Thursday, May 4, 2017

On the Road Again - Days 12 & 13

It was once again up early, because it was time to start the trek home.  In a skirt and top today, of course.  And it was with mixed emotions, because even after such a wonderful trip, it was time to get home to my wife and my familiar surroundings.

I had breakfast in the steamboat’s dining room again…delicious as usual, but with a different female server.  I was not identified as a woman, nor were any male or female greetings/.comments made.  She just did her job.    That's ok with me.

Below is a picture of the outfit I wore to begin my trip home, taken on the steamboat's balcony, just off the dining room.   At that hour of the morning, there wasn't much activity, even though the staterooms were sold out.  Yes, the free full breakfast was delicious!

Afterward, I stepped ashore, to get some pictures of the steamboat in the morning light.  A Sacramento Sunrise!!

My cab to the station arrived on time, and I got there quickly.   No gender-specific greetings.  I think the driver might have been a Grinch-in-training.  Nothing was said, but it's just a feeling I got.  Oh well...his problem, not mine.  I'll never see him again. 

At the station, while I was waiting for a Redcap, two separate large groups of inbound kids on school tours arrived, going to various city sites.   They sat (and stood) all around me.   I was expecting issues or comments, but none of them gave me so much as a second glance.  Apparently they were more interested in their friends and their tour than the TG woman in their midst.

I'm just glad I wasn't in the girls' room when 25 young girls crowded in, all at!

When the Redcap finally arrived, he interpreted me as female, and spoke accordingly as we piled into the jitney (a seven-person golf cart with a big trunk platform.)  Lots of others were in the jitney, and we exchanged names and car numbers.   This was apparently going to be another friendly traveling group.

Since my train was going to cross the Sierra Nevada mountains later in the day, a bunch of us agreed to get together in the lounge car after lunch, to watch the scenery from there.   And since the guys all sat together, the women all gathered where I was seated.  We had a good time talking and looking around, and took lots of pictures of of the scenery that the Sierras are famous for.   Such as:

Yes, there was snow...just not as much as I had expected.   In places I'd estimate 2 to 3 feet, much less in others.  Mostly toward the tops of the hills.  The conductor said that warm weather the past couple weeks caused the demise of most of last winter's record snowfall.

One of the women in our group sat beside me, in a seat for 2.  As in, shoulder-to-shoulder.  She noticed my camera, grabbed it and took a couple of pictures of me.    She liked this one best, describing it as a cute picture of a cute girl!

Dinnertime came, and I went to the dining car, where tables of four are filled completely.   The staff seated me at an empty table, which was fine.  And then a twentysomething woman and her sister (a mommy with  a 2-1/2 year old boy) came in.   They were seated with me, which was OK – I’m just one of the girls anyway.    We chatted, cooed over Dean (the baby), and had a good time, even though Dean was in his "terrible twos".   When they finished and left the diner, they said to the baby “lets’ all say good night to the nice lady.”  The little boy was a cutie.  Don ‘t you just love it…even youngsters weren’t having trouble with my presentation!

Our beds were made up when we got back from dinner…so it was time to retire for the evening.

The next morning, I went to breakfast early.  The staff seated me at a table, and I waited for some others to join me.  It turned out I was the only girl at a table with three men this time.   And one of them recognized that I’m a girl…he even referred to me as “she” several times in conversation during the meal.   And before long, the others were, too.

However, I’m getting ahead of myself here.  This is how I was dressed for the morning:

Before the waitstaff assigned any one else to my table, I overheard bits and pieces of a discussion between staff members (one 30something girl and two 20something guys.)   The discussion seemed to be about one of the guys who admitted to owning a pair of capri pants (complete with the little ties on each leg's hem slits.)  As near as I could tell (my back was to them) the guy confessed to having them, but not wearing them much.   The girl thought they were too girly for guys.    Then business got brisk in the diner,  and the capris discussion tapered off.

