Tuesday, May 2, 2017

On The Road Again - days 10 & 11

Monday morning found me back on the train again, and in a skirt, of course.  This was my outfit...but without the sandals. I didn't wear them at all.

The day started with me being seated at a table of women for breakfast in the diner.   No problem…the staff is generally nice like that, I enjoy being seated with women, as well as being included in their discussions.  There was no indication or evidence that any of them interpreted me as “a man in a dress” – even with my poorly-disguised voice.   I did have a slight cough and some raspiness, and that would have helped had anyone commented,  (but they didn’t.)   Yes, it’s a real pleasure to be included.

I took lunch in the Pacific Parlour car, a specially-outfitted (translation - luxurious) sightseer lounge car, for sleeping car passengers only.  Very nice, even if I ended up alone.  Most of the others ate in the diner.   But I didn't like the Parlour's dinner menu, so I took my evening meal with 3 other women in the diner.  Then I scooted into the luxurious seats in the Pacific Parlour car to watch the sun set.

Arrival in Sacramento was very close to on time, but at a late hour (just after midnight.)  And by the time I got settled into the hotel (a floating historic restored river steamboat) and ready for bed, it was 1:30 AM (which was 4:30 AM Eastern time.)   It took 3 alarm clocks to get me moving at 7 AM (10AM Eastern.)  No wonder my bags are so full!

After getting dressed in my long skirt outfit, I went for breakfast and was given the last table for 2 in the dining room, with a river view.   Right after they brought my orange juice, a woman gingerly approached my table and asked if the other seat was occupied.   Of course I said no, and she thanked me and sat down.

We’ll call her “Ms. M.”  By her accent (and self-admission) she identified herself as from England.  She was very interesting to talk with, having spent the last six months on a sabbatical from her employment, traveling all over the far east (translation: Cambodia, Vietnam, and so on.) 

Her trip was drawing to a close, and she had a ticket to ride the same train number to Chicago as I will be, but her departure is a day earlier.  (From there she goes to Maine, then Boston, then England.)   I kept asking her questions and she kept on talking, so I didn’t have to. 

I told her that I’m not sure I’d have been able to do what she just did (getting myself a seat at someone’s table), and she said that traveling gives you that ability.   "You’re drawn to friendly-looking women who speak English, and you don’t let them get away!"    OOOoooKKKkkkk.

We had a great time chatting, and there was no indication that she thought I was anything but a woman.  We wished each other well as we parted ways.  I hope she has a good trip home, but I’ll never know for sure – nor will she about me.  I did not pursue exchanging addresses.  For obvious reasons, I don’t need the problems that could generate on the home front.   But I made sure that my wife knows Ms. M sought the seat at my table.  

During my short stay, I visited the California State Railroad Museum, just a block and a half from my hotel, and took in the very authentic “Old Town.”    If it weren’t for modern vehicles and paved roads,  the area could pass for a frontier town.

Mandy at California State Railroad Museum - long live mirrors when you're alone!  Without them, it's hard to find a safe place to balance a camera, so the self timer can work!

Old Town, Sacramento

That night, I once again ate in the dining room at my hotel.  And further…guess which table (and which chair at that table) the waitstaff gave me?  Yes, I missed chatting with Ms. M.  Dinner was tasty, and then came time to pack for the trip home, which started next morning.

More to follow.




  1. If you look like a woman, act like a woman, present as a woman than you are accepted and treated as a woman. Congratulations.
    It really does seem as if all of the woman you encountered on this adventure accepted you into the clan as one of their own. You do make me a touch jealous.

    1. I guess your statement is true...at least that's my experience! Thanks for the kind words!

      The opportunity to do this adventure was created by the budget fight brewing for next year's federal budget. I was able to take advantage of it, since I had travel points to offset part of the cost. (Now I just hope that Amtrak survives as-is.)

      The best plan is to create your own adventure, in your own way, even if it is only a weekend. In my case, in the past it has been car shows and the annual antique show. Because of the past two weeks, these will now seem rather mundane!

      Does work ever take you out of town, that you could arrange in advance to come home one overnight late? If so, that might work. Or if you are out of town solo, maybe go out for dinner dressed. One baby step at a time.

      I wish you all the best in moving forward. It just takes a long time.



      PS: Retirement helps a lot with the time factor...

  2. Mandy -

    I've been to that museum - and loved it. While you were in Sac'to, you might have enjoyed the "underground" tour, where they tell you about how they raised the old city up by 6-14 feet to avoid floods. Wish I could get there again soon.


    1. Marian,

      Had I known about that when I was planning my visit, I could have extended it by a day to leave plenty of time. Well, that's good reason to hope Amtrak doesn't disappear, so I can go again!

      That reminds me of the Seattle underground tour we took a few years back. Same thing...the first floors of downtown buildings became the basements, when they raised the streets! Have you ever been on that one?