Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Are we there yet? - Seattle, Washington

Day 39 and day 40 - Coast Starlight Line - Los Angeles, California to Seattle, Washington

Union Station - Los Angeles

The Amtrak Coast Starlight ride from Los Angeles to Seattle is absolutely breathtaking.  As we travelled out of Union Station in downtown Los Angeles we anxiously awaited our first glimpse of the ocean...and it was worth the wait!  There is something about the ocean that seems to call out to us and we quickly moved to the observation car to secure the best seat possible.  We rounded a turn as we approached Santa Barbara and there it was ... the glorious Pacific - white sand beaches, waves rolling in, surfers, beach volleyball, sandcastles and beachcombers!   Rob even saw a dolphin playing in the surf.  It literally brought a tear to my eye, as I felt we were home.  Our conversation quickly turned to kayaking as we longingly watched the miles of ocean roll by.

View of the Pacific Ocean from the Coast Starlight

We spent time with Jiapeng an international student from China, studying at Emporia State in Kansas.  Jiapeng was a delight to travel with as she brought such passion and enthusiasm!  She had a bright smile and a quick laugh....valuable traits for those on LONG train rides!

Jiapeng and Jane in front of a private car attached to our train
The ride was incredibly scenic...from ocean to the majestic forests of northern   California and Oregon..Mount Shasta.  A couple of volunteer interpreters joined us in Klamath Falls, Oregon and shared fascinating stories of the local history and natural surroundings.

Although we had been behind schedule for much of the trip (to the disgust of the type A personalities on board) our conductor absolutely cranked up the engines for last leg from Portland to Seattle.  We arrived back at King Street station ahead of schedule and feeling like we had come full circle.  We anxiously awaited for our bikes to be unloaded and made our way to the Best Western hotel in Pioneer square.  This hotel is also a National Historic site, so it felt like the perfect and fitting place to bunk down for the night.

We watch nervously as our bikes are unloaded from the train

We found some delicious Chinese food and hit the sack!  We have another 2 days of travel before we get home and with luck we will make it in time to celebrate Emma's 19th birthday!

Best Western Pioneer Square - Seattle

Giggle of the day:

We were seated directly in front of a first grader travelling across country with his Grammy.  They were on their way to Seattle to pick up her grand daughter and then were planning to train across country to New York City.  (very, brave Grammy)  The little man kept us in stitches with stories of what he was planning to be when he grew up - the President, a basketball player, a train conductor and a teacher - a MUSIC teacher.  We were serenaded on an hourly basis to the sound of him singing..."stand proud...stand strong!"  Let's just say he has our vote for President!

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Amtrak Coast Starlight Train