Riding the rails from Los Angeles to Connecticut provides a feast for the eyes and an opportunity to reflect on the changes America has seen - plus those still to come.
Soon we'd be snaking through the freight yards and pulling into the Amtrak platform at L.A.'s Union Station. It was a dramatic opening scene - almost cinematic - filled with promise.
Like the toad who wants to be the handsome prince, the lobbying group disguised as a business association was seduced by romantic Ayn Rand visions of sugar plum profits dancing at the mere idea of a white knight prancing into view.
Former flight attendant remembers her co-workers, her union sisters and brothers, and the dignity and hard work of the profession, which makes the industry belong to those who work in it.