Posts tagged Shasta Dinner Train

Not the most consistent writer, am I???!!!!!!

Heck, I almost forgot I even had this blog sitting out here, and there have been many times when I should have actually been documenting my thoughts and actions.

Guess I’ll see what comes from these fingers tonight, maybe it will be the impetus to write a bit more often in the coming months and years.  Then again, it may be such a ramble that maybe I would be better shutting it down forever! LOL  Only time will tell.

Actually, I probably wouldn’t have even started writing tonight, if it hadn’t been for my dear friend Linda dropping me a note to see what I’ve been up to and where I am heading next.  In a nutshell, I’m getting ready to leave AZ at the end of this month for cooler climes, as I am heading to MT to see my daughter graduate from college and visit with my son and his family before heading to Yellowstone National Park, WY to work this summer at the Mammoth General Store!

In the process of catching her up we made an amazing discovery…….  We’re getting older…….. LOL  See, we’ve known each other online for at least 12 or 13 years now, but have never had the chance to meet in person.  Someday that will change… Slowly but surely I am heading that way!  Just have to take time to smell the roses along the way.

So much has already changed in the years we have known each other; she’s retired, moved, become a mother-in-law and grandmother, all things that have happened to most of us in that same time span.  Myself, I’ve become a 2nd time divorced nomad! LOL  Much more than that really, but it is the easiest way to explain who I am becoming, assuming I can explain.  Those of you who have read my blog from start to finish already know what started me on the road to wherever; for those of you who haven’t read it all yet, feel free to stop now and catch up or just join me as I trip down memory lane.

Back when Linda and I first “met” everyone was living with the “Y2K” fever and fears.  What was going to become of the world as we had known it up to that time period?  Were computers going to shut down forever?  Would phones stop working, would electricity become a thing of the past? Were we going to lose touch with the rest of the globe as a result?  Or, was everything going to go forward as it had before?

For quilters online it became a chance to pull together, no matter where we lived.  To reach out to total strangers and share our hearts and our skills while we could.  Y2K quilts started a craze that has connected us forever.  Little pieces of fabrics traded around the world became our connecting thread in a time when uncertainty was the only certainty we knew.  Can you even imagine what 2000 little squares of fabric are like when you have no clue whether you will be able to reach out to those you have met thru the “Net” once the year 2000 became a reality?!  They were our tie to what had been, and our hopes for a safe and normal outcome once Jan.1st of that year had rolled into being.  As we all know the world as we knew it did not come to an end, thankfully.  The bonds that were forged online continued and many a friendship has grown from those earlier times.  Many of these friendships will always only be online, but thru luck and planning many of these people have actually met in person and become even “faster” friends. Others will meet as time permits and in many cases thru some mighty strange circumstances.

I had lived in a little town at the time called Thompson Falls, MT.  I was raising my daughter mostly alone at the time as her father was an over the road truck driver.  The computer became my connection to a world I thought I would never be able to see, but even that has changed with time.  I met, traded and chatted with many, many women and even a few men who relied on these machines to pull us outside of our current circumstances, whatever they were.

Okay, enough about what has drawn us together, intertwining our lives in ways we would never have thought possible.

At this moment I can honestly say my life truly changed yet again just over 2 years ago.  On March 16th, at 7 a.m., 2008 I left my “safe” job as night auditor at a motel in Kalispell, MT. and moved down the road to the home I now live in, my 19′ little house on wheels.  Those first weeks even though I was safely sitting in the driveway of my son and daughter-in-law’s house were a real experience!  Cold as only MT can be in the oddest of March’s.  The winds howled, the trailer rocked, the propane heater worked when it wanted and stopped when most needed though no one could find an explanation for it’s pulling tricks on me, and while I wondered whether I had a stupid mistake in forsaking my safe but most tiresome of lifestyles, I also knew that I had to try something different.  I was stuck in such a rut that I literally lived to work, sleep and go back to work.  That is not living, that is nothing more than existing.  Thank you, Lord, for my children!  Without them I would not be where I am today!  They are the ones who saw an opportunity for me to move out of the rut and see as much of this country as I possibly can while I am still young enough to enjoy the experiences.

