and sat and sat and sat. My room was returned to day mode once Cynthia came on duty at 6. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/roomette.jpg With no word from the train crew speculation abounded, track problems, car on the track, police activity among the possibilities. As the darkness brightened we could see that there was fresh sleet on the ground. After sitting over an hour a vehicle arrived that looked like a tow truck but was actually a railroad maintenance crew. A half hour later we finally started moving. The conductor explained that there had been a signal issue and possibly a defective rail on a bridge just ahead of us. He and the railroad crew walked the bridge and they resolved the signal issue and we resumed our progress. At the next town (Garden City) we were over 2 hours late. I went to breakfast just after 8; the Continental with oatmeal, milk, and chicken sausage. My tablemates were all in the coaches; one couple was headed to Albuquerque and concerned that they might arrive after their rental car place closed. The other was a short timer, getting on in Garden City (after a long wait in the station). This is a short train, 1 ½ sleepers, diner, lounge, and 2 coaches. I walked a bit on the train before breakfast and a bit more at our service stop in La Junta for a total of just under 30 minutes. I got a decent look at the full train in La Junta. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/swchief.jpg The climb up the Raton Pass was quite scenic. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/ratpass2.jpg We passed the summit of Raton Pass just about noon. I caught only the edge of the marker as we passed. It was about 7700 feet. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/ratsummit.jpg I did not want to be in the diner when we stopped at Raton (stop for Philmont Scout Ranch) so I made my lunch reservation for 12:30. It was also an abbreviated smoke stop and we left at 12:26. For lunch I chose the kids macaroni and cheese along with milk. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/raton.jpg Soon after lunch we were approaching the next town of Las Vegas(NM). This is an area where there's apparently a long stretch of single track. We had to pull over to a siding and wait for the Eastbound Southwest Chief to pass. The wait was about an hour. We were 3 hours behind schedule at our next station stop, Las Vegas. Sunset was supposedly a little after 5 but it went down behind the mountains several minutes earlier. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dusk0117.jpg Shortly after sunset we stopped at Lamy. The station building has been repurposed as a brewery and there was a fair amount of snow there. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/lamy.jpg I had made dinner reservations for 6:45 assuming we would have left Albuquerque by that time. It became clear that was not likely and inquired with the dining crew about moving my dinner to 5:30 and it turned out not to be busy then. My lunch had been more than I planned and I had the signature steak again but skipped the potato, salad, and desert. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dishes17.jpg I was out of the diner about 6:15 and we arrived in Albuquerque. We were VERY late and they would minimize the service stop but Cynthia indicated we had at least 25 minutes. I was not going to risk going beyond the station but there was "Greyhound free wifi" in the multi-modal station. From my bench I could see the new conductor checking in boarding passengers and there was quite a line. I post to the blog by email and that is the source of the photo links I put on Cruise Critic so the blog has to be posted first. The email got to 99% and then timed out. I tried again with what looked like the same results, but the post went through as the checkin line got down to about 4 people. I put the computer to sleep and returned to the train. We were actually in the station for another 20 minutes completing maintenance checks but I was not taking any chances. I plan to wrap up this post and be in bed about 9. As a parting shot, I should actually come out of these delays reasonably well but it was a big inconvenience to some. One of my breakfast tablemates was disembarking in Albuquerque and had planned to rent a car from a place that closed. The wife was trying to change the rental to a different company, but I did not hear how it turned out. I hope they were successful. Roy
  21. Day Amtrak3, Friday, January 17, 2020, Onboard Southwest Chief Crystal Serenity is at sea from Huatulco to Cabo San Lucas. Queen Mary 2 is at sea from Messina to Hafia, Israel. I posted photos of my roomette from the Capitol Limited. The roomette on the Southwest Chief is identical but the perspective from the IPAD may be a bit different. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/swcnight.jpg I woke about 5:15. At the time we were at Dodge City Kansas and left perhaps 20 minutes late. From there took a serious downhill turn. We came to a stop about 6:40 and sat and sat and sat. My room was returned to day mode once Cynthia came on duty at 6. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/roomette.jpg With no word from the train crew speculation abounded, track problems, car on the track, police activity among the possibilities. As the darkness brightened we could see that there was fresh sleet on the ground. After sitting over an hour a vehicle arrived that looked like a tow truck but was actually a railroad maintenance crew. A half hour later we finally started moving. The conductor explained that there had been a signal issue and possibly a defective rail on a bridge just ahead of us. He and the railroad crew walked the bridge and they resolved the signal issue and we resumed our progress. At the next town (Garden City) we were over 2 hours late. I went to breakfast just after 8; the Continental with oatmeal, milk, and chicken sausage. My tablemates were all in the coaches; one couple was headed to Albuquerque and concerned that they might arrive after their rental car place closed. The other was a short timer, getting on in Garden City (after a long wait in the station). This is a short train, 1 ½ sleepers, diner, lounge, and 2 coaches. I walked a bit on the train before breakfast and a bit more at our service stop in La Junta for a total of just under 30 minutes. I got a decent look at the full train in La Junta. