Charleston Winter Board Meeting,
January 1-14, 2010

Don Winter


This trip was to attend the 2010 NRHS Winter Board Meeting in Charleston, SC. As usual, we traveled out and back on Amtrak, making an extension to Miami, FL, on the way out.

The Journey East (1/1-1/7)

Friday, January 1st, 2010

With an early evening departure from Los Angeles Union Station, 120 miles to the south, we leave Tehachapi at 1 pm, so as to have time to ride the new Gold Line extension to East Los Angeles, while its still daylight and we can see where we're going, before boarding our Amtrak train. We drive directly into Los Angeles, using the Hollywood freeway, both because this is New Year's Day (and thus has no rush hour) and to avoid the crowds around Pasadena's Rose Bowl. At Los Angeles Union Station, we park the car on the fourth level of the MTA garage, and take the bag's we're checking to Amtrak, where I note the clerk putting Train "97" on the transfer tickets, but think nothing of it at the time.

Then we buy our tickets from the machine and take the Gold Line light rail train south, across the Hollywood freeway, west, south, and east through 'Little Tokyo', and continuing east, across the First Street Bridge over the Los Angeles River into Boyle Heights, which the line passes through in tunnel, and then along various streets to Third Street in East Los Angeles, passing the Civic Center where I once had jury duty (starting on the day the Air Florida jet crashed into the Potomac, back in the early 1980s), to the outer terminus at Atlantic Boulevard, returning the same way.

Back at LAUS, it's warm enough to sit outside in the courtyard until almost 6 pm, when we return to the car, get our carry-on bags, and head for Track 11 to board our train. The train is just backing in as we arrive, so I capture the consist as it passes, and then walk to the head end to finish that task before boarding.


P42                159
P42                 130
Baggage        1212
Dorm            39021
Sleeper          32098 New Jersey
Sleeper          32072 Arkansas
Diner            38042
Lounge         33044
Coach           34134
Coach           34100
Coach           34058          

Train 4, 1-1-2010



Los Angeles

 6:45 pm

6:45 pm







San Bernardino                 PT






Winslow                            MT


7:09 am

Gallup, NM 




12:12 pm

12:55 pm




Las Vegas, NM






Trinidad, CO



La Junta                              MT






Kansas City, MO               CT

7:20 am

7:05 am

La Plata



Ft. Madison, IA



Galesburg, IL

12:10 pm

12:17 pm













Southwest Chief Route Description

Darkness has now fallen, so there's not much to see as the trains leaves Los Angeles. The Lead Service Attendant comes by with dinner reservations, of which we take 7:30 pm, then we go to dinner after leaving Fullerton, and retire to bed on the way up Cajon Pass.

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

I'm getting dressed as the sun rises, as the train passes Holbrook, and we're eating breakfast before the stop in Gallup. As usual, since the drop in freight traffic due to the 'Great Recession', the train is quite early into Albuquerque. We eat lunch while it's still there. Darkness falls before we reach Raton. We're eating dinner while the train is stopped in La Junta.

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

There is snow on the platform and its surrounds in Kansas City, where we arise. The Missouri River at Sibley, during breakfast, is completely frozen over, as is the Des Moines River south of Fort Madison. There is open water on the Mississippi, beneath the bridge at the latter, but most of the river is ice-covered. We eat lunch around Galesburg, which is covered in snow. There are many short delays as the train passes through Illinois, but the schedule padding into Chicago makes for an early arrival. The 15 (F.) temperatures ensure that our only trips outside are on the arriving and departure platforms. The Metropolitan Lounge makes dinner reservations for the Capitol Limited, starting at 6:30 pm (before departure), so dinner will be earlier than usual (on this train) this evening.

While in the Lounge, I note that the inbound California Zephyr is around five hours late, while both the inbound (due 9 pm) and outbound Empire Builder are buses from/to St. Paul. On heading out to the train, I discover that my pen doesn't want to write in the frigid temperatures, and I have to work at it to collect the consist of the train we're about to board.