And there most definitely have been a lot of them! And, God willing, there will be many more in the coming years!

I’ve lived and worked at the base of Mt. Shasta (California), and ridden a old renovated train across part of that mountain, and I’ve worked and wintered in AZ. two years in a row and ridden the new “light rail” train system between Mesa and Phoenix which only finally opened for business last winter!  Talk about history!  Old and new alike! I’ve stood on both rims of the Grand Canyon, crossed the Hoover Dam at least twice (I don’t usually “do” dams as they are way up in the air compared to being on level ground, to say nothing of having an awful lot of water on at least one side of them! LOL), revisited the Vermilion Cliffs (which I hadn’t seen in 20 plus years), I’ve walked the grounds of  Montezuma Castle cliff dwellings, and listened to exquisite Native American flute music piped into the area of the Casa Grande Ruins!!!  Very eery, but totally enchanting!!  I have revisited the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore in S. Dakota, seen Crazy Horse’s Monument (for the first time), revisited the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and so much more I can’t even begin to recount!  All in a little more than 2 years time!  Blows me away to even think about it!!

And, of course, that now leads us back in a loop to where I am headed next.  Yellowstone Park via Zion National Park as I travel up thru UT.  Yellowstone and I have a history of our own.  It was the vacation spot we always went to when I was young.  Visiting the geysers, staring into the hot pools and watching the bison graze as well as checking out the bear “jams” as dad drove us from one spot to another and mom gave us little tidbits of information about the park.  It became a summer “retirement” location for my father to work in off and on as my children grew up, but most of all it represented a dream of mine.  I wanted to also work there one day myself!  As a child I saw students from all over the world working at various positions in the park as well as folks who had retired but wanted to work a bit to give pleasure to themselves and others at one of the most marvelous wonders this world offers for our enjoyment of Mother Nature.  As an adult I took my children to visit their grandfather there in “God’s Backyard” and hoped yet again that someday I too would be able to work there.  Well, come May 24th another of my dreams will come true, because that’s just what I am going to do, as I mentioned earlier!

What comes after that?  I have no clue.  I realized I was again letting myself be sucked into the rut of safety by coming back to the same location to work until just a few weeks ago.  Don’t misunderstand, I love this park in Mesa, most of all I love those people who come to winter in this park and could easily see myself coming back year after year and working myself into the ground to continue making sure their time was enjoyed to the fullest I could help make it, but that isn’t why I changed my lifestyle.  I changed it so I could also have time to explore and enjoy as much of this country as possible before I too have to someday get off the road and settle down for a well deserved retirement.  So, I turned in my notice and this summer will once again start looking for another location to work in next winter.  I’m thinking possibly southern New Mexico or the Gulf Coast of Texas!!!  Maybe even Louisiana if nothing appeals to me enough in this half of the country.  I’ve always wanted to see New Orleans!!!  LOL

Can you tell my foot has gotten “itchy” again?!

I’ll keep you posted as I see what is to come!

Oops!   Just realized I forgot a couple of things!  Some post back a ways I had said the kids sent me down here to AZ last fall with a bright, shiny red 1 ton diesel to pull my trailer with as they sold the van out from under me and were planning on going back on the road permanently themselves…. Well, they changed their plans after being out for 2 or 3 months in northern California and returned home.  Decided they liked being in one place where they could all spread out better till the boys are grown and gone, so they moved back up to Whitefish, MT right near Glacier National Park.  They have loved the area for many years, so I’m tickled they decided to go back.  At the same time, they also decided mom was right, as lovely as the diesel was for pulling my rig, it really was way more vehicle than I needed, especially in parking lots!  So, I now have a lovely white 2006 Nissan Titan with a 6 ft. truck bed and a full back seat to call my own!  May 1st will be her maiden voyage pulling the trailer and I don’t think she will mind one bit!  The truck is supposed to be able to pull 9500 lbs. but my trailer, even stuffed with my junk comes in under 4000 lbs.!  I’m really looking forward to taking to the road, can you tell???!!!!!!!!

