NOTE: For the Photo Essay, click the link in the main header (above) or HERE.
I awoke to views that made my Arizona-desert-born soul leap with joy: fog, lush mountain forests, and lots and lots of water (lakes, rivers, creeks). I believe there were even—big grin—ferns.
Many photo opportunities were lost during breakfast, when the train was moving slowly enough past trees and abandoned industrial buildings (circa late 19th Century). After that, when I went into the thankfully nearly deserted Viewing Car, we sped up. Fast train + foreground trees + camera without manual focus option = terrible photos. I gave up.
I was soon joined by Bernice, a wonderful woman from Alexandria, Virginia. We had a phenomenal time, our friendship sealed after a man seated behind us made a yawning noise quite like a cow and we shared a Look. She then told me about her time with her sister in a church choir, where their position near the altar gave them full view of those attending the service.
First there was the man who would yawn, wide enough to crack his jaw, and sound exactly like the guy behind us on the train. In other words, like a cow. No concern at all for when the yawn might take place (during a sermon, for example) or the spectacle he was making of himself.