I haven’t worn capris (so far) on this trip.   Thus, I most likely wasn’t the direct cause of their discussion.  My plan was to wear capris for the last part of this leg as well as in Chicago, so I’m not wearing skirts at Union Station or on “my wife’s train.”

Two passengers on this train had already complimented my long skirt, which was very pleasant and much appreciated.   But after my meal, one of the older female train employees stopped me as I walked through the diner on the way to the lounge car.   “Honey, I really want that skirt.”  I laughed and responded with  “Thanks, sweetie.”   “Really - you look so cute in it  - as you sashay down the aisle, it flows so smoothly around you.  You look pretty, and I love both the colors and your outfit.”     Wow!   Me - sashaying?  Really?   I haven’t been consciously trying.   My femininity must be oozing through.

I told her where I got it.  She confessed to buying at thrift shops too.   Then she went into why she likes the longer style, to disguise her legs which she thinks aren’t flattering, and is why she only wears skirts no shorter than her knees.  I told her that my thighs are heavier than I’d want to show off to the world, which is why I like the longer skirts, but will also wear them knee length.   “Well honey, longer is in style now, so buy yourself several like that and wear them every day.”  My response was:  “I think I need some retail therapy, sweetie!   But I’d love to have and wear lots of them.”

We went through Azure Canyon afterwards, and the scenery is majestic:

Dinner was quite uneventful.   There were only two of us at the table, and the guy (in his 70’s) wasn’t at all talkative.  In addition, he was (or pretended to be) hard of hearing. And the male server referred to us as “guys.”   In spite of my earrings, engagement ring, makeup and lipstick, long hair, skirt, pantyhose, flats and purse.   So that was quite a letdown after the past few exciting days.   But hey, it is what it is…too many fun things happened, to let this little incident be a "downer."   Perhaps he automatically refers to everyone as "guys."  That has happened when my wife and I were out together, and we obviously aren't "two guys."   (Hmmm, not even one guy....LOL!)

To bed early: tomorrow Chicago, and a switch to “my wife’s train” for “coming down the home stretch.”   




  1. Great photos. I heard about the record snowfalls this winter and I understand that a few of the ski areas may stay open through June. Sounds like slush skiing to me.

    From the selfie you posted is that a family room. It looks like a selfie I took this year on the auto train.

    Referring to two diners as "guys" is generally non-specific. My wife and I have been called "guys", "folks" and other generic terms. I would not put any spin on that.

    I really think that after I retire we will likely take the train across the country. I think we would both like it. If you had asked me 8 years ago if I would have been retired by 2017 I would have said yes but the Obama economy trashed that idea for me. Hopefully in 2 more years.


    1. Thanks for the kind words about the photos. As you probably can tell, I enjoy taking them!

      Yes, the room was what Amtrak calls a family bedroom. The opportunity presented itself in a way "I couldn't refuse" so I went ahead with it even though it cost more. Inflexible dates for the trip were the culprit.

      I suspect you're right about the "guys" thing. Wifey and I were in Ruby Tuesday yesterday and we were "ladies" when we were greeted and seated, but "guys" from the server. So it's OK...

      Regarding your cross-country trip in two years: you might want to send a note to your elected representatives about your support for keeping Amtrak as-is. If they cut out funding for the long distance trains, you won't be able to make your trip...the longest train ride will be Washington to Boston, or maybe California will fund LA to SFO (And that might be part way on commuter trains.) We've expressed our support...additional supporters are encouraged to write.

      FWIW, there were people boarding and/or detraining at almost every stop on my trip. Even the stops that have a bus shelter or wooden lean-to for a station, and their "platform" is the middle of the road in a grade crossing. (Can't speak for the stops in the middle of the night, though.) So much for the theory that "nobody rides trains anymore."

      Uncertainty about Amtrak's future is precisely why I made the trip now, as opposed to when it would have been much more convenient...this fall or even later.