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Friday, January 6, 2012

Reno Trip

I agreed to go with my wife, Saint Joyce, on an AMTRAK train trip to Reno, Nevada over the mountains for our 35th wedding anniversary. She wanted to see the mountains from the train, covered in snow, and stay somewhere nice in a spa room. No problem. We purchased the tickets for the California Zephyr – don’t ask me to explain why they call it the Zephyr. I booked us into the large players spa suite at the El Dorado only a block away from the train station. Fantastic.

We arrived at the Emeryville train station on Thursday morning well ahead of schedule. At train stations in California they issue tokens to use the bathroom, because we have the largest per capita number of homeless bums… I mean unfortunate, without residence, citizens in the country. We’re sitting there making geezer jokes to pass the time about our own myriad quirks in playing the over sixty geezer card at every opportunity to get out of doing what we don’t want to do. I then notice a short, very plump, white haired guy with a beard that looked like Santa Claus walk to the women’s restroom instead of the guy’s. We’re pretty far away, and although I’m considerate, I have no intention of running across the crowded station to rescue this guy. There was nothing left to do but smile and enjoy the show.

“Geezer alert,” I inform Saint Joyce.


“Santa Geezer over there is trying to get his token in the door of the women’s restroom while staring at the very obvious universal symbol, and the word women stenciled in two languages on the door.”

Saint Joyce chuckles because she’s not always saint-like. “Ah oh. Look, he’s not too bad. He got his token to work.”

“This is going to be an interesting test though. If I walk into a restroom, I expect to see urinals, or I know I’m in the wrong place. He’s already been in there too long. That’s a geezer strike two.”

“Strike three,” Joyce proclaims with a laugh. An unhappy occupant has exited the bathroom pointing and announcing ‘there’s a man in there’.

A woman train employee opens the door just in time to have the little red faced elf hustle out saying ‘sorry, sorry’ as he crosses to the correct bathroom. It pretty much gets a few chuckles rather than a call for security forces to arrive. From the look on the old elf’s face it appeared to be a legitimate pull of the geezer card rather than a perverted scheme. Being easily entertained, the scenario passed some time for his fellow geezers, Saint Joyce and I.

We left on time and headed up on our journey into the mountains where it has been unseasonably warm with very little snow. Since snow occupied a top spot on the Anniversary love train trip, Saint Joyce is mildly irritated. Then one of the usual fly in the soup moments happens on top of the fact I find out AMTRAK’s billboard for free wifi applied only to the local train rides. Tracks ahead, damaged by who knows what, will require the Zephyr to halt its journey while two on-coming freight trains pass us. This means an hour and a half delay sitting motionless on the tracks. People on board cheer humorously as first one rockets past, and then the second one rambles by. So, we’ll be getting into Reno late. Into each life a little rain must fall. I’m a pessimist by nature so this is relatively minor, the seating is comfortable, and I’m writing the last part of my YA novel DEMON while entertaining Saint Joyce on and off.

A guy about my age two seats in front of us gets up to move by our seats into the next car. He’s wearing a gray pullover, long sleeved shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. I instantly remember why it is I am dressed exactly like him. Saint Joyce set out a gray pullover for me to wear, because she has this annoying habit of asking me what I’m wearing to go somewhere while waving what she wants me to wear in my face. I usually don’t object unless it’s some pastel metro-man crap she’s picked up during one of her shopaholic excursions. I quickly elbow her to look up as my clothing doppelganger pauses next to us waiting for others to go by before he walks on.


“You dressed me in the geezer uniform of the day. Thanks a lot.”

Saint Joyce giggles, because as I stated earlier, she’s not always Saint like. “Awwww… isn’t that cute.”

“Yeah,” I stick the fork in, “about as cute as us taking a now nine and a half hour snow hunting expedition train ride into the snow barren mountains.”

Saint Joyce gasps in outrage while I’m heehawing. “How the hell was I supposed to know there wouldn’t be snow in the mountains in January?”

Then she gets the needle out for me.

“Besides, if you had went with me last year when they had record snow like I asked you to I’d have had it already crossed off my bucket list.”

Bingo. It’s now my fault. “Maybe you need to change your bucket list into a ‘by myself list’ for convenience.”

“We’ll just have to do this trip again when there’s snow,” Saint Joyce announces as the train finally kicks into gear for our railway trek into the snowless mountain passes.

Oh wonderful, there’s some good news. The sunny mountain scenery dazzles us with splendor anyway without the thick white blanket. As we get higher in elevation, Saint Joyce starts elbowing me to look out the window at the small patches of snow and ice. I immediately begin a running commentary.

“Oh yeah, there has to be enough for at least four or five snowballs in that batch. Oh look, there’s a carrot and a few lumps of coal still left where Frosty’s remains were interred. Hey, there’s a patch on the slope good for a four foot bobsled run…”

Joyce starts howling in laughter, probably because of the Frosty gem. We immediately start getting eyeballed by our fellow travelers probably searching for a way to be offended, or simply enjoying the geezer show.
We arrive in beautiful Reno without further delay. All proceeds well from there. We only have to walk a block to the Eldorado. Check in is quick and painless. The large players spa suite is magnificent as you can see from my picture next to the in room Jacuzzi. Saint Joyce does not allow me to post her on the blog, because if I do, she believes the people in the box will get her. We have a drink to toast our gorgeous room and anniversary before heading down to get dinner and donate a small sum in hopes of striking it rich. Heh, heh, heh… yeah, that’ll happen. At least I got to invent 'The Geezer Alert'.  :)


Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like you can make your fun wherever you go!

raine said...

Who needs all the amenities when you can enjoy each other's company?
Btw, that room looks GORGEOUS.
(Happy anniversary, Bernard--I'll send you a little snow). ;)

BernardL said...

We did have a good one, Charles. It'll be geezer alert all day long on the train back tomorrow. :)

Oh thanks, Raine... sniff... you're too good to me. :)

Rick said...

Great story, Bernard. I could use a good train trip myself to escape the Detroit weather.

BernardL said...

Thanks, Rick, I hope it took your mind off the cold back there for a few moments anyway. Detroit... brrrrrr... :)

Sage said...

I popped over from Charles blog, congratulations on winning his prize. I love this trip over the Sierras, and have taken it many times, but the last was in 1991. That's too long ago! Right after Christmas, my wife and daughter and I took the train out west, to Flagstaff. On the way back, I blogged about the trip.

BernardL said...

Thanks, Sage. A train ride anywhere is a unique experience. We're going to try the Reno trip again when there's snow. Thanks for stopping by.