It started at 3:30am on Monday, November 14th.  Mom and Dad drove me to a nearby Amtrak station, where I boarded the 29 Capitol Limited to Chicago, IL around 5:00am.  I had my own seat, so I was able to nap on and off for a few hours.

At 8:45am (4hrs 23min later) I arrived in Chicago.  I was about to be stranded in Chicago until 2pm, so I paid $9 to rent a locker for my luggage and wandered the streets for a five hours. I made sure to stop for cheap lunch at Subway, because train food is too expensive for me.

The California Zephyr ride to Glenwood Springs was scheduled to be 25hrs: 2pm Monday to 2pm Tuesday (with one time zone change).  I was really hoping to have my own seat (which means two seats next to each other) but I was assigned a seat next to a guy heading to Denver (7am destination) meaning I was stuck with him over night.  He wasn't even in his seat 10 minutes before he hustled off to the viewing car, never to be seen again.  I knew he would be back at night time to sleep, so I started planning musical seats.  Lucky for me, the couple behind me rented a sleeping car for the night, so I claimed their seats for my own.

I met a lot of people sitting around me.  Justin, sitting across the aisle from me was the most entertainment.  I also got a free drink from his loose change.  I shared a bottle of wine with Chad from Virginia, sitting behind me.  I learned the life story from one of the nice ladies sitting across from me who was from Cleveland.  I never got their pictures or names, and they left us in Denver, before the party started.

After a nice night sleep, we arrived in Denver about 10:30 or so. We were 3.5 hours late, but stayed in Denver for 20 minutes instead of almost an hour, which cut our delay to 3 hours.  I think the main reason for the delay was freight train traffic.  We were constantly stopping to let them pass.

From Denver to Glenwood Springs I was used to the train, comfortable with everyone around me, and knew I would not be making it to my apartment that day, due to the delay.  So we all had a few drinks, played some guitars, made a couple videos and welcomed everyone who passed to Car 9.  I'm not sure what car we were actually on, but somehow chose Car 9. Fin joined us in Denver, and I met Tessa, who had been there since Chicago, and got to know Bill and Dan, from up towards the middle of the car, a little bit better.

We arrived in Glenwood Springs at 4:30pm (2.5 hours late).  I had up to a 2hr bus ride ahead of me to the Aspen area, and my housing office closed at 4, so I wasn't going to be accessing my apartment Tuesday night.  I took the bus to Aspen and stayed at the St Moritz Lodge.  $32 for a shared room.  Not bad.  It is the off season, so there was only two females on the floor, and plenty of rooms, so I had my own. The price goes up during ski season, but it is still the most affordable lodging in the area.  It was a super cute place, and if I ever come back to the area to visit, I'll definitely be staying there.   They even had a heated outside pool open, and icicles were hanging outside my window.  Only down side was carrying all my luggage up and down three flights of stairs.

The lady working at St. Moritz Lodge at night offered me a ride to my apartment the following day, to avoid the busses with my luggage.  She told me her extension, which I forgot, and the guy working in the morning would not give to me.  So I had to walk to the bus stop, take two busses and walk up a winding road to my apartment.  I made it probably 100 feet, in like 10 minutes.  I was rolling one stack of luggage up a ways, parking it, going back for the other, rolling it up past the first, going back for the first, etc.  It was impossible for me to roll it all at once.  A nice guy stopped to pick me up.  (They only rape and kill you in the movies) He drove me the rest of the way to my apartment.  He dropped me at the housing office, and after checking in, 4 workers helped me bring my luggage to my room.  I think I needed those 4 helpers with my luggage the entire trip.

I arrived in my apartment at Noon on Wednesday the 16th.

This is the best shot I got of the abundance of room Amtrak provides in each seat.  Even when the seats in front are leaned back, it doesn't affect you at all.

Colorado River?

Red Mountains?

This is my favorite picture from the trip

The front of the train starting to weave up the mountain

You can barely see him, but during a 5 minute smoke break in Winter Park, CO, we came across my first snow of the season!  Another non-smoker helped me build a 5 minute snowman!

My turtle traveling companion
These are the 7 items of luggage I dragged with me. Car to train to Chicago station to 2nd train to 1st bus to 2nd bus to taxi to hostel, up three flights of stairs, down three flights of stairs, 4 blocks to 3rd bus then to 4th bus and up a winding street, into strangers car, and up to 2nd floor to my apartment. Not fun. The largest two were 54lbs and 34lbs. The rest were not much lighter.

I'll have three other roommates here, in a 4 bedroom apartment. One of them has moved in already.  I've been here two days and have not met her yet.  She must be out of town.  I feel like I've broke into someone's apartment and I'm living here while they're gone.  She has the whole place decorated and furnished.  Looks like she's lived here a while.  Maybe she'll return one of these days. The other two should arrive in the next week or two.

These are some photos taken out my bedroom window.  Beyond the tennis courts you can see the lifts up the mountain.  The mountains don't seem as large as I expected.  However, I decided to compare them to Ohio's Snow Trails, the location of the only time I've ever skied, probably in Jr. High.

Snow Trails vertical rise: 300 feet
Snowmass vertical rise: 4,406 feet

Snow Trails longest run: 2,000 feet (0.38 miles)
Snowmass longest run: 27,984 feet (5.3 miles)

So, I've come to the conclusion that this mountain is actually pretty big, and I've just been watching too much TV of back country skiing.

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