Sunset Limited - any interesting scenery, specific side to look out?

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,952
Location
UK / France
Perhaps near Valentine, TX?
I looked up sunset times for El Paso in late February and they are around 6PM. Scheduled time for Alpine for #2 is 845PM so, you were still well west of there (dark that time of the year).

Thanks TinCan, we were too absorbed by the scenery and views to notice where we were, that is until Bob Dylan got on the train and visited with us.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,952
Location
UK / France
I'm getting tired of the low green to brown ratio of the desert. I'm tired of drought. I do like extreme aridity in terms of the way my body feels around it, but I don't like the fire threat that extremity brings. We have had 1% relative humidity quite a bit this spring. That's as low as it goes.

So you end up with the choice of higher humidity with a more colourful outlook or stay where you are? Is there a 3rd way, a place where part of the year is very dry and part has more humidity than you experience now?
 

George Harris

Engineer
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,352
Location
finally! Back in Mississippi
We took a guided tour which is unusual for us, used a small outfit run by local people (father, daughter and son) on what they termed is an Eco Tour, and it was. This is the company we used: Providing the best swamp, gators, and wildlife tour nature has to offer

We travelled in early October and found this an ideal time for visiting Louisiana and in particular visiting a swamp, on advice took the sunset tour, not for the sunset but the light level, heat and wildlife that was active.
Only saw a few Alligators due to a storm that had passed through the area some days before, can't remember the connection but that was given as the reason. Did pass by one medium sized Alligator basking on a floating tree trunk, one of our favourite photos of wildlife.
Sunset tour. Yes, the swamps have a beauty all their own, but, particularly with the sundown tour, how about those flying reminders that humans are not the top of the food chain? I mean mosquitoes. The caps you can buy in Louisiana with the outline of a mosquito and the words, "Louisiana State Bird" are truly justified. By the way, you may have seen more than one alligator. You may think you are looking at a mostly sunken log or a peeled retread until you notice eyes sticking up near one end.
 

Barb Stout

Conductor
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
1,090
Location
Albuquerque, NM
So you end up with the choice of higher humidity with a more colourful outlook or stay where you are? Is there a 3rd way, a place where part of the year is very dry and part has more humidity than you experience now?
Well, the SW desert does have its "monsoon" season which generally starts around my birthday (beginning of July) and goes through September. This is when most of the annual precipitation occurs with increased humidity, cooler temperatures compared to June, but can also bring storms with wind and lightning which can start fires if it's not also raining. "Dry lightning" is a dreaded and not uncommon phenomenon in the Southwest. I like the monsoon season in general because storms can make me sometimes feel energized.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,952
Location
UK / France
Well, the SW desert does have its "monsoon" season which generally starts around my birthday (beginning of July) and goes through September. This is when most of the annual precipitation occurs with increased humidity, cooler temperatures compared to June, but can also bring storms with wind and lightning which can start fires if it's not also raining. "Dry lightning" is a dreaded and not uncommon phenomenon in the Southwest. I like the monsoon season in general because storms can make me sometimes feel energized.

I suppose we have to be careful of what we wish for.

We are in a similar position but have almost the opposite landscape to you. Rolling hills, pastoral bliss with large oak forests, rivers and small fields bound by ancient hedges.
We take that kind of beauty as normal now and are looking for a change, we're also driven by the need to be closer to public services too, therefore living on the edge of a large town now feels attractive, but will we regret moving?

Photo from a couple of weeks ago, the neighbours...

s77056.1a.jpg
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Messages
1,435
I suppose we have to be careful of what we wish for.

We are in a similar position but have almost the opposite landscape to you. Rolling hills, pastoral bliss with large oak forests, rivers and small fields bound by ancient hedges.
We take that kind of beauty as normal now and are looking for a change, we're also driven by the need to be closer to public services too, therefore living on the edge of a large town now feels attractive, but will we regret moving?

Photo from a couple of weeks ago, the neighbours...

