The Sunset Limited, San Antonio to Los Angeles
We spent just a couple of days in San Antonio and I wish we could have stayed much longer. So much to see and do in the area. Anyone taking the Sunset should consider a layover there.
The Sunset arrives at the wonderful hour of 3:00 AM. but our reservation happened to be in the car waiting from the Texas Eagle so they permitted us to board early. When traveling from Chicago to LA on the Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited it isn't necessary to switch trains. They take the cars off the Eagle and put them on the Sunset, you could sleep right through it. Many aboard our car had retired for the night and we were very careful to be quiet on our way to room C, again. We were looking forward to seeing west Texas so we turned in right away.
We got up with the sun and went to breakfast where we sat with a true railfan named Greg. He was returning home to El Paso. Greg had a scanner and having lived in Texas all his life he knew a lot about what we were seeing out the window. There were a lot of animals to be seen in the early morning hours near Del Rio. Some of the smallest deer I've ever seen as well as boars (Teri & Greg saw one, I didn't) and goats. The stops are few and far between and the scenery was great.
When we entered Arizona there was announcement saying that we were no longer on mountain daylight time, we were now on mountain standard time. My watch was still on central daylight time so I took it off and set it an hour back, then I set it another hour back, then set it an hour ahead, but still not being sure I had it right, I put it in the suitcase until we arrived in LA. At Tucson our friends Harry and Carol from the Texas Eagle got on our car and it was like old home week. We had dinner together and watched one of the best sunsets I'd ever seen.
The train was held in Phoenix for an hour and a half (reason unknown) but we made the time up and arrived in Los Angeles at 7:00 AM.
We had a short wait in the station before boarding the San Diegan for San Diego (of course). This train has been described in reports by Harry Sutton so there's not much need for a long description. Had we not been going to San Diego I'd still have gone out of my way for this short run. If visiting Los Angeles this is a very scenic and easy way to go to San Diego just for the day. The train was nearly empty southbound but when we returned to LA, leaving at 5:00 AM the train was packed.
If you recall we had checked a couple of suitcases from St. Paul to San Diego when we left many days earlier. They contained clothes for the cooler climate we'd need on the second half of the trip and were waiting for us when we arrived. When we left San Diego we checked our warm weather stuff back to St. Paul. The luggage that we wouldn't need until Seattle was sent there a day earlier, leaving us with as little as possible to carry. This worked out perfectly and Amtrak was glad to do it. I once tried to get an airline to do the same thing but they refused saying that you could only check luggage on the plane you were traveling. I did and imagine my surprise when they put it on another plane anyway, but not the one I'd asked for.
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