Plans, Trains and Bucket Lists

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A circle, the size of an oversize negative Oreo cookie, pulsates on my iPhone. I have five seconds to touch it and voila, another Uber adventure begins.

Monday morning, I drove up Pico, then entered the hallowed lands of the gated Talega community. “Sam” messaged the gate code to me. I crept up to the house. For those who are unfamiliar with the driver perspective of Uber, when the GPS determines that you have arrived, the screen turns to green. “Driver has been notified. Please wait.”

“Sam” came out the front door, practical suitcase behind him. I had time to jump out and open the boot to accommodate his suitcase. Then, small talk.

“John Wayne or LAX?”

So much for assuming. [Why haven’t I learned this yet?]

“Neither. Train station.”

“San Juan Capistrano or San Clemente?”

Still haven’t learned the never-assume lesson.

“Neither. Irvine.”

“All right. What time is the train? Want to make sure I get you there on time.”

“Doesn’t matter. We have time. A friend is picking me up, in a private railroad car, attached to an Amtrak train.”

My imagination took off. I wanted to know more.

Sam told me that his old college friend traveled anywhere and everywhere, in his private railroad car. The only limit, of course, is that the destination has to involve railroad tracks. What’s more, he had not one, but two cars. A full-time chef and dining room in one. Living quarters, guest sleepers, in the other. Sam had gone to the Kentucky Derby with his friend. “Another world.”

Another world indeed. I resisted the temptation to ask if this Pullman adventurer was married. “What does this man do, or did, to make this possible?”

“Marketing.” Must be MARKETING. Obviously I missed something in my advertising career.

I wanted to see this vision of what I have determined is an updated version of the 19th Century American Breath of Freedom Train – Breath of freedom for the uber wealthy

I got another fare, so I had to miss seeing the vision of the engine pulling into the station, and a smoking-jacketed gentleman floating down the steps into the sunshine, noticing me and beckoning . . .

Back to reality. Since then, I have found a round house full of possibilities.  Based on their names alone, a journey in a chartered railroad car could put you in contention for the World Bucket List Grand Prize: Moonlight Dome. Northern Sky. Silver Solarium. Stampede Pass. Babbling Brook.

I could be ready in an hour.

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