P42                    166
P42                    162
Baggage            1734
Dorm                39016
Sleeper             32045
Sleeper             32056
Diner-Lite        37016
Lounge            33029
Coach              34095
Coach              34048
Coach              34004

Train 30, 1-3-2010



Chicago                              CT

 6:40 pm

6:40 pm
South Bend               ET 9:09 9:10-15
Elkhart 9:29 9:33-36
Cumberland 9:19 am
9:29 am
Martinsburg 11:00 11:06-09
Harpers Ferry 11:25 11:32-34
Rockville 12:10 pm 12:16-19 pm
Washington, DC 1:10 12:41

Capitol Limited Route Description

We eat dinner with a couple who came in on the Empire Builder. I observe that today's train hasn't arrived yet, and in any case is buses, and they say that 'Oh, yes, we arrived on the train today: it was 22 hours late!". They then explain that the locomotives' brakes froze solid in Minot, ND, and has to be unfrozen by hand, taking many hours.

Monday, January 4th, 2010

I awake on the west slope of Sand Patch. We skip breakfast, but go to early lunch, east of Cumberland. While we're in the diner, Bill & Beth Gill pass through. They are, of course, also on their way to Charleston for the NRHS Board Meeting, and they're headed for a short stay in Sebring, FL, and will be heading north on the same train as us on Thursday. We are not, however, booked on the same train south, this afternoon. The train is early into Washington, and it looks as if we'll easily make the (non-guaranteed) connection to the Silver Star. However, when we get to Club Acela, the listing shows that train as "delayed", and on inquiry, we find it hasn't yet left New York City.

We eventually find out that the switches to the tracks where the long-distance trains are prepared in Sunnyside yard have frozen, and that all of the trains are late departing New York City this afternoon. Our train will depart Washington somewhere around 8 pm, and we will be fed on the train. The Gills are traveling on Train 97, and received vouchers for their dinner.

When we get down to Train 91, after its arrival in Washington, we find that there is only one sleeping car on the train, and it isn't the one our reservation is on! It seems that this sleeper had frozen up in New York, and had never left Sunnyside Yard. No mention had been made of this while we were still in Club Acela, and we thus had no chance to switch our reservation to the (available) rooms on Train 97. We're ushered off, with others in the same boat, to a coach, with little apology, and much complaint when we're thus less than friendly to the coach attendant and conductor. We do, however, still get our included meals. (We're informed there will be a refund for the sleeper space, but if that were important, we would have been traveling coach in the first place.)


P42                      72
P42                      79
Baggage            1753
Coach               25055
Coach               25054
Coach               25037
Coach               25008
Lounge              28008
Diner                   8552
Sleeper              62004    Beech View 

Train 91, 1-4-2010



Washington, DC

 3:00 pm

7:56 pm
Alexandria 3:25 8:11-15
Richmond 5:09
Petersburg 5:57 10:40-42
Rocky Mount 7:29 12:03-08 am
Raleigh 9:13 1:19-35
Cary 9:27 1:45-47
Southern Pines 10:39 2:55-57
Camden, SC 12:50 am 4:57-58
Columbia 1:44 5:37-49
Denmark 2:41 6:42
Savannah 4:29
Jacksonville 6:55
Palatka 8:18 12:32-34 pm
DeLand 9:07 1:20-24
Orlando 10:17
Kissimmee 10:55 2:56-59
Lakeland 11:40 am  
Tampa 12:34 pm
Lakeland 1:21  
Winter Haven 1:43 3:50-53
Sebring 2:24 4:30-32
Okeechobee 3:00 5:05-08
West Palm Beach 4:13 6:00-04
Delray Beach 4:37 6:23-25
Deerfield Beach 4:53 6:35-37
Fort Lauderdale 5:12 6:50-53
Hollywood 5:28 7:03-05
Miami 6:05 7:28

Silver Star Route Description

Once the conductor has collected our tickets (and failed to endorse the stubs showing the lack of sleeping car space), we go to the diner for dinner, where Bob, the gimpy-legged steward, tells us more of what happened further north, and what he expects to happen as we heads south ("pick-up an hour and a half through the night, then probably skip Tampa to gain another two hours; 150 people getting of in Tampa, but 100 boarding there").

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Back in the coach, the car attendant finally turns down the lights somewhere in North Carolina, approaching midnight, and over the succeeding six plus hours, Chris and I manage to get about three hours sleep each. Approaching Denmark, SC, we're both awake and the diner will soon start serving breakfast. I suggest we go get that, while it's still dark, so as to reduce the restrictions on collecting route descriptions as we head into territory where I've not done that before (thinking of south of Savannah). I take my materials with me, and we get breakfast in the diner while its still dark, and then move to the lounge car, where the coffee proves to be 'free', and take up a table at which to take notes. We have made up only about an hour, overnight.

