Posts Tagged With: Amtrak


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This panel is one of many installed in the Sacramento Airport during its recent expansion. I’m hopeful to someday photograph all the new installations since I always fly to Sacramento to reach my home turf.

“My son-in-law picked me up at the airport and I always get great benefits from having my daughter’s family live in an Airport City. I used to tell my kids when they were growing up, one of you needs to work for an airlines so I can fly free. (Joking, of course). Traveling the back roads of America, like Jim and I have done, completing about 2000 miles on Highway 2, you realize that people in small town America do not have the easy access to plane transportation we more urban people do.  Luckily they have AMTRAK, or they would be many difficult  miles from modern connections, except by automobile.

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But, what I most appreciate is getting to spend and afternoon and evening with my grandsons.  Theo is 11 and he and the cat helped me pick out a few ripe pomegranates to bring home.  Last year, the tree had one giant pomegranate. This year it is loaded and bending over with fruit.DSC01501 (Copy)

Then I get fresh organic eggs for breakfast from the four backyard chickens they keep. Kind of a bit of the country in the city.DSC01504 (Copy)

Owen, age 13, told me this school book, its math, costs $100. The teacher must also have the “guide” for another $70.  I almost fainted. That is a horrific cost the schools must pay for each students books. I had no idea. Multiply that by however many students and then other books for other classes…wow!  Owen is a serious student and loves school and even more, his karate program. He is working for a black belt.

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The family and I love Mikuni, a Japanese restaurant. Another thing I miss on the road is a choice of ethnic foods no matter where we are.

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Wakami salad is my favorite. We had barbequed albacore as an appetizer. I forgot to photograph our entrees but I managed to get through my whole meal with chop sticks, which doesn’t always happen.

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Theo enjoyed Japanese ice cream called mochi.  It is four gelatinous rice balls filled with ice cream, chocolate, vanilla, mango, and strawberry flavored, cut in quarters and beautifully served. And, delicious. Owen had chocolate lava cake. Both very different presentations of cake and ice cream.

I love having this special time with my family I would not have had except for a nearby airport.


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Driving from Kelispell to Libby yesterday morning  brought us through 9 miles of road work much of it really, bumpy gravel.

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Elevation rises, more trees and stump farms with scraggly second or third growth. One plot had about 3 scraggly trees and nothing but stumps. This is lumber country obviously and the twigs we see everywhere that pass for trees is disheartening even if it is private land.

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Libby is called the City of Eagles. We didn’t see any flying around or nesting spots along the roadway, but there were plenty of them around town.

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We had expected to see the Museum and Nordic Heritage Center, but it was closed.

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We missed by one day the Nordic Heritage Days annual celebration. This sign was left on the street. We pulled in to stay at the VFW in town and just walked the downtown area and took pictures.

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I  judge the health of a small town by its art or lack of it, good beer, buildings that are well cared for and if you see a nice child care center, a drug treatment center, senior center, plenty of doctors offices, a hospital and good looking schools you know you are in a progressive community. Libby qualifies. The main street was only about four blocks long and two blocks deep, but it was full of murals and they are expensive. DSC00811 (Copy)


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Even their garbage cans were painted. This one mentions their Annual River Front Blues Festival. DSC00807 (Copy)

They still have a working theater in town. Nice.

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The Libby Cafe claims to have the best huckleberry flapjacks in Montana.  I liked their sign.

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This one too.

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Libby has an Amtrak Station so you can get where you want to go. Country living, small town, pretty nice place to live.

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By The Hands Of Others…

I’ve long envied people who can create beauty with their hands. A skill I do not possess. I’m the only guy I know that cannot cut a straight line with a Skil Saw. Heck, I can’t even pick my nose good. It’s a good thing I never had to use my hands in a creative manner to earn a living.

Last Wednesday, before Mary boarded the Amtrak train in Deming, New Mexico, we found that we had a little extra time to kill before it arrived. So we dropped into the local Deming Luna Mimbres Museum. It’s quite large, very clean and interesting. Since we only had about 45 minutes before they closed, we headed off in different directions. I ended up in the Western historical section.

Here are some of the things I saw…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view...

This first image was in a New Mexico Centennial quilt…

But, here’s what really caught my attention since I still draw/paint like a fifth-grader. I hope you appreciate these beautiful Southwest paintings as much as I did…

Absolutely great paintings! My 45 minutes were well spent.

In other news…

I’m entering my second day of a four-day forecast of high velocity winds. According to my forecast, winds gusts will exceed 50 miles per hour. Since the motorhome is broadside to the oncoming winds, I’m really rocking and rolling. It made for a difficult night’s sleep. Kind of like trying to sleep on the bottom of a rowboat in the middle of a tumultuous ocean storm. Unlike last week’s 75 mile per hour wind gusts in Columbus, New Mexico, because of my higher location, there’s no sand or dust  reaching the motorhome. It’s all suppose to end by Tuesday and I’m expecting to hit the road once again on Wednesday.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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One song leads to another

One friend to another

So, I’ll travel along

With a friend and a song…or maybe a comedian. I took a photo of Homer, Sandra and Issac, brothers and sister traveling from Phoenix to Bakersfield.  This was at the Los Angeles station before boarding a bus over the grapevine. Except, none of them should be smiling.  We’ve all had experiences where everything that could go wrong-did!  They discovered there are two airports in Phoenix after they arrived at the wrong one. The relative who left them at the airport had already departed. Getting a ride to the right airport, a traffic hold-up, missing the correct flight by minutes. Then, finding out since it was now minutes after the 24 hour time to cancel, “Sorry, no refund.”  Then renting a car and racing to nearby Maricopa to catch an Amtrak train and barely making it on board before the doors closed.  Ahhh, such are the joys of travel. Makes you want to eat nails. But..Issac kept us all in stitches through the nearly three-hour wait time in the Lobby. They offered me coffee, pretzels, chocolate, mints and gales of laughter.  Issac told me he heals everyday troubles by hugging his three-year old grandson. Laughter is healing and he took  the drudgery out of  my trip and theirs.

