El Paso to Los Angeles

6:30AM PST Monday December 28, 2015 (time of writing)

We sat at El Paso station for a while, then we were on our way. I guess I never appreciated how close the Mexican boarder is in El Paso, and we were pretty close to it for the first 15 minutes after leaving the station.

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A Mexican border sunset! With snow! You can see the border fence in the lower half of the picture.

After passing through El Paso, I did some things on the computer to kill time before my dinner reservation. I might have taken another nap.

They started late on dinner and were falling behind on schedule with the reservation times. I figured that I should go up to the lounge car to hang out and read on my Kindle while waiting for the last hour before my dinner reservation time.

They finally called it. And the dinner special, Salisbury steak, was delicious!


Amtrak staff had me sit down with a mom and her daughter, and later on an elderly man sat down with us. We had some good conversation. The mom and daughter were returning home as well as the elderly man. We talked about our train experiences, the crazy weather back in Texas, and retirement in general. The elderly man, I found out, is a retired electronics design engineer who worked on the first cell phone for the military. Whoa. And he stayed with whatever company that was until they forced him to retire, which he didn’t mind though he stressed that he could have kept working.

We parted ways after our meals. After leaving the dining car, I hit up the cafe for a post-dinner drink. It was red, dry, and had notes of grape. That pretty much knocked me out at 9PM, and I didn’t really wake up until Tucson.

A larger man sat right next to me while we were in Tucson. He was clearly sick with a cold and he coughed up a lung every so often. And he talked to himself. I tried falling asleep again, but in the back of my mind, I was trying to come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably get sick after sitting next to this guy.

I was slightly frustrated that he sat next to me, but ultimately I felt bad for him because I can tell he was having a miserable time because he’s sick and he couldn’t fall asleep so easily. I just kept trying to fall asleep to pass the time.

At around 2:30AM, I woke up and got up to start packing up my things. I knew we’d be arriving in a few hours and my sick companion was in such a position that I could step past him into the aisle. When I finished, we apparently hit the Pacific time zone, and I got confused because I saw that my phone read 2:00AM. Did I just time travel–again?!

I get back in my seat and drift off to sleep. At some point my companion takes over the empty seats in front of us because the previous occupants left and disembarked at a stop.

A few hours later, and we stopped in Los Angeles!

The Pacific Surfliner, which I’m taking to San Diego, pulled up at about the same time so I didn’t need to wait in the cold (how is LA sooo cold this morning?!) for too long.

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My new view for a while

I’ll try not to fall asleep so I don’t miss out on palm trees, mountains, beaches, and In-N-Out’s.
-JD

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