I get route description notes from somewhat before sunrise, which transpires at 7:34 am, on the southernmost stretch of the CSX S-line (former Seaboard Air Line) into Savannah, and then from Savannah southward, except for lunch (70 miles between south of Jacksonville and north of DeLand), all the way to West Palm Beach, where darkness falls. I'll cover those stretches on the way back. However, I won't get Auburndale to Tampa (although we've ridden that stretch before), which was the real purpose of taking this train!

In the lounge car, we're treated to idiotic conversation from passengers at nearby tables, such as the guy drinking his breakfast (Miller Light), who thinks that NFL teams playing each other again this weekend must mean they needed tie-breakers for their playoff entries, not just the happenstance that those teams are playing in the first round of the playoffs!

After lunch in the diner, we return to our coach seats for the rest of the trip, and I continue taking notes. We do, indeed, offload the Tampa passengers onto buses at Orlando, which pretty much empties out our coach, and then take on two bus loads at Winterhaven after turning south at Auburndale without going to Tampa.  This enables us to be less than 90 minutes late into Miami.

Here, we find out (surprise!) that our checked bags are not on Train 91, but are likely on Train 97, due a little after 9 pm. I elect not to wait for them, so we take a taxi to our hotel on the shore of Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami, where we have dinner (which wouldn't have been possible if we'd waited from Train 97's arrival) and go to bed.

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

We sleep for almost twelve hours. A 'phone call reveals that our bags arrived with Train 97, but are still at Amtrak. We ask that they be sent over to the hotel, to which Amtrak agrees, sending them by taxi at Amtrak expense. It's 58 in Miami, today, and the natives are dressed like it's Chicago at 15! (Of course, this is the day of the massive blizzard in Nebraska and points north, that we later learn strands today's Amtrak Train 5 and yesterday's Train 6 for a 24-hour delay each, in that state.)

We walk west on Third Street, past the MetroMover ("People Mover") station on First Avenue, East, to the Metro (heavy rail) station on the west side of downtown, where there is also a MetroMover station. After consuming 'fast food' for lunch (and listening to the locals speak 'Cuba'), we ride the Metro north to the end of the line at Palmetto (past the Tri-Rail connection adjacent to the Amtrak station in Hialeah), then back through downtown all the way to the other end of the line at Dadeland South before retuning to downtown and riding the Omni Loop of the MetroMover out to its School Board terminus and then back to the station closest to the hotel, whence we walk back to the latter. As we ride the north leg of the Metro, in particular, I observe that I can now see what my e-mail acquaintance means when he refers to Miami as "North Cuba" and a fourth-world city.

Our missing bags have arrived, so we take them up to the room and Chris rearranges their contents so that what was in them now goes with us, and what we no longer need with us (books we've finished and dirty clothes) go into the checked baggage. After another meal in the hotel restaurant, we go to bed mindful of the morning's early wakeup alarm.

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

We arise before dawn, to take a taxi before 7 am, to provide contingency against traffic snarls on our ride out to Amtrak, wanting to be there in time to check two bags to Charleston (they won't fit in our room). As it happens, there are no traffic delays, so we're there in plenty of time to check the bags (which goes smoothly) and try to file for our reimbursement for the missing sleeper space on Train 91, which goes nowhere. The local clerk says that since there's nothing in the computer about a missing sleeper on that train on that date, and the ticket stubs are not annotated, she can't do anything for us. We take that as meaning she can't be bothered.

When the train backs into the platform, the first class passengers are invited out from the makeshift lounge to board the sleepers, and I take the opportunity to walk the train to collect the consist.


P42                    190
P42                    205
P32                    506
Baggage            1736
Coach              25094
Coach              25011
Coach              25083
Coach              25091
Lounge             28009
Diner                  8531
Sleeper            62047    Village View
Sleeper            62025    Northern View
Sleeper            62007    Colonial View 

Train 98, 1-7-2010




8:40 am

8:40 am
Hollywood 9:04 9:03-14
Ft. Lauderdale 9:20 9:27-32
Deerfield Beach 9:38 9:47-50
Delray Beach 9:52 10:01-03
West Palm Beach 10:17 10:21-26
Sebring 11:44 11:51-54
Winter Haven 12:30 pm 12:30-34 pm
Kissimmee 1:16 1:19-22
Orlando 1:43
Winter Park 2:14 2:11-14
De Land 2:56 3:05-10
Palatka 3:46 3:55
Jacksonville 5:10
Jesup 6:53 6:53-58
Savannah 7:57
Yemassee 8:52 8:47-52
Charleston 9:48 (d) 9:44 (a)

