I am watching a group of 25 year olds go up the train one has a silver metal case I presume he has a musical instrument he will play in the observation car. By the time we reach the observation car, strange name like you can’t observe from any other car, tanoy announcement stop looking out the windows unless you’re in the observation car, end of announcement. Yes so I get to the Observation car and the case is open and in full swing you guessed it is a poker game. There are neat piles of different coloured chips in front of the players and playing cards are doing the rounds. This game continues to evolve in one form or another until Reno ** hours. There is beer drunk stories swapped money lost and won but no arguments, no bad language, no difficult embarrassing encounters with fellow human beings. Just fun.
This train journey is made up of the usual Amtrak characteristics top speed of 50 70 MPH, the occasional stop for track maintenance, when you are always told by the crew what the problem is. Not inappropriate amounts of time our speed is that of an elderly lady on a bicycle in no rush to get to church. But always the movie on view out of the window is of the American landscape who is always the main actor with humanity as supporting role.
What America has and I believe they may have forgotten this is, space. For hours on end there is just land. Land then land then land. In England train travels out of the city to take you to another city, you are moved out of the city to the suburbs into the countryside and then into the suburbs over coffee, you get what I mean. Coffee time can take you from city to city. Here you get coffee, dinner, poker and no second city maybe a small town like Truckee and the empty American landscape. What they have is space. I presume in this one sabbatical journey I will have travelled more miles than Jesus did in his adult life.