Thursday, March 29, 2012

Train to Denver Trip: Day 2 & 3 - California Zephyr

We got up to drizzle and light rain on Tuesday morning in Davis.  After breakfast we grabbed our luggage and walked across the street to the train station to await the arrival of the California Zephyr.  The rain had let up so we stayed dry, but it was cool and windy.  Right on time at 10:36, the train arrived in Davis and we were on our way.
Val after boarding
 It was rainy all the way through Sacramento and the foothills of the Sierras, but very little snow on the ground.  As we climbed into the mountains the scenery was beautiful and as we reached the higher elevations, the rain turned to snow and we started to see snow on the ground.
Donner Pass
The snow was quite heavy at the higher elevations and the scenery spectacular.  We descended from the snow and the Sierras into Nevada and made a brief stop in Reno and then on across Nevada.
Northern Nevada
 We crossed most of Nevada and Utah in the dark and arrived in Grand Junction, Colorado mid morning.
Grand Junction, Colorado

From Grand Junction we climbed into the Rockies which would take most of the day.  We followed the Colorado River through spectacular canyons and beautiful scenery.
Colorado River in Gore Canyon

Rafters on the Colorado
The surprising thing about the Rockies was the lack of snow.  Even at the highest elevations we traveled through there were only patches of snow.  The weather has been very warm and there is a large wildfire burning outside of Denver because it's so dry.

We arrived in Denver at about six in the evening, got our luggage and called the hotel shuttle to pick us up.  The hotel is very nice right in downtown Denver.  Val went all out for this trip and got us a one bedroom suite with a fireplace (not really needed in this weather  :-(  ).

Train travel is not for everyone, especially if you are in a hurry, but we love it.  The leisurely pace, sitting in the dining car eating while watching the beautiful scenery go by, meeting friendly people, it's all good.  Now it's on to explore Denver.

Hi, Val here adding my two cents...  So far we couldn't ask for a better trip.  As Dave said, the train ride through the mountains was amazing.  The hotel we're staying in had a surprise waiting for us when we arrived.  We found a tray with chocolate strawberries, a bottle of champagne, and a very nice note wishing Dave a happy retirement (nice touch).  I mentioned this trip was to celebrate Dave's retirement when I made the reservations and they didn't miss a beat.  Well, we're off the see the sights of Denver and I can't wait to get started!

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