The spirit of the ‘Wild West’ was even more in the air when the train pulled in the gambling town of Reno (NV). I met a guy who got off at this station. He said he’d take a taxi ride into the hills and follow the routes taken by the prospectors who hunted for silver after the Comstock Lode discovery in the 1850s.
The Comstock Lode is a lode of silver ore located under the eastern slope of Mount Davidson, a peak in the Virginia Range in Nevada (then western Utah Territory). It was the first major discovery of silver in the US.
I went to the snack bar to buy a can of beer as the train left Reno and headed to Truckee (California). All of a sudden the landscape changed. After the train crossed the Forty Mile desert, I could see the snow-capped mountains of Sierra Nevada. Wow!
Traveling past the Donner Pass and the Donner Lake, on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, the train reached Truckee at 4.35pm. Here we entered the Pacific Time zone, which is three hours behind the ET. I changed to Pacific Time. After a brief halt, the train headed to Colfax (CA). It was 6.30 pm when the train reached Colfax.
An announcement was made in the car that the train was running one and half hours late. Sitting in the lounge, talking to a man who was traveling to Sacramento (CA), an old woman who was going to say goodbye to her dying sister in Emeryville (CA) and chatting with a septuagenarian from San Francisco who had gone to visit his ailing brother in Denver, I didn’t mind that the train was running late.
Even though I was in the train for more than two days, I wasn’t giddy or fagged out. I enjoyed every moment of this trip.
The train stopped at Roseville (CA), Sacramento (CA), crossed the Benicia Bridge and stopped at Martinez (CA) before pulling in Emeryville (CA), my final destination, at 10.15pm.
The 2438-mile journey across seven states comes to an end. Now, I’d pity the guy who says: “Hey, you spent two days on a train trip! It’s insane!”
I saw stunning landscapes with up-close views of mesas, mountains, cliffs and canyons; witnessed granite peaks and endless grasslands and got a glimpse of America’s pioneering spirit. I’m enriched.
Amtrak made it possible to experience what one could hardly see on a five-hour flight to LA from New York. I am convinced that if you want to see the mind-blowing vistas of America’s heartland—its pulsating prairies and plains, magnificent mountain peaks, captivating canyons and dreary desert, you must take a ride on Amtrak.
The journey across the land of Melville, Twain, Hemingway and John Steinbeck… is over, but the memories remain. Memories of beautiful minds. Memories of marvelous moments. Memories of soul-stirring sights. They remind me of Wordsworth’s famous lines from The Solitary Reaper:
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
Thank you, Amtrak.