The Holiday Train Trip

Day 4 - Vegas to Utah

Early rise we are up to make the 7:44am bus from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City, Utah. A big pot of @Bob's_Red_Mill Hot Cereal simmering on the stove stop. Mom has overpacked us 5 lunches and snacks to feed a teeny tiny army of healthy holiday treat lovers. Every juice and treat bagged, aluminum foiled up and ready for the road. My sister and I are happy to have a hot meal knowing we will be in for a bus ride that spans the entire day. Little did we know this would be one of the longest days of our trip and our lives combined.

An hour early, we arrive to a bus depot filled full of every person you can imagine that you generally try to avoid in your normal life. Realizing this is how the other half travel I become very aware that airport travel can make our very spoiled. There are some cute Japanese girls and elderly coupled peppered within the confines of this great greyhound bus line. My sister wide eyed mutters " don't leave me! " as I mention I need to use the restroom. If you have ever been to the Tenderloin in San Francisco on a hot day and streets have not been washed by the rain for weeks, This is what the aroma is in the early morning at the Downtown Vegas Bus depot. The sourness is also evident in the employees of the Greyhound station. " GET TO THE BACK, BACK IT UP, ALL OF YOU BACK IT UP, BACK!" We are no longer on a happy trip this portion of the trip. We are instantly people who are being slapped around like cattle. We are all now on the same level. I am not passing by on my cellphone going to work or in line at a blue Bottle Coffee house shoulders up avoiding contact. We are now arm in arm. Well not literally but shoulder to shoulder is more like it. Ego is checked and my sister and I are now just wanting to get the hell on this bus. One hour comes and goes and we shuttle ourselves into two lines. A and B, we somehow end up in B. Not organized but it's every man, woman and child for themselves. Back and legs pressure under the weight of my bag and this giant bag of food I am now caretaker for. Various conversations going on. As one gentleman is talking to every person that will pay attention to him I look over to my sister and whisper loudly as if he should here it, " there is always that one guy". " she mirrors my sentiment " There's always gotta be that one guy."

Our bus arrives and confusion stirs. As boxes are off loaded and a group of 3 gather and discuss. The bus backs and up and another replaces it. A disabled man is moved onto the ramp and not 5 minutes later is brought off the bus just as he was raised up. This bus is also faulty, A third and final bus arrives, by this time my sister had slithered into the A line and winks me back. I am most certainly not gonna take advantage as there are many tired and pissed off people having to wait. I hand her her bus ticket and the line begins to move I urge her to get us a good seat together as I think this is gonna be an all out free for all. The A line gets smaller and I can see that everyone is in a zombie state, whether they don't care or that edge of getting on the bus really doesn't matter. I see Katy look back and smile, motions her head to get in line. I think wait a minute I have had it and you know what I am gonna work it and get mine. I electric slide over to the A line and mutter to the guy behind me as to make it known I am doing this. Guilty conscience I guess, smirking, " I'm gonna work the system."  As soon as I get to the ticket checker just outside of the lobby door to the bus I see from the side of my eye that B line people pretty much start to mumble and well they all go under the rope and get into the A line a complete mutiny of this broken down system. We're not gonna take / no, we ain't gonna take it - Twisted Sister.

Butts in our seats we set out for a long no eventful bus ride. We hit snow finally and I did where my Tom's to get somewhat comfy but knowing now I will be changing into my boots. A couple hours into ride we stop at a gas station and have lunch. Now I will say my mother hooked it up. There was moment where I looked around at what the Travlerers of America had and I almost Taco Bell'd it. My sister gave me the eye and I was saved from that mistake. All I wanted was beans but I knew deep in my sensitive gut I would pay for it. Thank you Katy. I charged my Hopspot and Wacom pen in case I wanted to draw on my iPad. Katy wanted to go baby gambling, She saw a mechanics claw game and decided this will be a fun thing. She paid for me and her to give it a try. She went for hers and I went for the Rapper Dollar Icon gold Bling mealie on. Sadly I did not get it but I took a photos so I can remember this loss that will forever change me. Haha. Break over we are back on bus and I do a bit of writing for the blog the time zips by. We arrive in Salt Lake City, Utah. Looking online for restaurants see there is downtown area. And we are feigning for a good meal. After asking the attendant at the Bus Depot where to eat, she offered Denny's a couple blocks away, we thanked her and exited in a hurry to escape and ask the Cabby not Uber where he could drop us. A very angry and sad Santa type guy we felt his dismay for the whole Uber vs Cab mess going on. I asked how he was doing he shrugged, " eh not great." We then listened and chimed in on the whole details on cabs costs vs Uber costs. It is a hot point but we were happy to hire his services and give back to the local cab community. Bad Santa drops us at the Market grill where see 'oyster bar' something we recognize as something that we can eat and enjoy. We thank the Cab driver for the 5 minute cab ride in this bitter cold and we scurry inside. A glass of Pinot Noir and a Mint Julip for me with Marker's Mark. My sister and I are overjoyed to be in this place. Very nice setting very classy and there we are like a couple of backpackers in Europe all a mess and plopped down at the bags piled high and I get a charge for my iPhone. A couple Blue Points, Kumamotos and another variety, we dive into it the fresh and tasty oysters savor every slippery bite and gulp. Fresh shaved horseradish and Mignonette. I order also some steamed clams. I ate every one and was thankful for them. I order a Manhattan to warm me up and we settle on the check. Nothing else on the menu looking my style, I look on the Maps and find a place that has a gluten free menu. Sold. As we laugh and giggle our way looking like we really stand out we start to walk down the street and my sister exclaims " It's snowing" I was not even paying attention and It begins to come down pretty swiftly. What do I do? Well I grab my iPhone one handed with bags on and so amazed by the snow I ask my sister to pose. I want to I capture this moment even with my hands wet from every flake hitting them. We are a couple of nuts we start to giggle and pass others walking hand in hand or a group and we laugh like a couple kid hyenas down the street. The snow falls fast and we are covered each trying to catch it in our mouths. Yes iPhone worthy as well. A bit lost we have to go one more block and I gotta put my gloves on and try to get somewhat covered up. We pass a nice restaurant and I think " man that is nice place, oh well let's look for the place I found online. " Walking passed it I see how nice it is inside. Grabbing my iPhone I look at the maps again, we passed and to my surprise, this place is it. The nice place with all the fancy people and food photography is Bambara. We are we about to class it up tonight. Over shooting my expectation and my sisters, I decide we need this, like really really need this.

