Time to Head Back East Through the Rockies

Before we board the train to head east, there is one more stop in California to tell you about.. The San Gregorio store. A must-do if you are in the San Jose area, this general store has a little bit of everything from books to clothes to food to kitchenware, crafts… all in a relatively small area. Jerry found a top hat:

Jerry with tophat and mask, a COVID picture we will hopefully look back on with relief (that we don’t have to wear masks anymore.)
The cashier section and coffee bar of the San Gregorio store.
The Post office in the San Gregorio building.
Traveling companions at San Gregorio. Jerry, Anne, Edith and Ginny.

It was time to start heading east, via Denver. We left for the Emeryville station at 6AM, returned the rental car, and settled into our two sleeping rooms for the overnight trip.

The initial scenery was pretty boring – eastern California and the tip of Utah – with lots of dry brown low hills covered in sagebrush. In fact, I didn’t even take any pictures! Instead of looking out the train window as we passed the brown hills, I played solitaire or word games on my iPad to pass the time. And we also slept though a lot of that brown scenery that evening.

THEN, suddenly, Colorado and the Rockies. There were almost too many scenes to capture as the train wound through canyons, paralleled the Colorado River, and went in and out of short tunnels.


AND… we were shocked to find that we were going right past the huge Cameron fire, which was just over the ridge but gave off huge plumes of smoke. (Note: The day AFTER we rode through the area, that fire increased by six-fold and people were evacuated out of two of the towns we stopped at.). Here are some pics and a video of the smoke…

This was our first peak at the plume – it looks just like a cloud over the horizon.
Smoke in the setting sun.

The trip through the Rockies was the best of the train travel so far; despite the smoke, which – if you forget about the devastating effect on the land – was beautiful in itself.

Our arrival in Denver’s Union Station was at about 7:30PM, and it was COLD, especially to us Kentucky residents who just came from California. AND especially for two of us who left our coats on the train back at the San Jose train exit. BRRRR!

We all piled into an Uber to get to our AirBnB accommodations, and my sone Evan and daughter-in-law Lauren picked me up for a late night drink and snacks.

Next post – our stay in Denver and getting used to both the cold, the elevation, and the extreme fluctuations of Denver weather. Fires, snow, sleet, and sun. You just don’t know what to expect in Denver in the fall.