Pt. 4 San Antonio to Los Angeles

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Sep 9, 2006
Colfax, WA (CFX)
The difference in the crews between the Eagle and Limited was like night and day. The young woman in the dining car on the Eagle was very friendly and accommodating. On the Limited, however, the dining car attendant, while good at his job, was not very outgoing at all. Very quiet. And Erroll, the SCA on the Eagle, while not the best I've had, was by no means the worst. Donald, on the Limited, however, wasn't much. I don't require a lot of attention,but the one time I did ask of him, to put the bed down, he acted as though it was a huge burden to him. I rarely saw him and made no attempt to interact when I did.

Anyway, I was asleep during all the switching in San Antonio and when I awoke, near Del Rio, found we were already 45 minutes behind. Freight congestion out of San Antonio, I guessed. When we went to breakfast I was surprised to see none of the tables in the diner closed. When we inquired about this, the dining car attendant said that the sleepers were full and there would be people standing in the halls half the tables were closed. Hmmm. It didn't matter, however, as many passengers are in their rooms and the dining car was not crowded at any time.

As we rolled along West Texas I was surprised to see how green it was. We were 45 minutes late into Del Rio, and maintained that 45 minute deficit into Sanderson. Not far outside Sanderson, we slowed to a crawl, sped up slightly, and slowed to a crawl again. This kept up all the way into Alpine, as it turned out we were following a freight train. At one point, as we went to lunch, I heard a man in coach assert that we were in fact going at regular speed and it was an optical illusion that made it appear we were going so slow. According to my DigiHud app, which measures speed amongst other things, our optical illusion was going 16 MPH. Like other trains, meals in our rooms were encouraged but not mandatory. And unlike other trains, no reservations needed. Our attendant just told us when meal times were and we were free to show up whenever we wanted.

I was in hopes of losing the train ahead of us in Alpine, but no such luck. We did get up to speed out of Alpine but soon went back to crawling. The conductor told me we'd get past the freight train in the next town. Not up on my West Texas geography, for all I knew the next town was 100 miles away. Turns out the next town, Marfa, was 30 miles away. We did indeed pass that train-and another-in Marfa, and had little trouble with freight traffic after that.

At El Paso, I looked for the burrito lady but didn't see her. We were about 2 hours late out of El Paso, a deficit we cut in half by Tuscon. At Tuscon, we had a short visit with my uncle's brother in law and sister in law who live in Tuscon and who my uncle had contacted ahead of time.

It was right after we departed Tuscon when I asked to have the bed put down and Donald acted as if he'd rather have been staked out on an anthill at high noon than help me. He did, though, however reluctantly, and I was soon asleep.

I awoke just after Palm Springs to find we had lost a few minutes, nothing major, and we were projected to arrive in Los Angeles just 35 minutes late. With the normal arrival into LA, I was hoping we'd be later than that.

As the sun rose, we could see that the skies were very smoky due to q big fire in the area. We did arrive into LAUS about 35 minutes late. It had been arriving 2+ hours late, so, as Yogi Berra might have said, that was the earliest we'd bee late in awhile!!!😀

Next up:Coast Starlight
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MARC Rider

Apr 5, 2011
Baltimore. MD
As we rolled along West Texas I was surprised to see how green it was.
It might be green, but it's still desert. The green is cactus, agave, and other plants with spikes and thorns. It's actually a neat drive west on US90 from San Antonio, where it starts out being dry oak woods. By Uvalde it's mesquite brush, and between Uvalde and Del Rio you can see the vegetation slowly change to more desert type plants and you start seeing more bare soil between the plants. West of Del Rio, there's barbed wire along the highway, and there are cattle grazing, but I couldn't figure out what they were eating. As you approach Alpine, the elevation increases, and it becomes more grassland. It's one of the loneliest roads I've ever driven. I had to stop and take a "bio break" and there was absolutely no one in sight (and you could see for miles in all directions), and totally and absolutely quiet, except for the sound of the wind. Past Del Rio, it's a 2-line highway with a 75 mph speed limit. (and a 70 mph speed limit east of Del Rio, but watch for the speed traps in the little towns.)


AU Supporter
Aug 8, 2015
Los Angeles
I enjoyed watching the terrain change while traveling by train through Texas, the plains around Marfa caught my attention because of the epic movie GIANT. The desert around Los Angeles was really green this year WITH a lot of vegetation growth.