California Zephyr: We all only drink and make merry when traveling in the train :)

Rocky Mountains
One of the first towns that we stopped, its a gateway to close by ski resorts

Sam looked unapproachable when I sat opposite her in the viewing car, though I was intrigued by her book and wanted to ask more questions about it. She shut me off by suggesting that she would give me the book if she finished before the Salt Lake City, unfortunately that never happened and I never got the book :)

More Rocky Mountains
The beautiful Colorado river

But we did started talking, especially after she told me about her fascination with the Trans Siberian Railway, something even I have dreamt of doing since my school days. Marcus joined in as well and we had some super fun conversations, He also had some beer which he shared with us, apart from all the stories about the super expensive ranch he worked for. Already a little happy with the beer, we realized we needed much more booze, and purchased a gallon and half of locally brewed beer from Glenwood Springs. We ran and managed to catch the again, and it was a sprint that was witnessed by many of our co-passengers as we realized later. Sarah and her kids joined us as well and we all played many rounds of Uno together, all the while discussing some real interesting things.

Sam's reflection
Marcus, Beer and me :)
Hmmm...I captured the same mountain in the onwards journey as well, beautiful nevertheless
It was late afternoon, and the sky was fantastic

Fairly drunk already when Marcus got down, we were joined by the extremely tanned ski instructor Carl from Australia, and with him around wine flowed :) He bought wine for everyone around, played music on his iPod, told us how much he hated the Salt Lake city. We kept drinking till Sam and Carl got off the train got off at Salt Lake City, and I kind of felt bad about them getting ff too soon. For a while I was tempted to get off with Carl for the big house party that he invited us to, and with the kind of spirits he had, any place would have been fun!

Some more fantastic sky...
The light is almost heavenly, almost sunset...
Hiding sun?
Hmmm...I went mad with the camera at time, while the rest happily played Uno :)

Scott the Germany born military man was already waiting with a bottle of red wine for me when I came back to the lounge coach (I am just amazed by the generosity of the co-passengers wrt alcohol in the train). Soon the super fun and already extremely drunk Maria and her mother came in laughing, and I joined them for some mid-night snack. I also had my first Avocado and loads of chocolates with them while Scott and Terence discussed philosophy.


Train in motion? (lame caption)
Carl with the lady from Reuters
Salt Lake city station
Maria's mom with all the food :)

It feels weird now to be sober, but I am enjoying the afternoon nevertheless. I just met the travel writer couple David and Kay, who travel around the country everywhere, visit the National Parks, stay over at different lodges and write about them. Its always amazing to meet fellow travelers, though I do not by any means travel as much as they do. Not to mention the high school kid Andy who had traveled all the way from Michigan to meet his girl in Roseville and the cards couple who taught me the game of Rummy, and I certainly had quite a bit of fun playing with them.

More stunning mountains...the beauty just never gets over
Things getting dry...before snow suddenly came and stayed for hours around us
Kay and David :)

The train is almost empty now, and its already tough to remember the people I met and the conversations we had. From the intense Republican vs Democratic debate last afternoon, to the late night highly charged discussion between Carl and the train conductor, I enjoyed it all. It was great to just talk about Obama and his healthcare reforms, and to know how the youth felt about the US economy, traveling, going to the college (which seems to be kind of low on priority for many), perceptions about India and so on. I always felt so welcome with everyone, young or old, republican or democrat, there never was any hint of discrimination at all. It never mattered that I was a non-white, non-American, asking such uncomfortable questions, drinking, flirting and just joking around with them.

Its just so amazing how one train trip helped me connect with so many Americans, as against the three months I spent in Palo Alto and Stanford. I am at a loss of words to express how I feel right now with my train trip coming to an end. I do hope to keep in touch with at least some of the people I met on the trip, these amazing people who made my journey so worthwhile...

Read this - Top 5 unmissable journeys by rail by Lonely Planet and you will see this one as well :)

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Just an update...I finally do exist on Facebook - Sid the Wanderer :)

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