Monday, May 21, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Our One-Month American Whistle Stop Fact-Finding Tour Report

Richard Charles for US Nevada Senator Tues 12 June 2012 and Tues 6 November 2012

Aloha All: 177 American cities in 30 days on Amtrak Rail Passes.

Last night we hugged our beloved animals after a month away on our American Campaign Fact Finding Whistle Stop Tour.

The day we left on the California Zephyr was the first day of actual Tahoe spring temps, where there are two seasons: Winter and Repairs. Despite continued snow skiing, we enjoyed sunny walks on 74 degree crowded beaches with water like glass for paddle boarders and kids braving the 36 degree clear waters.

There’s no place like home.

A month away from monopoly media at 79 and 125 mph on the tracks was a great prescription and recipe for some objective insights meeting America and Americans in 28 states.

We report without reservation that private America and Americans are in much better shape than most government monopoly media present.

Oh, obesity is an epidemic all right.

But higher food prices, death and disease are taking care of that with spiraling government subsidized education, healthcare, military and welfare cost overruns that threaten the collapse of profligate government.

The most serious problem for the future of America and All Americans, remains an armed coercive fiat obese government violating our Bill of Rights, Constitution and Declaration of Independence without voter accountability.

More later, but first, our report on Amtrak.

Amtrak was full occupancy from $4 a gallon fuel.

Amtrak train service employees were mostly busy, helpful, kind and overworked.

A 42-year veteran said they need better training with more qualified personnel and the railroad had gone down hill.

One Amtrak veteran said Amtrak employees could make six figures if they were willing to work themselves into the ground serving the rails.

We saw multiple Customer Service problems on the Texas Eagle/Sunset train.

Abusive impatient ineffective Amtrak personnel harassed and touched passengers in the middle of the night with equipment failures and over-occupied seats and cafe cars.

There was always the screaming child issue that could be met booking private sleeper car compartments most passengers cannot afford. Occasionally an unoccupied sleeper berth presents itself at a discount with much hassle and paperwork for the conductor.

A 24-year Amtrak veteran told us they need with more rest from quick turnaround breaks that dropped from 3 days to 9 hours on some routes, or Amtrak personnel may go postal or flip out in service like overworked airline personnel.

Amtrak has a glaring need for better equipment and maintenance.

We observed backed up dirty toilets, overflowing trash and urine soaked floors, noisy cars and rails with delays for repairs on the Lake Shore Limited, to more wireless needed on other than the Boston to DC and California political corridors, to overpriced inconsistent food quality (paying $30 for a cold hot meal) to bumpy rails, bumpy buses without alignment, balancing and hydraulic maintenance, tight schedules, limited routes, extensive layovers like Chicago, DC and San Antonio.

It appeared whistleblowers got harassed, transferred or removed from work, so went along with bad conditions to stay employed.

The San Antonio River Walk layover from 10 PM to 3 AM was nice, although one passenger was almost robbed outside the train station with a uniformed guard just standing in the doorway.

Despite the automated telephone service named Julie, Amtrak suffers a serious customer relations service problem verbally communicating and keeping published passenger schedules, due to lack of cellphone coverage, freight train right of ways, passenger and rail work delays with padded schedules, with no WiFi on most Amtrak routes.

Coming into Boston with Enterprise meeting us, we were variously told by Amtrak personnel the train was an hour late or an hour early. It turned out to be on time.

This happened on other routes too, with the bus driver from LAX to Bakersfield trains scaring crowded passengers in rush hour traffic to make up a late departure due to a late arrival passenger who could have been left for the next bus.

Amtrak or a private profit company with ample capital could be the future of green US Transportation, with a current cost economy of one gallon of diesel per 468 passenger miles:

Passengers told us Amtrak beat higher air, auto and even long bus travel costs.

Amtrak scenicruisers and dining cars were a great place to meet and dine with passengers from Beijing, Down Under, England, Europe, Latin America and the Heartland of America, including several Sisters riding the rails and staying at Monasteries, for their bright ideas and perceptions, namely that America and Americans are much better off than most realize.

Of course they casually mentioned their trains run faster and more smoothly at 200 mph.

