Nov 20, 2012

Aboard the California Zephyr

California Zephyr going around a bend in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Denver, Colorado, was always on the cards. But when I came across a story last year, on San Francisco to Chicago (through Denver) being one of the most scenic train routes in the United states, I wished we could travel by train -- one way at least. And travel we did,  aboard the California Zephyr.

Amtrak Station at Davis, California.
The California Zephyr (Amtrak Train) which rolls from San Francisco to Chicago travels through seven states on its charted route. As we were only going as far as Denver, Colorado, it took us through four states and showed some awesome sights along the way. If you were to do a one-way trip on this train, I would suggest travelling from SF to Denver rather than the other way around. That way the scene changes from a big city to the countryside, and then some mountains and deserts before you ride through some lofty canyons.

San Pablo Bay, California

Some farmland on the way to Sacramento
Sacramento, California.

Sierra Nevada on the California side.

Truckee River, California.


Truckee, California
We began our journey from the other side of the Bay -- Emeryville, CA. As such, our scenic train ride began with scenes of harbours and factories that chose to come up close to water transportation facilities. As we approached the state capital, we passed Suison Bay, where we saw a fleet of ships from World War II. Then there were farms and ranches and soon we were riding into the conifers of Sierra Nevada. On the mountainous route through Truckee we saw a lot of fall colours in between the evergreen trees. And some snow too. By evening we had crossed into the state of Nevada. And we got to see the station at Reno just before sundown.

Passengers taking a smoking break at Reno, Nevada.

Sunset time near Reno, Nevada

Early next morning when I drew the curtain of my roomette on the California Zephyr, I was greeted by some of Utah's dry rocky landscapes. We had crossed another state-line in the wee hours of the morning and for the next few hours the huge rock formations we passed,  kept changing in colour and in its vegetation. After a few hours of these majestic scenes, Zephyr coursed its way into Grand Junction and in Colorado we were!

Utah

Also in Utah

Grand Junction, Colorado.

Colorado River, Colorado

For most of the rest of the day we passed through the grand Rocky Mountains, the seemingly never-ending Colorado River, dozens of tunnels and quaint little stations until the Amtrak train chugged its way into Denver and made a good, long sojourn. We alighted there. And I must say, our train journey from EMY to DEN on the California Zephyr was an experience like no other.

From the route guide.
This post featured in Blogadda's  Spicy Saturday Picks
for the first week of December, 2012. Thank you Blogadda. :)

63 comments:

  1. Lovely pictures with some nice details

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    1. Thank you, Deeraj. See, I'm getting influenced by some really great bloggers. Your Ladakh photographs are so awe-inspiring. :)

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  2. Thank you Divya for taking us on this fabulous train trip from SFO to Denver> The pictures are awesome:)

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    1. Sharing all this was such a pleasure. It was like re-living that beautiful trip.
      Thank you, Mr. Bhatia.

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  3. wow !!!!!!!!!! Its so beautiful !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are so damn lucky ! and thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Ain't I? ;)
      I really do feel very fortunate to have gotten to do this trip. I was excited for weeks before it happened and really enjoyed every bit of the train ride.
      Thank you so much, TTT. :)

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  4. Those crystalline images left me with no doubt of the breathtakingly scenic rout of California Zephyr. Beauty oozed right from the title to the photographs through the narration. It is hard to find a favourite but the river shots and that of the Utah are wallhangers. Thank you for sharing, Divya.

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    1. Thank you so much, USP. I did have to do some 'sharpening' here as these pics except for the Sacramento station one, were taken through the glass of the train's window. There's nothing like seeing it in person. The landscapes are gorgeous!
      It was one-of-a-kind of a train journey and I'm still tipsy from it. ;)

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  5. Amazing landscape... a flight can never offer these beautiful views and the time one gets to reflect in a train....thanks

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    1. You're so right, Desi Traveller. I'd chose the train over the flights, any day. And the ride of the California Zephyr was a total treat. (But next time, I do some flying, I'm going to think of you and 'your' most memorable airplane journey. :) That was a fun post.)

      Reflect! yes indeed.:)

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    2. *the ride on the California Zephyr. :)

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    3. Thanks I appreciate you talking about my post in your blog...

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    4. :)I hope it makes a few people want to check out your very-interesting blog. :)

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  6. Amazing! So well presented!! I loved it! Thank you Divya:)

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    1. Thank YOU for your regular visits and your constant support, Amit. I'm so glad you like it. But then, how would you not -- you're a poet. :)
      Thanks again. Have a great day.

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    2. The pleasure is all mine Divya:) Your posts attract and pull me like a magnet...I keep waiting for the next..:):)

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  7. This is so interesting. In US people travel more by air. But the trains do have their charm.

    Lovely photographs too. Cant wait to read the next installment.Thanks.

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    1. That's right. Not a lot of people travel this way because it's time-consuming. Our journey from San Francisco to Denver was around 32 hours and the flight back took us a little over 2 hours. :)
      But seriously, travelling through these scenic routes is a whole new way of seeing America.
      The photo post will be up soon. :) I'm so happy you liked these pictures.