I’ve traveled from Northern California to Southern California on Amtrak many times and enjoyed the train.  I’ve seen this bird, or maybe another bird, that appears to live inside the station on popcorn and bread crumbs. I couldn’t get a good picture, but watching  birds anywhere gives me a lift.

Of course, I didn’t have to hang out my red panties to flag the train, or hang from  a mail hook, but the Amtrak stop at Deming is a simple kiosk. The train was almost an hour late. It made up the lost time across the vast stretches of desert and we arrived in Los Angeles on time.

On my first ever overnight on a train, I can report  the food was good, the attempt to sleep through the night was not very successful.  But, I was warm and none the worse for wear. As we were disembarking, I took a picture of Tanya, who was dressed all in fur from head to toe, tiredly clutching her guitar. She told me she is hoping to be a musician someday, she earns her living doing make up, and “I look younger than I am.” Sweet!

They say the best part of travel is  it reveals the value of home. I think the best part of travel is  the people you meet. On that subject, I’ll get back to my last days with Jim when I’m settled in.


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I Take Mary To The Train…

The bad news is…Mary has left me once again.

It is all part of our original agreement from when we met back in 2008. That…about three times a year…she would have to go back home for various reasons. This time it’s to tend to her taxes and other miscellaneous business.

She’s grown tired of the hassle of flying…so this time she decided to take the Amtrak train. From Deming, New Mexico to Los Angeles, CA…then the Amtrak bus to Bakersfield, CA…then back on to the train to Stockton, CA…where her youngest son will meet her with her car. The entire train experience will be just under 24 hours. Then she’ll drive from Stockton up the hill about an hour to her home.

The train was scheduled to arrive at 6:11 PM. But since Amtrak doesn’t have to compete with other trains…promptness is not a key issue. The train arrived at 7:05 PM. It’s a big train and only passes west-bound through Deming once a day…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view...

By time others got off and she got on…it was 7:11 PM by time she departed…

Into the golden Western sunset..

And then she was gone…

It was about a 30 minute drive back to Rockhound State Park where the night lights of Deming can be seen through the windshield of our motorhome…

It’s always very noticeable when Mary first departs. It’s very quiet and there’s no laughter. I’ve mentioned many times about how much laughter we share in our relationship. it’s not all bad because absence makes the heart grow fonder….etc…..

I’m hoping to get her back within about six weeks…the end of April at the latest. In the mean while I’ll continue traveling solo until she returns.

The good news is she always returns.

In other news…

Originally I had planned to move along today. However the long-range weather forecast for the area for the next week has very strong winds slated for this coming Saturday through Tuesday…not a good time to be on the road with a high-profile motorhome. So I’ve decided…since I’m very comfortable in this very scenic location…plus I have some friends nearby…to wait out the very windy conditions. If all goes as forecasted…I’ll likely start moving on once again next Wednesday. One week from today. .

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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Over the last week, from people who know the area, I’ve been getting the hee-haw about taking the train from Deming, NM.  As in:   “You’ll have to flag ’em down with your red panties to get them to stop!”  And: “Shoot, they don’t stop, you just hang from a mail hook and they grab you as the train goes by.” And: “I’ve known the train to be late by SIX HOURS.  Bring a sleeping bag and a tent.”  Of course, I laugh and I’ve used AMTRAK many  times and love the train over flying. But, I’m calling this morning to ask what happens if I miss my connection because of a late train.  Hmmm!  I’ll keep you informed after I arrive in Murphys.

The Little Florida Mountain is yellow with poppies in bloom. Spring has arrived here at Rockhound State Park. The campground sits at the base of this mountain and the rocky ridge is a favorite hunting ground for geodes and thunder rocks. Campers are allowed to take 15 pounds of rock per person.

Opposite the Little Florida, across the valley is another mountain at sunrise, just as the sun is peeping over Little Florida and playing light and shadow.


But first, we stopped by the visitor’s center to see what kind of rocks to expect. We are not rock hounds, but we like to hike, enjoy spectacular views and I like to pick up pretty rocks.

While at the visitors center, great posters of  wildlife one might see in the park intrigued me. I’d never even heard of this beautiful desert quail.

Nor this one.

We started on the botanical garden trail, which leads up and up and up until you connect with the other trails leading to the ridge. All I saw in bloom besides the poppies was this cactus. Most of the barrels already bloomed and are dry.

This plant is just starting to bloom. I don’t know its name. It seems to be a type of ground cover.

Though steep, the trail up was easy to walk most of the way. The poppies were gorgeous, at times so bright in the sun it hurt your eyes to look at them.


And the views were spectacular.  (You can click on these photos to make them larger. Then press the back button so you don’t lose the page.)

Any one of these rocks would weigh 15 pounds or more. I hoped to find one of everything the center  displayed  in miniature, except geodes and thunder rocks.

The most common rock here is rhylite with variegated coloring. My strategy was to look near a big rock, for a smaller one of the same type. I didn’t find large jaspar or perlite or opal.  The ground in the washes is full of pebbles of all sizes and I’m sure I carried down 15 pounds of smaller stones.

I washed and sorted and threw most of them out the door. But, I found a bit of almost everything. All three colors of jaspar for sure. Some sparkling crystals on perlite and beautiful variegated rhylite and peach opal.

Even if I’m not a rock hound, I enjoyed the hike, the dig and I learned a bit about rocks. It was fun.

A  fitting end to a busy day and my current ramble, awash in a brilliant sunset.  After I get settled in, I’ll be blogging from home.

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