We saw railroad traffic, tractor trailers and barges on nearby freeways and waterways were full utilization, hauling product and cargo containers from world ports, notably China and Korea.

Amtrak passengers waited on railroad sidings for fully loaded coal, cargo and tanker railcar rights of way to the actual owners of the tracks that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates bought.

There is a clear need for high speed rail dedicated only to American Passengers.

We share a few travel notes before our preliminary conclusions on Amtrak and America:

The gentle motion of the cars with the locomotive whistle far ahead was very soothing, unpleasantly punctuated by bad rails suddenly violently throwing cars and passengers side to side like air turbulence.

Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs became quite the retirement edens with clean air, essential services, interesting activities, new infrastructure and pleasant mountain vista terroir.

The four 14,500 horsepower diesel electric locomotive California Zephyr climb with views over the Rocky Mountains from Glenwood Springs to Rocky Mountain National Park to Winter Park to Boulder and Denver were stunning, including Steep Mountains and Canyons, Bald Eagles, Mountain Goats, Sheep with plenty of fresh water, green and open space to camp, drink, eat, fish and hunt.

In Nebraska we saw Air Force One parked outside Omaha (0 visiting Warren Buffett?) and in Iowa we saw the actual Field of Dreams in Dyersville, not just a movie hit:

We saw 28 cities pass by before we transferred to the crowded Hiawatha Commuter Train in Chicago, headed for a Milwaukee and Madison family reunion near Lake Michigan. We enjoyed beautiful weather, friendly people and effective charitably funded Jewish Senior Services, with one 97-year Senior feeding animals from her stroller complaining she had lived too long and was tired of chicken products every meal.

We speed-walked genteel Madison neighborhoods onto the University of Wisconsin Campus, the Frank Lloyd Wright Conference Center on Lake Mendotta, as well as the magnificent state Capitol Rotunda, described by some as second only to DC, which has more statues. Madison, unlike US Congress, protects First Amendment due process rights to peaceably assemble and petition government for a redress of grievances. 0:18

We enjoyed Milwaukee Brewers game with the California Angels on a rainy day made much better by Miller Park green design, enthusiasm, fan batters’ cages, a Hall of Fame including Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson and baseball commissioner Bud Selig, with the retractable roof where the All Star Game will be played.

We gazed and walked in wonder at the Milwaukee Art Museum triplex on Lake Michigan, highlighted by the magnificent Burke Brise Soleil sunscreen wings, larger than a Boeing 747-400, that open and contract to maintain building temperature or avoid high winds.,_Wisconsin

We noted in passing politics in once-Blue 0 WI reverted to Ron Paul Red Libertarian Tea Party. Several criminal recall efforts by Media supported Courts and Unions reluctant to face inconvenient economic facts and cutbacks backfired. Flyover country still uses common sense.

We took the Lake Shore Limited from Chicago to South Bend, Elkhart, Waterloo, Bryan, Toledo, Sandusky, Elyria and Cleveland, where we stayed at the downtown Residence Inn to meet an Amherst College classmate for a reunion visit at the almost rained-out Indians-Astros game. We enjoyed having Marty, our family baseball fanatic, along for the colour and stats..

At 5 AM we headed to Boston via Erie, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Schenectady, Albany, Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and Framingham, enjoying views of fertile farms near the Great Lakes and Erie Canal, despite horrible tracks, outdated rough railcars and Amtrak personnel scrambling to provide good service.

Some words to the wise:

Amtrak passengers should not drink to excess, fight,smoke on board, swear or make personal calls on cell phones, as everyone in the car can hear, see, smell and suffer. Such offending passengers are detrained before their destination for being intoxicated or smoking.

Amtrak passengers are generally civil and thoughtful.

We enjoyed great visits in the rain in Boston, Cambridge Charles Canal and Martha’s Vineyard at the Mother Church, architectural historical tours and art galleries. 

Our expensive ferry ride past Plymouth Rock from Wood’s Hole and the Vineyard Haven was escorted by mounted machine gun coast guard boats, possibly training for the President’s next family farm visit. Our generous informative hostess came from a MV family dating from whaling in the 1620s, and homes stay in families for generations, true New England Granite Character and grit.

