Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Travel Plans

I'm heading up to Sacramento on the 12:39 Capitol train out of Fremont Centerville, with the hope that as it's only the train's third stop, there will still be seats available. It's too much to hope that one of the handful of single seats will have not yet filled. Lisa left Oregon yesterday and will collect me from Sacramento this afternoon and take us up to Yuba City, where we will spend the night and have a very low-key Thanksgiving lunch with my grandfather tomorrow. After that, we drive to Reno for three nights. Sunday morning, Lisa sees me off on the California Zephyr out of Sparks -- which is still a passenger stop, although Union Pacific has done everything they can to hide the station -- back to the Bay Area, while she heads east toward Columbus and SMOFCon.

Some months ago, when these plans were still wet paint, I booked a room at the Holiday Inn Reno, where I've stayed several times. It's not a great hotel, but I earned more Priority Club points. Yesterday, when I went back to confirm the reservation, I could still see the reservation number on my Priority Club account, but it wouldn't bring up any details. I called the reservations line and they claimed they couldn't find a reservation under than number and transferred me to customer service. They found the reservation, but the hotel isn't a Holiday Inn anymore -- about a week or two after I made the reservation, the hotel left the Holiday Inn system and went independent. The hotel offered to honor my reservation, but I wouldn't earn Priority Club points for it, so I opted instead to book a room at the relatively new Holiday Inn Sparks instead. That won't be walking distance to Downtown Reno, but it will be about a 1 km walk to the Sparks Nugget (where they serve my favorite Shrimp Pan Roast) and the Sparks train station.

I really should have made the train reservations much sooner. One version of the plan was to send me back on Saturday morning, which would give Lisa an extra day to drive to Columbus and make the drive less stressful for her; however, by the time she was able to confirm that she could make the trip at all -- repairs to her pickup having taken longer and cost more than expected -- seats on Saturday's train had sold out. There hadn't been any seats on Sunday's train for a while anyway; however, just in case, I had a look yesterday afternoon, and a seat appeared. I started to book it, and it was no longer available. I waited a few more minutes and looked again, and it was available again. As quickly as I could, I booked the seat before it vanished once more.

Had there been no seats on the Zephyr, I would have been obliged to book a Capitol ticket, which would have cost $50 less but would also have required a four-hour bus ride from Reno to Sacramento as the major portion of my "train" trip. In this case, I'll be able to sit back in a leisurely train ride through the Sierra Nevada, have lunch, and relax.

Meanwhile, I must push to get some results for work so that I can actually leave at Noon to go catch my train. Or at least I must get things to where I can take pieces of the job with me and maybe get some work done on the train. I was up until after 2:30 this morning getting to the point where I could set off a long optimization batch run before I could get some sleep. On the bright side, because I'm not driving, I don't have to worry about falling asleep at the wheel, and there's no danger of overrunning my train stop, as the Capitol's last stop is Sacramento.
Tags: family, lisa, reno, trains, travel

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