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/swchief.jpg The climb up the Raton Pass was quite scenic. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/ratpass2.jpg We passed the summit of Raton Pass just about noon. I caught only the edge of the marker as we passed. It was about 7700 feet. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/ratsummit.jpg I did not want to be in the diner when we stopped at Raton (stop for Philmont Scout Ranch) so I made my lunch reservation for 12:30. It was also an abbreviated smoke stop and we left at 12:26. For lunch I chose the kids macaroni and cheese along with milk. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/raton.jpg Soon after lunch we were approaching the next town of Las Vegas(NM). This is an area where there's apparently a long stretch of single track. We had to pull over to a siding and wait for the Eastbound Southwest Chief to pass. The wait was about an hour. We were 3 hours behind schedule at our next station stop, Las Vegas. Sunset was supposedly a little after 5 but it went down behind the mountains several minutes earlier. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dusk0117.jpg Shortly after sunset we stopped at Lamy. The station building has been repurposed as a brewery and there was a fair amount of snow there. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/lamy.jpg I had made dinner reservations for 6:45 assuming we would have left Albuquerque by that time. It became clear that was not likely and inquired with the dining crew about moving my dinner to 5:30 and it turned out not to be busy then. My lunch had been more than I planned and I had the signature steak again but skipped the potato, salad, and desert. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dishes17.jpg I was out of the diner about 6:15 and we arrived in Albuquerque. We were VERY late and they would minimize the service stop but Cynthia indicated we had at least 25 minutes. I was not going to risk going beyond the station but there was "Greyhound free wifi" in the multi-modal station. From my bench I could see the new conductor checking in boarding passengers and there was quite a line. I post to the blog by email and that is the source of the photo links I put on Cruise Critic so the blog has to be posted first. The email got to 99% and then timed out. I tried again with what looked like the same results, but the post went through as the checkin line got down to about 4 people. I put the computer to sleep and returned to the train. We were actually in the station for another 20 minutes completing maintenance checks but I was not taking any chances. I plan to wrap up this post and be in bed about 9. As a parting shot, I should actually come out of these delays reasonably well but it was a big inconvenience to some. One of my breakfast tablemates was disembarking in Albuquerque and had planned to rent a car from a place that closed. The wife was trying to change the rental to a different company, but I did not hear how it turned out. I hope they were successful. Roy
  22. I chose 6 PM dining and was finished by then. By 7:30 I was probably in my roomette and out of view of the window. Have you been at the lounge recently, the one off the Great Hall? Roy
  23. Day Amtrak2, Thursday, January 16, 2020, Board Amtrak Southwest Chief, Chicago Crystal Serenity is in Huatulco, Mexico. Queen Mary 2 is in Messina, Sicily. I woke at 5 but went back to bed for another hour. At 6 the temperature was 11F (about -12C) and I did not go outside a lot. I did go to McDonalds (coffee, milk, and hash browns; 1/quarter mile round trip), but that was my only un-necessary venture outside. I packed a bit differently for the Southwest Chief. I walked over to Union Station about 9:30 with the larger backpack. Once checked into the Metropolitan Lounge I unzipped the small compartment (8 pounds) and checked the rest of the bag to Los Angeles. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/lounge.jpg With that done I hung out briefly at the lounge. It was relocated a few years ago and the current lounge has an upper level which is much less used than the main floor. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/upperlounge.jpg I returned to Club Quarters for a few more online tasks and packed the smaller backpack, now down to 16 pounds. I checked out at 11:30 and returned for the final time to Union Station with the temperature now up to 19 (-7C). The Chicago River was not frozen but it was not really a very pleasant place to be. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/chicago.jpg I did not bring a winter coat but layered up with a light rain jacket, sport coat, heavy sweater and heavy shirt. My body was warm enough but my neck was freezing. Despite the cold the sun was shining brightly. Lunch was at McDonalds conveniently located in the station (nuggets, milk, and ice cream. Afterwards I got coffee in the Lounge and did some additional computer work. The wifi was better but I still could not send a batch email. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/loungesnacks.jpg Boarding was called at 2:10, and with a bag checked through I did not feel the need for a red cap for boarding, At the car (just 1 sleeper plus a few available spaces on the crew sleeper). Cynthia checked me off and sent me upstairs to my roomette. It is identical to the one on the Capitol Limited with the possible exception of some switches. We left spot on time at 2:50 (my old schedule said 3PM but the times are close. Even accounting for that we seem to be running a little early at our first few stops. (It's a reserved train so they can account for boarding passengers). After Napierville the landscape quickly turned agricultural with patches of snow and clouds started to develop. Dinner seatings are 5:30, 6:00, 6:45, 7:15, and 7:45. I chose the 6PM. I walked up to the lounge looking for a sunset. