Thursday, April 27, 2017

On The Road Again - Days 6 - 7

At 3 AM I was up already up, preparing to get off the train, though my bags were mostly packed from the night before.   I was just anxious to get the show on the road.   

My outfit was ready, so I shaved and dressed and went down to the lobby to wait for the cab the bellman had ordered, to deliver me to the Amtrak station at 7AM.   It arrived in a timely manner, and there was very little interaction with the driver…and no “S” word.  When I got to the station, I went to the Magnolia sleeping car passenger waiting room.

An employee was there and let me in, identifying me from my ticket and former employer’s ID card (which doesn’t show age or gender), giving me the code to the electronic door lock (they have a problem with vagrants sneaking in.)  Another lady was already there, and we chatted a while.  Then I went out to take some pictures, and when I let myself back in, I heard clapping and “Good Girl! I knew you could do it!”   It’s the first time I’ve heard that phrase used to compliment me!  

Here is a picture of me in the Magnolia Room, taken by the lady...

And things kept getting better. 

A few minutes later, more folks came in, and chairs started filling up.  Then 4 young guys (20-somethings) with British accents came in and sat down across from me.   Feeling a bit better about my abilities to communicate like a woman, I asked them where they were from (vacationing from South Africa), and they started talking.  Just like guys do.   A few questions from me, kept them going.   Soon the only vacant seat left was next to me, because many of the rest were couples.   A woman came in and asked if the seat was available.  I assured her that it was, and she sat there, thanking me for the seat, and we chatted a few minutes, till it was time to board the train.  

Some of the folks I’d spoken with were in my car, others not.   But I was “Ma’am” or “Miss” when they greeted me as I passed by them, and in the dining car.  Obligingly, the dining car staff followed along and noted that I’m a woman.    They went out of their way to seat me at a table with other women.  This continued as the trip went on…two days and two nights.  

There was only one cranky old male “Grinch” who seemed to recognize my true gender.  Early on, when he passed me in the aisle, he said “Excuse me Sir – oh, Ma’am.  Sorry. )  An accident?    Naaahhh - intentional.   But for some reason, he changed his tune later in the trip and stuck with Ma’am.  Perhaps hearing it from others made him reconsider his analysis of me?  Naaahhhh.  Just trying to be polite….after initially being a butt-head.  Fortunately, his attitude didn’t prevail with others!   

Clearly this was the most enjoyable Amtrak rail voyage I’ve had so far – with the most social interaction that Mandy has ever experienced.  (Of course, not counting the private car trip to LA a couple years ago.  That stands alone, in its own right.)  There were compatible female table mates at every meal, and the ladies related to me as a woman., talking about things like how women get “talked down to” and so on.  Mandy was definitely experiencing a taste of “life as a woman.”   Other than the Grinch, there was no clue that anyone thought I was anything but what I appeared to be.   It was was a wonderful and very affirming experience.    I hope it continues as my trip unfolds.

And Mandy was the only woman in the 2 sleeping cars who was wearing a skirt.   Go figure.

I took the following picture of an interesting cloud formation at sunset on the first evening on the Sunset Limited:

Reality says it was actually a central Texas pop-up thundershower.  With today's world political situation, initially it appeared to be something a lot more sinister and devastating.    Thankfully that wasn’t the case.

And here is a picture taken by the car attendant, of me during a passenger stop in the little burg of Alpine, TX.


Then another by the car attendant, in Tucson, AZ.  He said he takes a lot of pix for people as souvenirs.  (I quietly wondered how many are trans folks?  We'll never know!)

Stand by...more to come!



  1. It seems like you had a great experience. I would not be too harsh on the older man who may have just been a bit confused. For many one of the certainties in life is a grasp of their own gender and the gender of those they encounter. For us who are comfortable with gender fluidity that is not an issue but for civilians it can be confusing.
    I would expect at some point we will get a more detailed posting of what you wore, when and where you wore it and how folks reacted to your various presentations. Also an occasional photo my be nice.

    1. This trip definitely was fun. I hope to try it again next year, using different routes to see different sights. And I plan to work on my wardrobe a bit, as well as to plan a hotel which has guest laundry facilities, so I can bring fewer everyday things and some more girly stuff.

      As an aside,my outfits seemed to "not" attract undue attention...well, except from the one female lounge car attendant. But you'll hear about that in due course!

      You can see by the addition of appropriate photos that it took me a while to get things in order. Just takes time! Hope this helps illustrate my attire!



  2. Hi Mandy,

    What a lovely start! Too bad about that one guy, maybe this was his first encounter with one of us? Looking for the positive.

    When you let yourself back in and got that compliment, was it for your good looks? :-)

    Have a blast girl!


    1. Hi Jen,

      No, I think the guy was just having a bad day. By and large, I was well accepted by everyone. I was not only surprised, but shocked, at my reception, even in the south. And not just on the train...basically everywhere.

      No, I don't think my "good looks" was a part of it...LOL. (She was quite friendly...) But you're a better judge of that. Check out the photos I've added!