Saturday, April 16, 2011


Actually, as you read this, I'm already in California, by way of buses and trains.  With the rising cost of fuel, and doing the math, it was so much cheaper to take Amtrak to California, than drive or fly, and with only having been on Amtrak once before, for a very short trip, (under an hour), I thought it would be an adventure, and an adventure it was.
My day, or should I say night, started out at 2am, by rising and loading up the pickup with my luggage and heading to the Amtrak station in Pasco, WA.  I had been notified by Amtrak the day before, that train service was cancelled and that I would have the pleasure of riding a bus from Pasco to Portland, OR.  So after checking my one piece of luggage, and picking the brain of the clerk at the counter with several of the questions I had about train travel, I waited an hour for the bus to arrive and begin my journey.
I have to say, the four plus hour bus ride from Pasco to Portland was extremely enjoyable and relaxing.  It helped that I had the two seats by myself, where I could place my carry on bag with all my electronics on the seat  next to me, and read and nap to my heart's content.  Before I knew it, the time flew by and we were in Portland.
The Portland Amtrak station is truly a beautiful place.  It beckons to the past era of train travel with it's vintage look.  It was clean, had a little shop for magazines, food, and drinks, especially coffee, where the line was quite long when I first arrived.  What wasn't so great, were the hard wooden benches I had to occupy for well over four hours while I awaited the arrival of the Coastal Starlight train which would be my home for the next 16 hours.
Finally, around 2:30pm, twelve hours into my day, I boarded the train and found my assigned window seat.  I was amazed at how much leg room there was and how at first the seat was so comfortable.  But by the time we had arrived in Sacramento, I was cursing that seat and couldn't wait to get out of it.  Sixteen hours is a long time, and if the price of a sleeper room wouldn't have canceled out why I was taking the train in the first place, (well over $240 ), I would have upgraded in an instant. 
It also didn't help that I had another passenger next to me that obviously didn't adhere to the travel etiquette to not violate personal space.  There were no arm rests between the seats to mark your own territory, and he was more than willing to extend his elbow into my ribs for most of the entire trip.
On a more positive note, the scenery was fantastic, and with the help of an almost full moon, I also was able to take in the snow covered terrain during the night as I tried to cat nap until our 6:30am arrival in Sacramento, CA.  There I waited again for a bus that would take me to Stockton, CA where I would board my final train for a short 30 minute ride into Modesto where my Niece was waiting to pick me up.

I'll be in California until the evening of the 27th, where I will reverse my travels, but this time, unless there will be changes, I'll have three separate train rides to get me back into Pasco by the evening of the 28th.  Until then, I'll be enjoying the company of my friends and family here in Modesto, delight Craig with copious amounts of home cooked meals and goodies as he passes through the area several times a week, and believe it or not, miss getting my hands dirty working on projects.  But not to fear, there is an oak table and chairs sitting out on my Mom's patio that is just screaming for a make over............Home Depot here I come!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once again great pics


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