Not much happens Friday night. Still full from burgers at the Billy Goat Tavern, we skip dinner. Tonight we’ll find out if the dining cutbacks have taken effect on the Southwest Chief. I stay up until Kansas City, where we depart 8 minutes late at 11:03 p.m.

On Saturday morning, I wake up at 7:30 a.m. CT during sunrise near the Kansas-Colorado border. I take a shower and then get to experience that wonderful task of shaving on the train. As return to my room, we are pulling into Lamar, Colorado. It is now 7:26 Mountain Time and we are 20 minutes behind schedule. Our car attendant, Rene, says there is some padding in the schedule between here and La Junta, Colorado and we should have time for a 15-minute smoke break and pull out on schedule.

Rene is right as we stop at La Junta, Colorado 2 minutes early at 8:13 a.m. We have 15 minutes to stretch our legs – and for some, fill their lungs – and I go into the station and check out the vending machines. Forget Wheaties, the breakfast of champions today is a cherry and cheese bear claw, Andy Capp’s hot fries and pack of Twizzlers, washed down with a Dr. Pepper.

During the stop in La Junta, Colorado there is a crew change and I ask one of the Amtrak employees about the GTB delay last night. He says he wasn’t on the train, but he heard we blew a hose. Mystery solved, I guess.

We leave the station on time at Trinidad, Colorado, cross the Raton Pass (which I learn is the highest point on the Sante Fe line) and actually 12 minutes arrive early at 10:44 a.m. at Raton, New Mexico, which gives us another stretch and smoke break.

We leave Raton, New Mexico at 10:56 a.m., right on time, but then immediately stop for an all red signal in the West Raton Yard. After a short delay of a couple of minutes, we start moving again.

Outside of Lamy, New Mexico we are going very slow, and then we stop for several minutes awaiting an approaching train. It turns out the train we are waiting for is the Eastbound Southwest Chief. With this delay are 21 minutes late in Lamy.

We make the time back during the one-hour station stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which begins at 3:42 p.m. My stomach is still on Eastern time so I decide to get some food from the vendors on the platform. I choose two burritos – one beef, potato & beans, the other spicy steak – and an order of enchiladas, which comes with two of the pork variety.

We walk outside the station and see a Thai restaurant down the street. My girlfriend orders some Thai food to go and I have a beer while we are waiting. We return to the station, I take several pictures of the engines and we return to our room for a New Mexico/Thai feast. The train departs at 4:45 p.m. and we eat and watch the sunset over the desert.