Day 13 - Fri 21 April 06
Up at 06:00 to write up yesterdays diary as I felt so poor last night I didn't do it. Down to breakfast and the out onto the streets. Found Lomas Street, filled up the car with petrol and then dropped the car off with no problems. Got the rental people to drop me off down town, but it's still early (08:00) so everything is still shut. Sat down to read my free paper, and found out that there was a shooting in down town Santa Fe yesterday. One kid shot another one at a bus stop at midday. I was on my way to Los Alamos at that point, but it just goes to show!
The only other snippet of news is that Western South Dakota has had five feet of snow at a place called Lead which is about 50 miles north of Mt. Rushmore, and I'm heading there in a weeks time. Let's hope the snow has gone by then! I sat in the sunshine reading the paper until the tourist info place opened up.
Had a look in the Atomic museum which was interesting. One fact I didn't know was that the worlds first nuclear reactor was in Africa in pre-history in Africa. Then it was down to get something to eat which turned out to be a huge chicken salad, and then it was the Library to get some Internet access. I had to join the library (for $3), but I got an hours access to I was happy.
I headed for the Amtrak station but missed it, and ended up in the rough part of town. a friendly prostitute pointed me in the right direction and I found the station. The guy behind the Amtrak counter astounded me with his geographical knowledge - he spotted the Yemeni visa and knew about Kat. I told him that I'd been on the Trans Mongolian train, and he knew about Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. Turns out that Larry is an armchair traveller. There are platform vendors on the station platform just like on the Trans Mongolian.
Right, I'm on the train now, and there's a guy on the phone to his son telling him the train is "scooting" along at 90 mph. and is very impressed. Eurostar or a Shinkansen would blow his mind.
We've just gone through another time zone so I thought that I was almost at Flagstaff, and now I've got another one and a half hours to go! I got off the train at 21:00 and the first thing I noticed how cold it was, not freezing, but chilly. So on with the coat, for only the second time this trip. The second thing I spotted was a huge red glowing neon sign on the top of my hotel proclaiming its presence. Perfect, and only two blocks from the station. Check in was painless and my room overlooks a crossroads with original red stone buildings everywhere. The room is large and has a gold effect painted on the walls and ceiling.
NextView my route through the USA here