We arrived at Denver by the Californian Zephyr - a train operated by the Union Pacific. In some ways, it is similar to other famous trains we’ve been on – the Blue Train in South Africa and the Canadian Pacific from Vancouver to Banff. Instead of the train being operated by a separate hotel company, it is run by Amtrak. It was fantastic with tremendous scenery, however the service left a little to be desired.
|Dick sitting in the Observation carriage on board the Californian Zephyr Train|
There were a few annoying problems. In the magnificent Observation Car, the commentary from the volunteer guide did not come through the speakers. You could hear the commentary in your cabin but then you could not see the view very well!
|Pip sitting in our cabin|
The journey itself to Denver takes about two days. Leaving at about 9.00 am from just across the river from San Francisco itself, climbing up over the Rocky Mountains to Pilgrim’s Pass, then through Reno, past Salt Lake City and into Colorado following the Colorado River.
The night part of the trip was around Salt Lake City, so when we woke in the morning we saw the magnificent Rocky Mountains near Provo. The balance of the second day was from the Green River and then into Glenwood Springs through Winter Park to Denver.
The planned arrival time was normally about 7.00 pm, but the train generally runs about two or three hours late.
One of the highlights of the train journey for us was the American families we were able to meet. Seating in the Dining Car was allocated by the stewardess, and passengers sat with whoever was booked for that particular dining time. A number of American families were travelling with young children. It was delightful to meet and talk to them. They were just like Australian families and no doubt, if we could speak the languages spoken in Iraq, Iran or anywhere else in the world, we would find those families would be similar. Some of the kids seemed to be bored to death and couldn’t wait to get off the train, while others just loved the journey.
I asked everyone about the War in Iraq. The parents and the kids were just as concerned as we were. They considered that America was attempting to do the right thing. We agreed with that.
We struck up a friendship with one family from Alabama and they invited us to visit them later in our journey.
The journey on the Californian Zephyr is one of the most scenic in the world and we would recommend it to anyone.
Day 1 of the Delivery Trip
Day 2 of the Delivery Trip
Day 3 of the Delivery Trip
Day 4 of the Delivery Trip
Day 5 of the Delivery Trip
Day 6 of the Delivery Trip