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Amtrak Residency Dispatch, Part 1

I’ve spent the last two days on a train as part of my Amtrak residency. I rode from Denver to Emeryville in a compartment the size of a closet. I’m now in San Francisco and I’m listening to someone play the saxophone on the street beneath the window of my hotel. Tomorrow night, I’ll board the train again and head for Portland, Oregon. For now, I’m snuggled in what feels like an incredibly spacious hotel room at the intersection of the Financial District and Chinatown in San Francisco. Honestly, I’m grateful to be able to stretch my legs. The train’s been great so far, but it’s tight quarters for someone who is used to running most days. In Reno, I got off the train and walked the length of the platform briskly a couple of times. It wasn’t enough.

I am getting a lot of writing done on the train, but it is confining. I’m still working out whether it’s too confining or just what I need. I have met some interesting folks. There are two sets of honeymooners, one guy in head-to-toe camouflage, a couple of retiree scientists, and several young idealists. I’ve eavesdropped on some incredible conversations.

I’d probably post more often, but there was no wi fi on my first train and I spent hours plunged into cell service darkness. I don’t mind, really. I find it’s helpful to be off the grid. Sometimes, though, I’ll go to look something up and realize I can’t. It’s a bummer. Not a huge bummer, but still….

I’ll write a longer blog post about the experience when I’m done next week. For now, I’ll post some photos. The scenery has been incredible.

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Union Station in Denver, Colorado. My starting point.
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The Rockies. Always beautiful.
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In Utah, I think.
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Sunrise in Nevada. Somewhere along the Truckee River. I should mention that Amtrak provides ample coffee. Thank goodness.

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