Silver Meteor Route Description

I take detailed route descriptions from Miami to West Palm Beach, where darkness had fallen going south. Chris eats breakfast in the diner, and brings me back her croissant and yogurt. From Miami, NRHS Regional Vice-President Sam Boldrick and his partner are on the train. Bill and Beth Gill board at Sebring. Both are in the coaches. We eat lunch before Orlando. I again take detailed route descriptions on the stretch through Palatka that I had missed at lunchtime on Tuesday. We eat dinner north of Savannah, on a stretch of the A-line that throws the trucks of the 60+ year-old diner back and forth alarmingly while the staff is trying to carry food and drink to the tables and dishes away.

At Charleston, our pre-ordered limousine is waiting for us and the Miami guys (the Gills have pre-ordered a taxi). When the limo. driver finds out that Chris used to live here, 55 years ago, he asks if she remembers 'the narrow bridge over the Cooper River', and then points ut the cable-stayed bridge that has replaced that, within the last few years. Our hotel proves to be right in the historic district of Charleston. However, the fountain with horse sculptures outside the entrance shows how cold it is, with icicles hanging from the horses!

In the hotel, we greet Barry Smith, Greg Molloy, John Fiorillo, and Marge Erich, who shows us the ring that John has given her. In our room, we go right to bed.

In Charleston (1/8-1/10)

Friday, January 8th, 2010

We've arranged to have a late breakfast with the Gills, which we do at 10:30 am, after greeting and conversing with many others this morning. Kristen Olszewski, of Fernley & Fernley, greets me by name, and it transpires that we've been pointed out to her as the people who travel by train right across the country, and thus provide the early deadline for putting meeting materials out on the website.

After eating, the Gills go about their business, and we head out sightseeing around the town. We walk south on Meeting Street, past the marketplace, several churches and a number of historic buildings, all the way to the park at the Battery, from which we can see Fort Sumter, a couple of miles away in the middle of the confluence of the Ashley River (west of downtown) and Cooper River (east). We consider the upper-30s (F.) temperature to be to cold for a boat ride out to the fort, although Barry Smith said he had gone out there yesterday. From the Battery, we walk back up East Bay Street, cross west on Broad Street, and continue north on Church Street, turning west through the old market buildings, where we get coffee and a soda and run into more colleagues.

Back at the hotel, we patronize the bookstore and a shop at which Chris buys a teddy bear dressed as an Orient Express Car Attendant. Later, at the Registration Desk, Jeff Smith has some storyboards for the new website, with different typefaces and layouts to choose from, so I sit down with him and Doug White to chat about them. For dinner, Chris and I walk back to Tommy Condon's Irish Pub, on Church Street.

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Today is the discussion day in the Committee-of-the-whole, where the NRHS Board of Directors discuss strategic planning, business models, governance, website redesign, and approach to conventions. Chris and I have lunch with Joe & Alissa Williams, John and Marge, John and Peggy Swigart, and Al Weber, at a small restaurant ("Toast") down Meeting Street, getting back late, but before the meeting has resumed. We later have dinner with Bill Chapman, Jack Hilborn, and Larry Dyer at Hyman's Seafood Restaurant, up Meeting Street, a maze of cobbled-together houses that is surely a firetrap. On the way out we see that Greg and his wife are also eating there, and say hello to them.

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

At the formal Board Meeting, there are a couple of affirmative votes regarding things presented at the discussion meeting on Saturday (telling management to proceed with the detailed development of the outlined strategic plan, and starting the process of developing new by-laws to implement the governance concept produced by the Governance Study Committee), and the adoption of Cedar Rapids, IA, as the site for the nationally-run 2012 Convention. After the meeting, we have lunch at Jenine's, a smaller restaurant north on Meeting Street, with Bob & Dianne Heavenrich, Joe Maloney and Bob Ernst.

We've kept the room, so can repair there for the afternoon, visiting the Starbucks across the street (King Street) on the east side of the hotel for coffee a couple of times. On the wall of the Starbucks are some old maps of Charleston, and some photographs from 1865 showing the city after General Sherman's troops had been here in 1865. Various stone churches are still standing, but the buildings are otherwise gone, and by comparing the locations of the churches with the wooden buildings sporting historic plaques saying they were built in the 17th- or 18th-centruies, we can see that these wooden buildings are just as much reconstructions as those in Warsaw, Krakow, and other European cities we've visited in the last five years.

