Amtrak
      {LU} {NU}

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07.01.03-Amtrak

I can't keep up with life and my journal.
At Sonora Pass, I had a decision as to whether to hitch east or west. West was the logical choice, given my destination. A quick look at the map revealed that a westerly hitch would put me in the middle of nowhere with limited options for getting any further in a timely manner. (I had set the goal of being at Saratoga Springs by last night, but it was not to be). An easterly hitch seemed more unlikely: it put a mountain range, the Sierra, as well as greater distance between me and my destination. It did have a couple of advantages: Gottago was hitching east, I have friends in Carson City, and points east seemed like they might have better transit options.
As I sit on a comfortable train from Sacramento to San Jose, I know that the easterly hitch was the right decision.
After our ride, after our AYCE buffet, and after getting into the hotel room, all I wanted to do was relax and settle in. But I had a destination. Zahira, the lady who ran the hotel reported that Greyhound no longer ran to South Lake Tahoe. Later in the short conversation, she recalled that Amtrak bus did run, and that the stop was not far away.
Gottago hopped on the phone when we dropped our bags, so I hopped in the shower. We then swapped.
I thought I might be able to hook up with David, so I wasn't sure what my destination was, but I gave it a stab. I called Amtrak and named Sacramento as a destination. An 8:55AM departure: perfect. Gottago and I could sleep in a little and have breakfast before I caught the bus. The evening quickly drew to a close.

Gottago and I discussed the closure of our trips as we drifted off to sleep.

I checked my voicemail in the morning, and I had no word from David. I suspected that he'd already left for the gathering.
Gottago and I headed out and had a great breakfast at Earnie's. A GREAT breakfast. I then picked up a Barbera Kingsolver novel, along with some food for the trip. Gottago headed back to her motel room to go back to sleep. I got on the phone to Amtrack. I could take a bus to a train to a bus and end up across the street from my location before this journey began: Salinas. My Dad was more than generous in offering to pick me up, although I'm hoping to convince my second bus driver to drop me in Prunedale.

From there I'll grab my car and drive the 5-6 hours to Saratoga Springs.

Although it's taking longer to get where I want to go, I'm happy that it's all working out. I'll get to see my Billy brothers, relax a bit, and have my car with me.
Now I have to make a few decisions. Do I go to Nora Jones in Sedona with Ed? If I do, do I drive with all my stuff and move back to Tucson? Do I hang in the Bay Area for a while? Do I go to Philly for the rest of the summer and the fall?
I also need to decide if I want to hike the CDT. I got another taste of thru-hiking this June. It's a grind, even when there's no goal or hard schedule. I do love backpacking and I do love long trips, but is it the way I want to spend my vacation time and money?
Lots of questions. No need for answers as the train slides next to I-680, the mothballed fleet, and acres of new cars parked next to the water.

The connections have been amazing. Although the Amtrak bus in South Lake Tahoe was almost 1/2 hour late, it managed to connect with the train in Sacramento, which started moving before I was settled in my seat. I heard the last call as I grabbed my bag bus-side. The train ride was smooth, but I could imagine it being a bit faster so the time was shorter. As I walked out of the San Jose terminal to the Amtrak bus area, my bus pulled up. Amazing.


I saw many amazing things from the train. The lower bay has ponds of many colors and actual wetlands. The golden hills float by, then, suddenly: Alviso, a place I am convinced is still lost in time. It sits so close to Silicon Valley, but seems 50 years away.

There's so much junk and disorder to see from a train. How can there be piles of junk and unordered inventory in some of the most expensive real estate in the country? Who can afford to store a raggedy boat when the annual storage costs are a significant fraction of the cost of the boat? It's crazy.

    {PD} {ND}

© 2001 & 2002 John E. Brennan