January 7, 2010

Trip Start Jan 05, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2010

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Where I stayed
Quality Inn

Flag of United States  , Colorado
Thursday, January 7, 2010


Woke up this morning to a stunning sunrise over the mountains of Utah. Light pink silhouetted the rocks ahead, and a brilliant red streak shot straight into the sky. We ate breakfast in the dining car. In Amtrak dining cars, they often seat strangers next to you, which makes for a splendidly awkward meal. We were near Helper, Utah, which apparently was named after someone who, I don’t know, apparently helped someone out at some time or another. “Anyone have any ideas for naming this here town?”

“We could name it after an important person.”

“Like who?”

“Well, gee, I dunno. There was that guy last week that helped me put the wheel back on muh wagon.”

“Good gracious, that’s a helluva deed. What be his name, man?”

“I dunno. But he sure was a lot of help.”

“I know! Let’s name the town Helper!”

“Great idea! All in favor?”

(16 “ayes”)

“Then it’s settled. We’ll name the town Helper, Utah. And I’ll be mayor.”

“But why do you get to be mayor?”

The argument over who will be mayor of Helper still rages today. But that’s a story for another time.

Breakfast was nice. I had a cheese omelette with scallions and tomatoes. The sun was incredibly bright and made the frozen snow sparkle a million sparkles, like a million little micro people were taking our pictures as we passed.

Went through some very nice scenery around the Utah/Colorado border. Ruby Canyon is amazing with its red walsl and the Colorado River cutting through its middle. We saw quite a lot of wildlife today. Two elk, two mountain goats, a bald eagle (which is only the second I’ve ever seen, and the first was on the train last year), several ducks and geese, and also a large herd of what I believe were a deer-goat-gazelle hybrid that the army has been working on and must have escaped.

Around one or two o’clock, the conductor made an announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen and children (like they matter) this train will be terminating at Denver.”

Whaaaa? Whatever do you mean, conductor? Please continue. (I don’t know if you like George Carlin conductors or Ringo Starr conductors, but for my story lets say its Ringo, because I like the accent. Mind you, in real life there was no accent, except for American which isn’t funny unless you’re from somewhere other than America.)

“Due to bad weather east of Denver,” Ringo continued, “this train will go no further east than Denver. Amtrak will put you up in a hotel for the night, and the train will continue on tomorrow evening. That’s right white trash couple traveling to Detroit, you’re stuck in Denver for twenty-four hours, in case, you specifically weren’t listening. Thank you.”

So we’ve hit a major set back. So the new trip motto is “Let’s make lemonade,” which is totally lame but it makes Michelle laugh. So we will no longer be traveling to New Orleans this month. Instead we will head from Chicago straight to Washington, DC, and spend some extra time there before heading to New York, and continuing the trip, hopefully, as scheduled.

Amtrak has given us a very nice hotel room at a Quality Inn, plus they even gave us a voucher for food at the restaurant next door, which was closed, but this one guy said that they’ll reimburse us for the pizza we ordered from Papa John’s. It’s strange, but I’ve been sitting in this hotel room for a while listening to trains going by. Anyway, the Quality Inn has a great bar downstairs that doesn’t have any beer on tap, or even a soda gun. They do, however, have a great selection of imported bottled beers including Michelob Ultra. Michelle even got to teach the “bartender” how to make a kamikaze. I almost didn’t puke when I tasted it! It’s at least -5 degrees here. Lemonade!
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