We have dinner by ourselves at the Italian Restaurant just south of Tommy Condon's.

The Journey West (1/10-1/14)

Sunday, January 10th, 2010 (cont.)

At 8:30 pm, we go down to the lobby and check-out of the hotel. The limousine is waiting, with some other folks going to the station in it. When we get to the latter, the Gills are already there (they're going the same way we are, as far as Toledo, OH), along with Smoke and Helen Shaak (this is the first time I've seen Helen since we got to Charleston), John and Peggy Swigart, and Mia Mather, all of whom are going further north on this train than Washington, DC, where we and the Gills will get off it.

Five minutes before the train is due, I go out onto the platform to collect at least the front part of the consist (which can't be done from inside the train). I do this (and only this), and then head for our sleeper. When the train stops, the car attendant who drops off is the same one we had had going south, last week, who says that he believes the lack of a sleeper on that train was, indeed, entered into the computer. We board the train, and Chris walks through it to collect the rest of the consist, finding that most of our colleagues are riding coach (out of choice), and coming back with a printed consist from the conductor.


P42                   160
P42                    207
Baggage           1708
Coach             25055
Coach             25019
Coach             25027
Coach             25124
Lounge            28000
Diner                  8524
Sleeper            62023    Mystic View
Sleeper            62049    Winter View
Sleeper            62019    Metropolitan View

Train 98, 1-10-2010




9:48 pm

9:58 pm
Alexandria 7:20 am 7:14
Washington, DC (arr.) 7:46 7:31

We're asleep before the next stop..

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The attendant awakens us at 6:45 am (he says this is 45 minutes before arrival), and sure enough, we're at the platform in Washington Union Station at 7:31 am. We go to Club Acela and check-in, and then  Chris tries again to start the refund process on the Train 91 sleeping space. The agent in Club Acela can't help, but one out at the main ticket counter does, and is upset that the agent in Miami didn't do what was needed, and that the conductor on Train 91 didn't endorse the ticket stubs. Those stubs are attached to the resulting form, but we have a photocopy of them in case nothing happens with the form.

After 9:30 am, start of their validity, we buy day passes on the Washington Metro and head down onto the Red Line platform, taking a train west to Metro Center, where we transfer to a Blue Line train our to Franconia Springfield. At the latter, we take the same train back as far as Pentagon City, where we exit into the shopping center to find the restrooms, something to drink (coffee for me), and ultimately, something for lunch.

Back on the Metro, we head south on the Yellow Line to its southern terminus at Huntington Avenue, then north on the same line to its northern terminus at Fort Totten, where we switch to a Red Line train, two levels up, for the run back to Union Station, past the main-line passenger yards at Ivy City. Although it's now after 1:30 pm, we see no sign of an arriving Superliner train from the Chicago direction, so Train 30 isn't here yet. (The stock for Train 29 isn't in sight, either, and we will find out why, soon enough.)

After a little more than an hour back in Club Acela, the staff make the usual call for Train 29 passengers to gather at the west double doors, and when we're let out, it isn't to the waiting redcaps, but to be met by a couple of officious middle-level Amtrak managers, both statuesque black women, who tell us that there has been a problem with the stock for Train 29, and we've all be re-assigned new spaces, but not to worry, there's space for all of us. Then, they call off a partial list of names, not finding all of the people called, and not calling all of the people there. The woman in the fur coat assures us she will take us out to the train, but doesn't even know how to make the outside doors stay open! She sends the first group of people off to the train, but does not accompany them.

On the way down the platform, I collect the consist, noting the two FRA 'private' cars on the back, and the existence of only one Superliner Sleeper (and the Dorm car) as I walk past the milling mob at the door of the one sleeper to reach the front of the train. Fortunately, the sleeping car attendant does have the revised list of accommodations, and Chris and I are soon snug in Room 2. Bill and Beth Gill, however, a re-assigned from a Family Bedroom to a Roomette in the Dorm car, and are unhappy about this. The Amtrak managers are no on the platform next to the car door, with people milling about them. Clearly, not all is going well. These must be some of the managers who are making it difficult for Joe Boardman to move Amtrak in the direction he so clearly desires it to go!

(While Amtrak may have successfully re-accommodated all of the sleeping car passengers from Washington, those wishing to board the sleeper down the line were sent to the coaches, just as Chris and I had been on Train 91.)