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  8. mere ko yeh sab dekhna hai .. :(

    I so want to od thissssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

    beautiful picutresssssssssssssss awesomeeeeeeeeeee :)

    Bikram's

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    1. Bikram, it CRAAAAZy!! You'll love it. These pictures are nothing compared to all that this train actually shows you.
      But then, because I have a whole lot of pictures it doesn't feel right not share it, so they'll soon be up in another post. :)

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    2. yes yes yes do put them on please .. I am planning to visit usa for a holiday next year for sure and lets see if i get to do it .. I plan to hire a car and driveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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    3. Great idea. Lemme know if you are in California ok. :)

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  9. That sounds like an exciting journey across those beautiful landscapes. Awesome captures, Divya. I love train journeys.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/2011/12/engrossed.html

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    1. It really was ONE great train journey. First of all it was my first proper train journey in the US. Secondly, the landscapes we passed through made that a trip like no other.
      Thanks, Niranjan. There's a whole lot more coming, ok. :)

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  10. Replies
    1. Thanks Rajesh. That really was ONE scenic route.

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  11. Wow - the abundance of beauty... My eyes just got pasted to the screen. :D

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    1. :) True Muthu. The places we passed through really were a feast for the eye.

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  12. should travel there by road one day, so that we can stop and take enough photos

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    1. Actually the train's not too fast, so you can take a lot of not-so-bad pictures. They also have an observation car with huge windows that let you take better pictures.
      Of course if you could get down there, it would be superb for some great photography. :)

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  13. Lovely landscapes and a great description of your exciting journey... The pictures do most of the talking and add beauty to the great post..

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    1. Thank you, Manjulika. The scenery outside the train was breathtakingly beautiful. The landscapes keep changing so one doesn't get bored of looking out.

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  14. Journey captured beautifully! Lovely landscapes!!

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    1. Thank you Magiceye. You would surely love this train ride. :)

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  15. I think Americans know to enjoy life. Such a lovely idea to be able to see all the beauties from the comfort of a train! This was supposed to be our final scenic ride before we moved from the US, but couldnt make it :( I am really kicking myself for missing this. Absolutely stunning views!

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    1. Oh, :(. I'm so sorry Meoww. You should plan a holiday this side and do it. You will absolutely love it. Please... make it happen. And start from the SF side, ok.

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  16. WOW...Thanks for taking us on this train journey. The shots you took as the train was winding its way through the Rocky Mountains are just FABULOUS!!
    The scenes are absolutely breathtaking and your brilliant narration makes the travelogue even more interesting!My thirst to read a good travelogue got quenched here.Thanks for sharing...:))

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    1. I'm totally flattered. :)Thank you sowwww much!
      It was one of my best journeys ever. I was in no hurry to get to our destination. As far as I was concerned, the California Zephyr was an attraction and a destination in itself.
      Wait there's more; will be putting up a whole lot of pictures real soon and making sure that you have a great vicarious trip. :)
      Take care until then.

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  17. Replies
    1. It was, Deepak.
      Long time, eh! Where have you been?
      Btw, the minute I saw 'Barack Romney, I guessed it was you. :)

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  18. You get to go to such awesome places, take me with you..! Lovely pictures and descriptions :)

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    1. We love seeing places so we just make these trips happen. :)Come this way, and we'll go to some awesome place.
      Thank you so much Ghazala. These places have so much character, I just kept clicking away and actually, they need no descriptions. They're simply beautiful.

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  19. Stunning captures, Divya! The changing landscape makes for a wonderful visual
    feast and Your narration so wants me to make it to this train someday.

    How long was the train journey? Many thanks for sharing it. :)

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    1. Thanks a ton, Arti. A wonderful visual feast -- that's exactly what it was. The journey from Emeryville, CA to Denver was around 32 hours.

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  20. Replies
    1. If luck is what comes about when opportunity meets preparation, I am lucky. :)That surely was one of my best train journeys ever.

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  21. good collection... each one expresses its best..

    good photography and nice place

    thanks

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    1. Thank you so much, Krishna.
      The landscapes were incredible.

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  22. Nothing beats a trainride...
    This is why I prefer to spend days on trains instead of hours on flights... Only if Indian trains were a bit more cleaner and less crowded :P

    & love those fall colors... esp the one with the stream...

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    1. You're so right, Jitaditya. Nothing beats it.

      I actually do miss the train rides in India. I yearn to hear the sounds of the Indian Railway stations too. :)

      Thank you. This trip showed me all kinds of sceneries. I love Fall Colours too. I'm enjoying every bit of it now. :)

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  23. Those are some amazing pics. I never took a long distance train in US -- regret!

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    1. That was ONE fabulous trip. Not a lot of people do train trips. This was a long journey but as the pictures will tell you, it was worth every bit of it.
      The ride was comfortable too.

      You'd have loved it, Rachna. :)

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  24. The train is magnificent. I have read about this before D and these picture looks more beautiful than those words describing it.

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    1. The words and the pictures don't match up to what these scenes really are like, Rupertt.
      This route IS magnificent.

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  25. Whoa.. some great shots there.. my fav. is the truckee river one..

    great post DN.. :)

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  28. Looks good mate and i have personally experienced this thing because of getting a very decent package that made me get a very good travel deal and i was amazed to experience things that were quite decent so yeah bus from new york to columbus is a perfect way for knowing many things at the same time because it goes ahead we can make a mark.

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