This Blog

This is a blog to show off my needlework, mainly crazy quilting, beading and crochet. It makes me happy to create these things and even more happy to share the fun with friends. Pictures of my beading projects are at

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Amtrak to California

California Zephyr in Grand Junction, Colorado
 What a great trip: cross country by train! I've been home two weeks already, hard to believe.

I left Washington, DC, Union Station at 4:05 pm on August 25 on the Capitol Limited to Chicago. Connected with the Southwest Chief to Los Angeles; Pacific Surfliner to Oceanside, California. Rented a car to visit my friend Ann in Carlsbad. Returned on the Surfliner to Los Angeles; Subway to Long Beach for a stay on the Queen Mary. Then the Coast Starlight to Oakland; Amtrak thruway bus to San Francisco for the Embroidery Guild of America Seminar. Home on the California Zephyr to Chicago and the Capitol Limited back to DC. I love riding the train. These routes have some of the most spectacular scenery to be seen in the country.

I didn't take any pictures while visiting Ann. On the way to Oceanside, though, I took this picture of the ocean with my cell phone and texted it to my son with the message "The Pacific." He returned the following picture with the message, "The Atlantic." Tee hee.

The Pacific

The Atlantic

I absolutely love the Queen Mary! It is so posh and so historical. Lots of exhibits and tours. I took the Ghosts and Legends tour into the bowels of the ship and heard about the ghosts of a girl drowned in the first class swimming pool (no longer in use), workers killed in boiler accidents and sailors killed in a collision during World War II when the Queen Mary was a troop carrier called the Gray Ghost. I went to the Aquarium and browsed a bookstore, but spent most of the time on the ship. The second afternoon I sat in a deckchair and read my novel like a luxury passenger, rather than going back across to Long Beach proper. Sigh!

Queen Mary Hotel

The original passengers could choose fresh
or salt water for bathing

Room had beautiful wood panels and furniture with marble tops

Great tour.

This was my first trip to San Francisco. I did some touring, although not as much as my roommate did. She was Violet Anderson from New Hampshire who I had not met before. We got on famously.  The hotel was within a few blocks of Chinatown, which I shopped twice and of Union Square, meeting place for a walking tour of the Victorian houses that survived the 1906 earthquake. I didn't ride the cable car. They were always way too crowded for me when I was out - lines to board. Seeing them was enough. One evening, in search of a restaurant, Violet and I walked almost all the way up Nob Hill. Puff, puff!

Chinatown in San Francisco

I'll blog about the seminar in a separate post. Loved my classes.

One the way home, I was on the same train with Fern, a friend of Violet's from Massachusetts. We ate breakfast and dinner together with the woman from her adjoining roomette. Good company.

The trains were ahead of schedule mostly except for the Coast Starlight (someone committed suicide by jumping in front of it just as we got close to Oakland) and the California Zephyr after Omaha. How it lost two hours across Iowa and Illinois, I don't know, but I  made my connection.

These memories are more to make me sigh when I hear the train whistles from my office early in the morning. 

For more pictures than you want to see, go to

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