View attachment 28527

I would LOVE to have a view like yours! But a desert view is nice on occasion too.
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Messages
8
Location
Annapolis, MD
While it has been some time since I have travelled on the SL, I am always reminded on one of the best continuous rail trips I have had in my life. Back in the mid 1970's, there was a through sleeper from LAX to NYP via NOL--no change of trains or cars necessary. Handled by Amtrak SL; overnight layover in NOL using sleeper as hotel; then attached to the Southern Crescent on to New York. You get a taste of the variations of scenery for almost the whole of the United States for those four days. It was a great trip. Anybody else recall that sleeper??
We did a family trip in the 70s from DC to San Antonio. I remember the overnight on the sleeper in NOLA. We actually went to Cafe Du Monde for beignets in the morning. A highlight was being in the observation car and coming across Lake Ponchartrain at night in a lightning storm.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,226
Location
Washington State
We did a family trip in the 70s from DC to San Antonio. I remember the overnight on the sleeper in NOLA. We actually went to Cafe Du Monde for beignets in the morning. A highlight was being in the observation car and coming across Lake Ponchartrain at night in a lightning storm.
Never had a chance to ride it. It was started in October 1970 by SP and Southern as part of SP's negotiated agreement with the ICC to reduce the Sunset from daily to three days from daily in exchange for SP's restoring sleeping and dining service to the Sunset. IIRC, it ran until the Sunset went Superliner.
 

railiner

Engineer
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,869
Location
X
While it has been some time since I have travelled on the SL, I am always reminded on one of the best continuous rail trips I have had in my life. Back in the mid 1970's, there was a through sleeper from LAX to NYP via NOL--no change of trains or cars necessary. Handled by Amtrak SL; overnight layover in NOL using sleeper as hotel; then attached to the Southern Crescent on to New York. You get a taste of the variations of scenery for almost the whole of the United States for those four days. It was a great trip. Anybody else recall that sleeper??
I recall it…the overnite stay in New Orleans was a bonus for that trip.
At the same time period, you also had the option of the faster, “all-Amtrak” thru New York/Los Angeles sleeper via the Southwest Limited and National Limited connecting in Kansas City…
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,952
Location
UK / France
I would LOVE to have a view like yours! But a desert view is nice on occasion too.

Agree on both counts, but after a while it starts to become 'normal' to have these views as you step out of the door or turn a corner.

That doesn't mean that even after 16 years we aren't pulled up in our tracks quite often to say "thank you" that we were lucky enough to end up here, but this can apply to anywhere I think. There are some city views that take some beating too.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,952
Location
UK / France
Did any of the towns with stations get burned by the recent fires? Have the fires turned the scenery into ashes? I was thinking of taking this route again, but not sure what shape it's in these days.

As you know it was about 3 months ago we travelled as far as San Antonio TX with the Sunset section, it was our 3rd or 4th time on that line. Neither of us noticed anything markedly different to any of the previous train rides so it is probably just about the same as you remember.

We're both looking forward to meeting up with you again somehwere, please say hello to Bob and of course Lenny.
 

Barb Stout

Conductor
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
1,090
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Did any of the towns with stations get burned by the recent fires? Have the fires turned the scenery into ashes? I was thinking of taking this route again, but not sure what shape it's in these days.
Outlying parts of Las Vegas New Mexico got burned, but I don’t know if they are anywhere near the railroad tracks. I also do not know if any of the route along the southwest chief was burned so that you can see the burn scar. I suspect not, because I think I would have heard about it otherwise. But I don’t really know though.

Also the Bosque near the Rio Grande river in Albuquerque has burned a couple of times this year. Given that I can see and smell the smoke from where I live on the west side, I assume that people on a train which is closer to the Rio Grande river would have been able to detect at least smoke if not flames.
 

jpakala

Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
149
While it has been some time since I have travelled on the SL, I am always reminded on one of the best continuous rail trips I have had in my life. Back in the mid 1970's, there was a through sleeper from LAX to NYP via NOL--no change of trains or cars necessary. Handled by Amtrak SL; overnight layover in NOL using sleeper as hotel; then attached to the Southern Crescent on to New York. You get a taste of the variations of scenery for almost the whole of the United States for those four days. It was a great trip. Anybody else recall that sleeper??
Yes, I remember a friend who had a roomette from a city in New England (CT or RI) all the way to LA.
 

jpakala

Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
149
In early March on our Alton (IL) to Tucson trip a highlight was a vast orchard of pistachio trees (no foliage at the time). We a bit later learned: that's what they were, that we (mainly CA) produce many (Iran's major producer), and that arid (but irrigated as needed), "low disease pressure" land where "salinity is common" is important and that a certain number of generally non-successive days when temperature is even briefly down to 10 can be important. Here's a photo (south side of Sunset Ltd).
 

Attachments

  • 1653713896935.png
    1653713896935.png
    68 KB · Views: 0
  • 1653714116695.png
    1653714116695.png
    52.9 KB · Views: 0
Top