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Shasta Dinner Train

Front of train as seen while riding 4 or 5 cars back.

Front of train as seen while riding 4 or 5 cars back.

OMG!!!!!  It was marvelous!  Delightful, magical, whatever you care to fit in there to describe a totally wonderful experience! LOL

We were all treated like royalty as we ate our way across the base of Mt. Shasta from McCloud to Mt. Shasta City and back.

I hopefully will have a few good pix to share in the next day or two, for now I am just whiling away a bit of time writing on the last day of my working here at McCloud Dance Country RV Park, pix posting needs to be done from my computer so I can mess around trying to get the pix where I would like to see them land on a post! LOL  (its’ now the 18th and as you call tell from the pix posted with this message I am learning a bit more about adding media, but I still can’t take credit for the pix taken.  Tricia did them!  I love the one of the train engine that was at the head of our trip.)

Anyway, back to the Dinner Train.

Tricia pulled a “sneaky”, bless her heart, and dropped into their office a couple of days before we were to take our trip and let them know that the 12th was my birthday and that this dinner trip was part of my ongoing birthday celebrating, so when we were taken to our table I was surprised and tickled to find that they had sprinkled confetti on the table and draped a ribbon across my wineglass as a token of my “day”, as they had also done for others celebrating birthdays or anniversaries.  Not that that was the end of their involvement with our celebrating, as they also came around at the end of our trip to present us with the most adorable chocolate locomotive, which is now living in my refrigerator as a souvenir of the trip.

Well, I’m going to try my darnedest to describe our dinner, but I know I will fall short in my description, so use your imaginations and add the mouth-watering part yourselves.

To begin, we each had a glass of a delicious White Zinfandel wine, wish I knew which brand it was as I would like to get that one myself once in a while….  Then, our hostesses brought around a lovely bread basket with 3 choices for our dining pleasure.  Tricia and I fell in love with what Tricia rightly called a “dessert” type bread.  It had been baked in a Bundt pan, so you can imagine how pretty the slices were.  The bread was so dark, heavy, moist and spicy that we all probably would have been happy if that was all they had served us as we rolled along the tracks! LOL  Tricia was the first to add some applesauce from a dainty dish sitting on the table to a bit of her bread, I followed suit shortly and was so glad I did!  The applesauce complemented that bread beautifully!  Anyway, we nibbled on bread and sipped wine till they came around with our appetizers.  Hopefully, one of the pix we each took turned out as they were so prettily arranged that I would love you to see the goodies.  There was  a prawn on a half clam shell with a  cajun sauce for dipping.  Very tasty, would have loved more! LOL  Then there was an almond stuffed date wrapped in a bacon strip with some marvelous glaze that perfectly blended the flavors together.  Last but certainly not least was a focchacia disk with a mild cheese (forgot what they told us it was) topped by a tomato slice and pesto all drizzled with olive oil.  Very pretty on the plate, most delightful when it landed in the tummy! LOL

After that the hostess came around again to let us know we were more than welcome to get up and wander around the train, they have one car that is open air and also a gift shop car just along the way to the front of us.  Quite a few guests decided to brave traversing the cars on the swaying track to check things out, Tricia and I included.  The open car was fun as you could stand there looking out over glimpses of the valley below, when the trees were a bit thinner, and up a bit towards Mt. Shasta, though we couldn’t actually see much of her for all the timber we were rolling thru.  The gift shop car had a variety of goodies to drool over or purchase.  Tricia and I both ended up with the cutest little trains lapel pins!  A lovely little token of our ride.  Thank you, Tricia, I’ll wear it often and smile every time I look at it.