From Boston to DC, a busy Amtrak employee forgot to unload a Brown to Yale student in a wheelchair at her stop, as the nurse meeting her waved furiously. We were able to locate the employee before the next stop with the gratitude of the employee who called us her angels when we said,

 "God is good."

We had great meets at the Arlington Rangers Royals Baseball Game, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Fort's Smith and Worth for a four-generation Mother's Day and National Cemetery to visit our Naval War Hero Father, the gleaming St Louis Arch over the Mississippi River at Sunset, the San Antonio River Walk and Los Angeles, all of which confirmed our private economy is better off than most citizens and countries depending on big government..

Construction cranes were booming in DC, not exactly an encouraging sign for those who find government already too big and bloated with broken promises.

We were concerned that each Federal bureacracy now appears to have its own police force in conspicuous evidence, confirming DC became a literal police state.

DC men were well-dressed, the women glamorous and traffic choked in a hurry, park lawns poorly maintained, with loud siren escorts of VIP buses and limos on crowded tourist trips to the American Capital area.

The Smithsonian Native America Building was stunning, one of 28 government Smithsonians in DC, yet another conspicuous bureaucracy when taxpayers deserve more economy.

In DC there appears a statue, monument or plaque for almost every special interest.

We noticed one visual fact in DC that spoke volumes about the vital need and way to restore Balanced Constitutional Representative government in our Capital:

There is a popular urban myth that no building in DC may be taller than the Capitol Building on The Hill that Houses Congressional Representatives under the Statue of Freedom:

The original DC architect, Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant, put our Congressional Capitol on The Hill at the center of the DC quadrants and boulevards, with the Supreme Court and White House to the side, perhaps for this reason:

Washington, DC is supposed to serve US citizens, not the other way around like now.

Perhaps 2012 citizen voters will take note and vote for the US Silver Senator to restore our balance of powers from the present top-heavy Executive and Judicial Branch.

Certainly that is our intent in standing for office out of retirement.

Meantime, Amtrak is a lesson in microcosm for big bloated Federal government in America.

More Amtrak subsidies are supported by the Las Vegas Casino Lawyer Democrat US Rep incumbent running for Nevada US Senate, impressed with her Dialysis Chain husband receiving government contracts while traveling on high speed trains in Asia, perhaps another trillion dollar boondoggle of American taxpayers.

We found compelling evidence Amtrak should be privatized for profit and free market efficiency.

Amtrak costs are rising severely with poor service.

A friend of ours literally stopped the train from San Francisco to Boston for hospitalization from Amtrak food poisoning.

Amtrak government subsidies enable costs and inefficiencies that run out of control like government subsidized education, healthcare and military war-profiteering.

Amtrak did not become self-sufficient or reliable as repeatedly promised.

Leland Stanford and EH Harriman would not recognize or own Amtrak today.

As one Amtrak passenger enjoying a comfortable long haul private rail car for $325 observed:

Were Amtrak a service company, not a protection racket set up to bleed government money into padded contracts, it would have the imagination to operate similar excursions.

America cannot afford Amtrak and other unprofitable boondoggle debts as it is.

Perhaps it is time for America’s government monopoly titans to stop encouraging still higher taxes for more failed government taxpayer subsidies.

Perhaps they can fund the necessary rail infrastructure to bring America into the 21st century with dedicated green rail travel.

In pre-revolutionary prosperous Charleston historic district and on the harbour tour, we previously noted the need for more character rather than more cash in Federal Government.

We are dedicated to that cause.

There is a simple prescription for weight loss: Eat Less.

There is a simple prescription for better government: Spend Less.

The last time we retired government debts was our Seventh President, Andrew Jackson, who took on the corporate banker hydra:

The last time we had sound money, liberty and profitable rails was William Stuart with Mark Twain, the Silver Senator:

For us, it is now or never.

We pray we citizens care enough about our future to take the time to forward this to all family and friends to register Nevada Republican by 22 May 2012 to get out the Primary vote for better candidates with the General Vote for government reform on Tuesday 6 November 2012:

Otherwise, it’s more of the same government failures and shortcomings at consumer, future generations and taxpayer expense.


No comments:

Post a Comment