All Aboard!

Well, we finally got some weather up in these parts, and though it only rained down here, I figured there'd be snow up the hill, so we got to finally do something I've wanted to do since we moved here: take a train ride from Colfax through the snow to Reno. It was a lot of fun, and here are a bunch of pictures of the ride. Stick with me to the end to get the little bit of fame that was added to my list on the trip.


We started at Colfax. There's one train a day. Ours was 45 minutes late.

The station in Colfax is not an active Amtrak facility (the train stops, but there is not an agent here); instead, it is filled with museum-stuff, like this beer that Wile E. Coyote would love.

At first, we were treated to some views of an un-snowy American River valley, which was draped with clouds.

But we soon got up into snow country, with dramatic skies. We had to find regular seats first and have our tickets validated, but then we could rush down to the viewing/lounge car. The car gave great views, with windows in front and above.

But not everybody was interested in the outside world. They just took up viewing space.

The best pictures came from the other side of Truckee. This is the Truckee River.

The snow started to smear the windows a bit on the downside.

We stayed at Harrah's, where we played a little poker. We were too early to see either of these excellent acts (Steelin Dan and Aeromyth are scheduled for February, it seems).

But we did stop by the Hash House A-Go-Go restaurant, which was fun. This is the breakfast menu. I didn't try the O'Hare of the dog.

On the return trip the next day, we started with a bit of sun. The Nevada side of the Sierras is very different from the western slopes.

The blue sky made for dramatic contrast.

Interstate 80 cuts a nice line across this hill.

By the time we got back up to Donner Lake, the skies were less congenial.

And it was hard to get a good look at Spaulding, but it looks like there's a little bit of ice on it.

So the trip had a volunteer from the California Railroad Museum along to narrate. He told us many interesting things. At Lake Spaulding yesterday, he mentioned that some interns had told him it was a great source for trout. When I saw him in the snack area, I told him that I thought Lake Spaulding was the best lake for kayaking in Nevada County.

The next day, when we got to Spaulding, he told the passengers: "Yesterday, a man stopped by to tell me that he had been kayaking on every lake in the Seven Western States and Lake Spaulding was by far the best."

Not sure how we went from best in the county to this inflated view of my kayaking experience, but I guess that's how legends are made!

I overheard the woman next to me saying on her phone that he hadn't yet told the bear story, and she was very, very disappointed. I'm disappointed, too; I have no idea what the bear story was.

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