Making our way down the narrow hallway We are covered in snow and wet all over. The host girls get a look at us as I say " Two for dinner please, where can we drop our bags?" They motion happily to the lobby area. Walking away I lean back and say jokingly, "Don't be afraid of us we will be right back!" All of us knowingly caught in up in our enthusiasm. The front desk guy also helping us out with some suggestion of the menu tells us to enjoy our meal. We are feeling damn lucky and fancy free, We start to walk back to the restaurant and see a giant scrabble board installation on the wall. We mess around with some words are on our own then come to create this phrase to let others kno we have arrived. KARNS WAS HERE. Not able to find another K we had to let go of KARNS KIDS WERE HERE. I think we did great. A peace sign Instagram photo snapped and we head back down the hallway. Dry and warm we are fitted up nicely for a meal. the hostesses welcome us in and we are sat in a booth. I ask for the Gluten free menu and It is no ordinary half assed Gf menu. We order Foie Gras over raddichio and an apple pear salad with bacon. My sister orders a bacon wrapped chicken with Sweet Potato gnocchi, and I the crispy grilled Scotish Salmon. Over the course of our meal we are relaxed and converse of life careers and dating BS. Over booze and great food we do not care but to be here in the present enjoying this time.

We finish our meal and have one more drink in the adjoining bar THE VAULT. both housed within the Hotel Monaco. We wanted to see Krampus as to waste time before out 3:30 am train we had to take in a few hours but that did not happen. Next door was a bar called The Red Door, a martini bar they had a pretty fun menu. Scanning the choices and their 12 days Drinks of Christmas menu I say screw it and order this one drink cause it is hilarious. COCAINE LADY. Vodka Amaretto, Bailey's and finished off with one line of powdered sugar. Yeah having never done it It looked real to me. I mean I guess you could do a line off a Martini? Is that a thing? Who knows. My sister orders a Pinot Noir again and I take my photos as I know she is sick of the Instagram thing but I do it anyway,

Coming to our time to take a train we grab our things and cab it back to the Train station to wait four our train. A bit tipsy and fed we settle in as the first to be there. 1 hour 30 min left to go we wait as others arrive. We watch Love Actually to pass the time and get our minds off of the wait. I saw this movie with my buddy Ewan when it came out in the theaters, he put up with me plenty and went to see this with me I am sure he dreaded it but funny enough this was a good movie back then and pretty happy to have shared this with him. Holiday movie memory forever locked in. As 3:30am comes and goes we find out the train has equipment issues. Now 3:30am was pushing it as I knew we would sleep on train but as we mingle with other fellow passengers in the small and tight seated lobby we realize that we are in for a long night. I about lose my mind making mumbled jokes and my sister and I joke around with funny ideas and comical photos. We do what we can to make this wait so much less painful. I slowly turn to fake tap dancing as she photographs me, I hug my bag as it is now my fake girlfriend and oddly enough feels really good right now at 4am. I kid you not we end up boarding the train at 6am and finally leave the station at 7:30am. 3 hours late we screwed our dinner time with our dad and sister Meghan. Eagerly waiting for us. We can't believe we are on train and this being up for 24 hours straight has tried my patience to no end. Every passenger was very talkative and we made easy friends. That was my take away , as bad as it was not one was a mean old grinch. We laughed and I jokingly asked for MIMOSA's from the conductor for our trouble. The Holiday Train Trip is turning out to give me different gifts than I thought. Peace among my fellow Amtrakers.

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