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APRIL 12, 2009   

More Grand Canyon trip pictures & commentary on this site from 4/11 to 4/20. Lots of travel tips and suggestions at From the Cuyahoga to the Colorado.

West to Flagstaff

Golden fields, cloudy sky overhead

On board the Southwest Chief

Leaving Raton, NM around 11 a.m., we're in the midst of low yellow-brown hills, with larger mountains on the horizon. I slept pretty well last night, right through until 7 a.m. Not sure if these seats are more comfortable than others or I'm just getting better at it. It helped that the car's night lights were dim, not always the case. And despite my worries about it, the family with three kids a few seats ahead blessedly slept even longer than I.

It's supposed to be sunny and 66 degrees when we arrive at the Grand Canyon on Monday, unlike today's chilly, wet weather. When we passed over the Raton Pass a half hour ago it was snowing, giving us a pretty view of snow-dusted pine forest.

The train is right on schedule now. We should arrive in Flagstaff at 9 p.m. where with luck our big backpacks will be unloaded from the baggage car and we'll hike about a half mile to our hotel for the night.

Amtrak train at As it turned out, as we grabbed our packs off the baggage cart an ambulance, lights flashing, pulled into the station (bright spot of light at left of photo). The very pregnant young woman in car #11 was having contractions! The EMTs got her into the ambulance and the train pulled out nearly on schedule.

Oh, and we decided to take a $5 cab ride to the motel rather than schlepping our backpacks there in the dark.

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2009 APRIL