P42                       72
P42                     197
Baggage             1751
Dorm                39016
Sleeper             32015
Diner-Lite         37016
Lounge             33029
Coach               34085
Coach               34024
Coach               34048
FRA Sleeper  DOTX221
FRA Theater   DOTX220 

Train 29, 1-11-2010



Washington, DC

 4:05 pm

4:29 pm
Rockville 4:29 4:53-59
Harpers Ferry 5:15 5:49
Martinsburg 5:45 6:12-15
Cumberland                 ET 7:14
Chicago                      CT 8:45 am 8:39 am

We finally depart about 25 minutes late. The dining car staff are almost as inefficient as the two managers in Washington, and are more than a half hour behind by the time we finally get seated for our 8 pm dinner reservation. We eat dinner with the Gills, and have a very pleasant conversation. In the morning, they will depart at Toledo, before we awake.

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

When I wake up in the morning, we're passing through thickly snow-covered Indiana countrynside, with the single track of the South Shore Line alongside to the north. As expected, we make up the lateness overnight, and are into Chicago early. It's cold in Chicago, though not as cold as on the way east, so after a couple of hours in the Metropolitan Lounge, we head east on Adams Street (where the temperature is 37 F., and there's no snow to be seen) to have lunch at Elephant & Castle, which fills up rapidly just after we get there.

After lunch, we stop at the bookstore across the street for a few minutes, and then return to the Metropolitan Lounge, where we watch the passengers for the Texas Eagle, Empire Builder, and California Zephyr depart before we do. When it's time for the Southwest Chief, a conductor takes the tickets, but the train is delayed into the platform, and then delayed there for a car to be inspected, before we can finally board (called at 3:35 pm, rather than the usual 2:45 pm). As usual, I collect the consist on the way down the platform. Our car attendant is Fred, whom we've travelled with before.


P42                       117
P42                          78
Baggage                1248
Dorm                   39044
Sleeper                32078    Florida
Sleeper                32118    Wyoming
Diner                   38000
Lounge                33003
Coach                 34001
Coach-Bagg.       31033
Coach                 34133

Train 3, 1-12-2010




 3:15 pm

4:10 pm
Naperville 3:50 4:43-46
Mendota 4:37 5:40-42
Princeton 5:01 6:00-02
Galesburg 5:53 6:57-59
Fort Madison 6:57 7:51-57
La Plata                    CT 8:06 9:03-07
Lamar                      MT 7:06 am 7:03-06
La Junta 8:15
Trinidad 9:50 9:48-50
Raton 10:56 10:46-56
Las Vegas, NM 12:38 pm 12:35-38 pm
Lamy 2:24 2:24-28
Albuquerque 3:55
Gallup 7:08 7:04-15
Winslow                   MT 8:50 8:55
Riverside                 PT 5:53 am 6:23-34 am
Fullerton 6:34 7:24-30
Los Angeles 8:15 8:06

We're out of our path on the Burlington Racetrack, so at one point we have to stop (5 minutes) for an inbound Dinky to cross over from the Aurora Transportation Center to the south track. There's as much snow out here as there was east of Chicago. Dinner is east of Fort Madison.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

By the time I awake, we're in Colorado, and on time. We eat breakfast across the La Junta stop, with a woman who leaves to get her smoke break at LA Junta, and a 30-year old man from St. Louis, who is a railfan but not a member of NRHS (though his grandfather was active), and knows Al Weber. He's heading out to Southern California for a rail photography trip, so we give him my website address and he goes off toe peruse it on his laptop, later commenting that "there's a lot of good stuff there". He's not very clued in to the size of the LA area, since although he wants to visit Fullerton and Cajon Pass (and perhaps Tehachapi), for photography he's staying in Ventura (because it's near the Fillmore & Western).

We eat lunch after Las Vegas, and dinner west of Gallup. At the time, the train is on time.

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

When I awake, before dawn, the train is stopped in San Bernardino, and is around 30 minutes late. It loses time at Riverside, because the dispatcher puts an on-time Metrolink out in front of us, and then loses more time to Fullerton, running behind that stopping train. Nonetheless, we're early into Los Angeles!

After getting the checked bags, we drive to Bristol Farms in South Pasadena, and then out to home, stopping at Acton for a short break, at Mojave to pick up lunch, and at the Post Office to get the mail, on the way. All is well when we arrive home.