Chicago to Flagstaff Day 2: Things heat up and the scenery becomes more vivid

Wednesday 13 November 2019

I wake up at 4.55am after having not the worse night’s sleep I’ve ever endured. I’m curled up in a ball – the sheets were too tightly tucked in for me to get them out so I slept on top with a small blanket. Now – to face the train shower. I want to get in before anyone else – so I dash down the stairs and into the larger than expected shower recess and have a quick but pleasant refreshing hot shower. Both of us manage the feat of getting ready without too much difficulty. We are signed in for the 6.30am breakfast setting and have another beautiful meal. We have for all our meals the most delightful companions across the table and it is much more civilised sharing a meal with others than grabbing a bit to eat from the cafe.

The scenery outside has certainly changed – no snow for a start – a bit more rugged and green and you get the reds in the sand. We pass through Los Animos – which has the most striking courthouse. La Junta was pretty as was the town of Raton. Amtrak had given us a document with a paragraph for each of the 31 stops and interesting places we pass by on the journey. I must say my most favourite so far is Purgatoire River – yes that is how it is spelled.

After  another beautiful meal – this time lunch – I sat and read and pondered the changing views in the Observation car. We had a longer break at Albuquerque NM. By the time we are back on board it is 4ish and we only have an hour or so of daylight left. It is such a delight just to sit in the quiet of our room and watch the world go by. We have dinner – excellent again – I must say – the food is making up for the cramped accommodation. The train is late into Flagstaff and we don’t arrive until 10.04pm. We finally manage to get a cab to our hotel and check in around 10.45pm. Now – I set up the laptop for the first time in a couple of days to check on how we are going to get to the Grand Canyon tomorrow. I soon realise that while I thought the Grand Canyon historic train ran from Flagstaff to the Canyon – it actually leaves from ‘Williams’ – a small town 35 miles away and it leaves at 8.30am in the morning. So – I don’t panic – we have a cup of tea and a think – as you do! I book us online two return tickets on the Grand Canyon Train and then at about 11.45pm book us a cab to arrive at 7.15am in the morning to drive us to ‘Williams.’ So, all things being equal we should be picked up in 7 hours – take 45 minutes to drive to Williams and have tickets for the train awaiting us at the ticket booth. Leaving all these details with God I fall asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow.

early morning 5.30am
early morning 5.30am – the sun is rising
a bit more green and a bit more hilly and warmer
a bit more green and a bit more hilly
los animas
Courthouse in Los Animas – my picture was too blurred – but i need everyone to marvel at this extraordinary building
Raton NM
Raton, New Mexico – you can detect the Spanish influence
lovely scenery
lovely afternoon scenery from the observation lounge

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