On the Train

After yesterdays fall, Kerry’s wrist was certainly swollen and not in a good shape. Neither was her chin, nor knee. However her stoic soul was undeterred and we made our way downhill to the King Street Station in Seattle, following the route we’d checked the day before. Down one block, left here, cross over here, down the lift to platform level and lined up for the check in – the journey took about 15 minutes; so pleased to have found a convenient location for our hotel.

Kerry used her left arm to pull her case, and the right wrist has been comfortably stabilised with the stretchy wrapping.

We found Car 11 and were greeted by Dean our steward who directed us upstairs to Room 7 – our Superliner Roomette. I carted both our cases up the narrow winding staircase then realised there was completely no room in the Superliner Roomette for them, so carted them down the narrow winding staircase again and left them in the rather insecure luggage racks.

Amtrak rolled us out at 9:30am on time. Our little cabin had two comfy seats facing each other that converted into two beds – one folding down from the roof.

The scenery rolled past and my lovely mapping app on the iPad showed us our location. I’m super interested in following where we are on a map, or looking out the window at the passing landscapes whether it be on a plane or train or car. Some people aren’t. I wonder what draws each to their preferences and how both can be very happy with their journey.



Water through the trees

Seattle, and Vancouver, is on waterways protected from the Pacific Ocean by islands and both are essentially on huge harbours. Seattle seems more built up and industry lines the foreshore with large ships carrying goods to and fro. If you listen to many locals, they bemoan their sad reality that most is imported and the decline of their once great manufacturing industries. Coming from the home of capitalism, I find their moaning rather amusing. Businesses will always find the cheapest source for manufacturing – it’s a fundamental tenet of capitalism. Yet when we talk about Australia, they ask if it is socialist, ‘like Canada’. I’ve learnt this is a loaded phrase, often used by people who feel like the guy with the slogan covered ute in Montana but without the courage to display their views so openly.

We left the train at Portland, Oregan looking for a pharmacy and a better splint for Kerry’s wrist. For a Monday afternoon, the place was dead, virtually no one around. Maybe all train station precincts are like this, and to be fair, we’d get the same impression at our town interstate terminal pretty much any day or time. No pharmacy was found.

Lunch was provided in the dining car and shared with a couple from Queensland who we were happy to get away from.

The scenery rolled past, train travel is comfortable. A few drinks, a few chats in the diner, dinner came and went, darkness fell as we climbed into the substantial mountains with little villages that really deserved exploring. Oregon would be a place to check out.

One man was keenly taking a photo of every locomotive he could see and recording it’s number. His wife was quite chatty with us, but desperate to try to join in with her husband and get him to explain the differences in the locomotives when she saw none. She had no real interest, and it was probably rather a lonely existence for her on holidays. God was going to save her though and salvation day was something she was gleefully looking forward to. He produced a Jehovah’s Witness leaflet. We politely declined. End of an otherwise interesting conversation from her.

Sleeping on the train was marginal, but we were very pleased to have taken the sleeper option. The privacy of our little room, being able to stretch out during the day and night were all big pluses. So was food being included. Wifi was marginal. Power sockets got everything charged up.

Early in the morning the train passed through the region Jacob worked a few years back, and then rolled on down the mountains onto the coastal flat lands towards Oaklands station where we had booked our exit – the closest station to San Francisco across the bay. Breakfast was served.

“Next stop Richmond – disembark here for bus services to San Francisco.” Oops.