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Published: March 8th 2011
I woke to a lovely sunrise over the Mojave. Breakfast was an omelet and sausage patties. So far, my collarbone does hurt, but painkillers are keeping the pain well within bounds. Sometimes, if I'm well braced, the pain actually lets up entirely. The new sling helps, too; it's better quality than my old one.
I met Nicole in the hall and invited her to come up to my roomette to enjoy the view; she'd said that her bedroom was roomy but the windows were smaller. I believe she had the Family Bedroom. She came and spent about an hour with me. It was a pleasure to talk with her, and we exchanged e-addresses at the end, when she got off at Albuquerque.
We had an hour-long rest stop in Albuquerque. I tried twice to call Jim, but neither time did he answer his cell phone. It's Saturday, so I ought to have called him at home, but I had forgotten what day it was.
I bought six bottles of water from some students who were having a bake sale to benefit their softball team. I'm going to need them, and I'd rather give the money to them than to Amtrak.
Lunch was a cheeseburger, potato chips, and apple pie. My seatmates were an uncommunicative couple; they were travelling to Kansas City, but that's all I learned about them.
After lunch I had to decide when to go to the Observation Lounge (as we still had to cross Raton Pass). After some thought I decided to wait until we reached Las Vegas -- the one in New Mexico, not the famous one. Accordingly, I went to the Observation Lounge at three and stayed there until 5:30.
The lounge was practically deserted. I was startled; on my December journey there had been fierce competition for lounge seats and I'd been stuck with a seat on the sunny side. But there were no more than a handful of people there today. Once again I coped with Raton Pass; I had one moment of panic when I thought my chest was starting to hurt, but it subsided when I took a dose of albuterol. I have no idea whether it was pure psychological panic or whether my lungs really were having a bit of trouble. After all, they've been through Rotorua since December, and I did not have the Oxydrene I used on the outbound trip.
Back in my roomette, I watched the sunset over Colorado. I went to supper not long thereafter, and had the same thing I had had last night, steak and mixed vegetables. I had a baked potato instead of rice. I declined dessert but I wish now I had passed up the potato, which wasn't very good, and had a few bites of the apple pie.
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