Sunday, September 19, 2010

Finally back home in Timmins

(Written on Friday) So this is it. Last full day on the train. If it all runs on schedule I should be arriving at Sudbury Junction around 2:00 a.m. Saturday and daughter Jenn will be there to greet me. I am not sure if she knew what time the train would be arriving when she agreed to pick me up. I know I didn’t. But since trains travel day and night, they have to stop somewhere when they run at night.
I was up early today and in the dining car by 6:30 a.m. I knew I was back in Northern Ontario just by the scenery, the rocks, trees and lakes. And in this part of the country the fall colours are already evident. The prairies are far behind us. Many of the travelers are commenting that they enjoyed seeing the prairies, but after 18 or 19 hours of the same thing, they were pleased to welcome the rocks and trees here in the North.
I am skipping lunch today, because there is just too much food on this journey. I will make a point of being in the dining car for supper. I skipped supper last night because I knew we’d be in the Winnipeg. I was told I missed out on a fabulous prime rib of roast beef dinner. The chef and cooking staff on board are very good at what they do. I know the food is fresh because when we stopped in Winnipeg I watched as several baskets of fresh fruit and produce was loaded into the kitchen car.
Several of the travelers and myself have discussed whether this is the sort of thing to do again. My answer is Yes. Maybe the next time, it would be fun to do it in the winter or travel east to west instead of west to east. I know I want to travel across the United States by train as well. Maybe that will be another trip. One of the fellows from Holland has convinced me that I should travel across Britain and Europe by train. Some of the trains travel as fast as airplanes at 300 kilometres per hour. I don’t think I could enjoy that at ground level.
One of the things I will research when I get home is how the light systems work for trains. You can see them in the distance when you sit in the dome car. You know those tall light fixtures that look like traffic lights beside the train tracks. All I know is that we seem to run a lot of red lights.
It is now 6:30 p.m. Friday and we have passed through Hornepayne. I was able to find a payphone to call Jennifer and let her know when I would be arriving, after midnight. The train will have a service stop in Capreol about an hour before Sudbury Junction, so I will get off the train there and save Jenn some sleep time.
During the stop in Hornepayne, I found the LCBO and was able to treat some Americans and Aussies to a few nice tall cans of Canadian Beer.
It will be nice to get home in a few days, but I know I will miss the fun of being on holidays. I have a lot of new e-mail addresses and several new friends.
It’s now 11:30 p.m. and the train is rolling slowly through Northern Ontario. We’re making way again for freight traffic. I left the Park Car minutes ago after chatting with Steve from Seattle. Interesting guy with all sorts of insights on U.S. politics and even his days of fighting in Vietnam. I got his contact info, shook his hand and he headed off to his cabin. I am back in my cabin. The bags are all packed and in a couple of hours the train should be in Capreol. I am impressed that the crew is doing a great job of looking after the passengers and the engineer is doing his best to keep the train on time.
Dinner tonight was an excellent baked pickerel dinner with scalloped potatoes, vegetables and a fish chowder. Dessert was an amazing caramel chocolate torte. Seating is assigned by the headwaiter in the dining car and tonight I was with three senior citizens. Sylvia from St. Catharines on her way home and Roger and Kathy are from New Zealand enjoying a cross-Canada holiday. All three wore hearing aids, so I had to speak loudly during dinner. I felt kind of silly about that, but after a couple of beers, I was speaking loudly anyway. We also had a wine tasting event this evening. That was fun. Well I have finally drained my flask of the whiskey I filled it with in Vancouver. So I am sipping that as I wait for the train to carry me into Capreol. Time to shut down the laptop and pack up the computer bag with the best of my luggage.
Jennifer met me at the train at Capreol right on time. We got to the house and boys woke up to give me welcoming hugs. How nice was that? Jenn and I sat and chatted till 3:00 a.m. before we finally called it a day. I was up at about 10:30 a.m. and Jennifer had a fabulous breakfast ready. After relaxing with a nice cup of coffee and getting caught up on all the gossip, I hit the road north for Timmins. Got in just before 6:00 p.m.

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