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/swclounge.jpg It was not good and actually I got a better view from my room even though the sun had already gone down. One challenge on this trip will be that with us heading West sunrise and sunset will generally be either almost directly ahead of us or behind us. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dusk0116.jpg North American dining cars generally practice "community seating" with people mixed together to fill up each 4-top. Meals are included in the sleepers but people in coaches can purchase them. I was seated with 2 local passengers from the coaches and one other sleeping car guy. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dinerswc.jpg For dinner I chose the "Signature steak" along with pudding for desert. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dishes16.jpg When finished I walked back to the lounge and the café on the lower level and bought a bag of chips for a bedtime snack. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/swccafe.jpg We were very early at Kansas City, our first service stop. I had time to go into the station and check email, and still was out a half hour before our 10:30 departure. I turned out the lights as we left Kansas City. My parting shot will be of the coincidence nature. There has been a lively discussion of cosmetics on the Crystal Forum of Cruise Critic. I noticed as I went to bed that the slippers I wear on the train were Etro and surely came from a Crystal ship. I am sure they were not scented when they left the factory, and am quite sure they are now but have no desire to investigate further. Roy
  24. Day Amtrak2, Thursday, January 16, 2020, Board Amtrak Southwest Chief, Chicago Crystal Serenity is in Huatulco, Mexico. Queen Mary 2 is in Messina, Sicily. I woke at 5 but went back to bed for another hour. At 6 the temperature was 11F (about -12C) and I did not go outside a lot. I did go to McDonalds (coffee, milk, and hash browns; 1/quarter mile round trip), but that was my only un-necessary venture outside. I packed a bit differently for the Southwest Chief. I walked over to Union Station about 9:30 with the larger backpack. Once checked into the Metropolitan Lounge I unzipped the small compartment (8 pounds) and checked the rest of the bag to Los Angeles. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/lounge.jpg With that done I hung out briefly at the lounge. It was relocated a few years ago and the current lounge has an upper level which is much less used than the main floor. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/upperlounge.jpg I returned to Club Quarters for a few more online tasks and packed the smaller backpack, now down to 16 pounds. I checked out at 11:30 and returned for the final time to Union Station with the temperature now up to 19 (-7C). The Chicago River was not frozen but it was not really a very pleasant place to be. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/chicago.jpg I did not bring a winter coat but layered up with a light rain jacket, sport coat, heavy sweater and heavy shirt. My body was warm enough but my neck was freezing. Despite the cold the sun was shining brightly. Lunch was at McDonalds conveniently located in the station (nuggets, milk, and ice cream. Afterwards I got coffee in the Lounge and did some additional computer work. The wifi was better but I still could not send a batch email. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/loungesnacks.jpg Boarding was called at 2:10, and with a bag checked through I did not feel the need for a red cap for boarding, At the car (just 1 sleeper plus a few available spaces on the crew sleeper). Cynthia checked me off and sent me upstairs to my roomette. It is identical to the one on the Capitol Limited with the possible exception of some switches. We left spot on time at 2:50 (my old schedule said 3PM but the times are close. Even accounting for that we seem to be running a little early at our first few stops. (It's a reserved train so they can account for boarding passengers). After Napierville the landscape quickly turned agricultural with patches of snow and clouds started to develop. Dinner seatings are 5:30, 6:00, 6:45, 7:15, and 7:45. I chose the 6PM. I walked up to the lounge looking for a sunset. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/swclounge.jpg It was not good and actually I got a better view from my room even though the sun had already gone down. One challenge on this trip will be that with us heading West sunrise and sunset will generally be either almost directly ahead of us or behind us. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dusk0116.jpg North American dining cars generally practice "community seating" with people mixed together to fill up each 4-top. Meals are included in the sleepers but people in coaches can purchase them. I was seated with 2 local passengers from the coaches and one other sleeping car guy. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dinerswc.jpg For dinner I chose the "Signature steak" along with pudding for desert. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/dishes16.jpg When finished I walked back to the lounge and the café on the lower level and bought a bag of chips for a bedtime snack. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/swccafe.jpg We were very early at Kansas City, our first service stop. I had time to go into the station and check email, and still was out a half hour before our 10:30 departure. I turned out the lights as we left Kansas City. My parting shot will be of the coincidence nature. There has been a lively discussion of cosmetics on the Crystal Forum of Cruise Critic. I noticed as I went to bed that the slippers I wear on the train were Etro and surely came from a Crystal ship. I am sure they were not scented when they left the factory, and am quite sure they are now but have no desire to investigate further. Roy
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