November 22nd, 2007

Pointless Arrow

Train Tales

My train trip to Sacramento was mostly without incident. Collapse )

Passing through the station, I spied Gene Skoropowski, Managing Director of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority that runs the Capitols, standing in the cavernous (and crowded on this Thanksgiving Day) Sacramento waiting room, wearing a sign around his neck that said something like, "Need help? Ask me!" As I've said before, Gene is someone who genuinely loves running trains, and we need an army of people like him working for us in transit. Anyway, as he had nobody immediately occupying his time, I went up and said hello to him. I've spoken briefly to him before, but don't expect him to remember me; he did, however, remember me from the e-mails we have exchanged, and I'm flattered at that. Collapse )

Having been enlightened by one of the best railroad managers in the business, I headed out to the front of the station to look for Lisa. But that's another story.
Kevin and Lisa

After-the-Train Tales

As my train neared Sacramento, I switched my ham radio from the railroad band I had been monitoring to the amateur radio frequency (147.540) that Lisa and I use to contact each other. I heard her calling me immediately. (I later heard that this was only the second time she'd called for me, so the timing was pretty good.) She told me that she was still on the road, just north of Sacramento between the airport and the CA-99 junction. I told her not to worry, that our train was running late, and that she should not hurry.

As I wrote in my last post, I took my time getting off the train and through Sacramento station. Getting to the curb, I called for Lisa, who was just getting to the J Street exit on I-5. I told her that she could drive to the front of the station, but it was badly congested. (There was a police officer on a bicycle telling people who weren't actively loading or unloading to move along.) She told me that she'd managed to find an on-street parking space and that I should come to her. I walked out of the station at the corner of 5th and I Streets; she was a block away and around the corner.

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After too much excitement, we got to our hotel (the Holiday Inn Express, where prices have increased $20/night over a year ago, mumble, grumble) and we could finally relax a bit. I checked my e-mail and found nothing that couldn't wait until I get back to Fremont on Friday afternoon -- I hope. Eventually Lisa got a bath and wound down sufficiently so she could get some sleep.

Thank goodness we could sleep in on Thanksgiving morning, as we're not due out to my grandfather's hours until Noon today. I woke up just before 8 -- that is sleeping in for me these days -- and pottered down to the breakfast bar for some light breakfast items, plus coffee for me and tea for Lisa. I laid out her breakfast on the side table (letting her sleep as long as possible) and ate my own. She woke up about 90 minutes later. Her tea was cold, of course, but the room comes with a microwave oven.

Now I do need to finish working my way through the less-urgent stuff and get showered and dressed for my family's Thanksgiving lunch. We don't do dinner because my mother needs to head off for a craft fare the next day. As she makes her living selling jewelry, the Christmas Craft Fair season is key to the annual finances, and my family has always been a practical lot when it comes to work needing to be done.
Kevin and Lisa

Small Family Thanksgiving Day

After one false start on account of having left the camera back in the hotel room, we got out to Sutter just after Noon, where my mother was finishing cooking Thanksgiving Lunch. Lisa showed a stack of photos from the Japan trip to my grandfather and my stepfather. He was particularly interested in the ones from Hiroshima, on account of he was one of the US soldiers sent in right after the atomic bomb was dropped on the city, and he probably had stood on or near the same spots we had when we took some of the photos. He recognized the "A-Bomb Dome," for instance. Of course, Hiroshima was completely rebuilt, so aside from the dome, nothing else looks as it did when he was there. He was also sent on to Nagasaki, so he got a case of radiation poisoning of his own; fortunately, not a bad one, and he's now in his eighties.

I chatted with my mother, and when the turkey was ready, I attacked it with implements of destruction, and managed to reduce it to a bunch of meat on a plate without adding any of my blood to it as a condiment, and that's about the best you can hope for when I carve a turkey.

After a nice Thanksgiving Day lunch with the five of us, including much talk of Lisa and my travels in Japan, we went out into the back yard, where Lisa took some photos of me, my mother, and my grandfather.

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Getting back to the hotel room, we considered using the hotel's hot tub, but it's so cold outside that we couldn't bear the though of walking in our swim suits to and from the pool/hot tub area, so we played a game of Australian Rails instead.

Soon I do need to shut things down, because we can't dawdle on Friday morning if we're to get out of here in time to get me on the 12:10 PM train from Sacramento.
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