Well, we knew our “train” swaying legs were not going to hold us up forever, and the remainder of dinner was still ahead of us, so we worked our way back thru the cars to our seats to find that in the tradition of fine dining spots our table had been tidied and our napkins were fancy folded once more.

Hang on, got a bit of work to do…. I’ll be back soon with the rest of the trip’s story.

* Had to make a quick insert here, I forgot they also served us a Cesar salad  somewhere along the way.  Can’t remember whether that was before or after our sojourn thru the train to the gift shop, but it was nice and crisp, with just the right hint of dressing and freshly shredded cheese on top.

Okay, back to the dinner……  The main course arrived within 15 minutes of our return to the table.  Tricia had “Moroccan Spring Lamb” over couscous, with some kind of sauce that I can’t remember either, that looked divine and must have been as tasty as it looked, because she cleaned up every bite!  Both of us had the same veggies, green beans with almond slices marinated in something that hinted at amaretto, but not just that.  Really the perfect touch for them.  In the meantime, I had the most enormous “Cranberry Stuffed Chicken Breast” you have ever seen placed in front of me!  And, it was not just cranberries stuffed into a chicken breast, I will have you know!  This was a combination of wild mushrooms, cranberries and cream cheese rolled into the chicken breast which was then rolled in crushed hazelnuts before being baked.  Then, it was topped with a scrumptious mushroom sauce loaded with even more mushrooms!!!!!!!!!  Oh, they also supplied me with 3 baby new potatoes, but I had to pass on eating them after working my way thru 3/4s’ of my chicken breast and my green beans!  I was beginning to feel very overstuffed myself! LOL

But, if you thought our meal was ended, you have to rethink that! LOL  They did give us a bit of time to enjoy the view thru the dining car windows as our dinner settled, which was really a relief, because when dessert time arrived, I was able to find one tiny corner to take in one more goodie! LOL  Sadly, neither Tricia nor myself would be able to say what the dessert was actually called, as they had two choices and several hostesses busily describing the same goodies to people at neighboring tables.  There was some kind of caramel confection that I think was like a baked cheesecake, but I’m not positive that was what I heard as I knew I really did not have that much room left! LOL  Tricia had the right idea and one that I followed in choosing the other dessert.  It looked like a little blanc mange, but was flavored with a hint of lemon and drizzled with a fruit sauce that probably was raspberry, but I’m not certain as they had also sprinkled a variety of fresh berries over the plate.  Very pretty, nice and sweet-tart, and not too heavy for the palate or the tummy.  Neither of us remembered to take pix of the food beyond the appetizer, so you’ll just have to imagine the dishes for yourselves! LOL  We were too busy eating to remember we even had cameras with us by that time! LOL

More in a bit……………..

Well, evening has arrived and almost gone for this day, had to get hitched up to my little house and do some odds and ends of chores preparatory to departing this lovely park in the morning, so I’m just now getting back to the computer.

As you can tell we all dined very well last night and we had a delightful ride which actually covered a good number of miles, I guess you would have to call it a short cut to Mt. Shasta City, before the train headed back here to McCloud.  (By highway it takes us 12 miles to get to Mt. Shasta City, by train I’m not sure). The ride was really neat as we wandered thru forests that you could almost imagine being the first real travelers in; not a soul in sight, nor a house or barn to be seen for some time.  We didn’t actually see any civilization other than one tent and a couple of county roads we crossed till we approached Mt. Shasta City, and that approach was from one you don’t see when you drive a car or truck to town.  This approach was above and behind the town instead.  It was dark by the time we arrived there and true to the train company’s website they had turned on the carriage lights which lined each of the railcars, so we had a totally new perspective of the forest on our return.  A full moon added even more beauty to the trip as it peeked at us thru the trees.

I can tell I’m getting ready to eat again, just reading back thru part of this rather long post has made my tummy rumble, so I think I’ll call it a night and write again after I have been on the road.

TTYL!!!!!!!

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