So ends the Excellent Adventure. :)
It's far too early in the morning…
Alas, Brendan & Becky’s Excellent West Coast Adventure is almost over. Tomorrow morning, we’ll be waking up at 3:00 AM (arrgh) to catch an airport shuttle at 3:45 AM and a 5:25 AM nonstop America West flight back to Phoenix. We’re scheduled to land at 8:16 AM, and I hope to be at work by 9:00 AM. So, less than 12 hours from now, I’ll be back to the daily grind. (On the bright side, it’s only a two-day week, and moreover, 26 hours from now, we’ll be watching a midnight show of Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest. Woohoo!)
But anyway, I have a few more hours of freedom, and what better way to enjoy them than by drinking the last of Andrew & Bea’s sangría and posting vacation photos to the blog? :)
We had a great day in Seattle. I wish we could stay longer, as it seems like there’s a lot of great stuff to do in this city. But it was a fun day regardless. As planned, we met up with David and Lisa for dinner:
And, as noted earlier, I crossed visiting the Space Needle off my life’s to-do list:
Very fun. More photos after the jump.
We're in a cab, at a drawbridge, waiting for a cargo ship to pass through. I feel like we're back on the Amtrak train. :)
Downtown as seen from the top of the Space Needle. Another item crossed off my life's to-do list. :)
Taking the elevator up the Space Needle.
I have a feeling that the North Korean missile test is a bigger local story here in Seattle than in most cities.
I'm in Seattle, so you know I had to get Starbucks. :)
A view of downtown Seattle from the water.
We're taking a Harbor Cruise of Seattle's Elliott Bay.
[First, an irrelevant aside, for the scroll-weary: Don’t miss guestblogger Sean Sullivan’s awesome Shuttle coverage!]
Well, we made it. Exactly 40 hours and 20 minutes after pulling out of L.A.’s Union Station — and nearly six hours behind schedule — our train arrived at Seattle’s King Street Station at 2:28 AM today. We’re now at our Motel 6 (after getting a cab ride from a hilariously stereotypical anti-Bush stoner) and are settling in for a long-awaited sleep on an actual bed. Tomorrow (er, later today): the Space Needle!
The train trip was totally worth doing, IMHO. It had its frustrating moments (not so much the delays, which were expected, but some customer-service snafus — more on those in due course — and a few unpleasant travelling companions), but overall it was very fun. Would I do it again? Probably not, but it was great to do once, and now I can cross it off my life’s to-do list. :) As an added bonus, it was awesome to finish the trip on the 4th of July; we must have seen a dozen separate fireworks shows as we passed through the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA area. Very cool.
Anyway, here are a few of my pictures from Tuesday. Stay tuned for more, higher-resolution photos, eventually.
Mount Shasta, California, in the early-morning light. Shasta is a 14,162-foot stratovolcano.
Another view of Mount Shasta, a little later and from a different angle.
The Shasta Valley.
Me and the train at Klamath Falls, Oregon.
The Pacific Parlour Car — for sleeper-car passengers only. I passed through en route back to coach after they let me onto one of the front cars at Klamath Falls because I was in some danger of missing the train otherwise. (I had been wandering up and down the train, taking pictures.)
Upper Klamath Lake, with the 9,495-foot stratovolcano Mount McLoughlin in the distance.
Crossing the Williamson River. (Stupid-ass power lines.)
A tunnel in the Cascades, seen out the back window of the rear train car.
Pine trees… lots and lots of pine trees.
Even Spiderman couldn’t make the train run on time.
Sunset over central Oregon.
The Portland train station.
Again, a major shout-out to Lee GrothÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s The Milepost and John PittÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s USA by Rail, our indispensible travel guides for this train adventure. Also, a shout-out to Becky, for humoring me by coming along on this trip in the first place, and for putting up with my general dorkiness throughout the train ride. :) She had a good time too, I think! Oh, and a hat tip to the 10-year-old kid sitting across the aisle from us, who informed us that the train’s nickname is the “Coast Starlate.” Heh.
To view all of my posts about the trip, visit the West Coast Trip 2006 category.
Fireworks in Portland, Oregon, as seen from the pedestrian bridge over the train station:
Awesome! Who knew that 6 1/2 hours late could qualify as “perfect timing”? :)
Also, as promised, our train appeared on the Brooklyn Rail Yard webcam as we passed through Portland. I was watching live on my laptop via cell phone (several interested fellow passengers were watching over my shoulder, too), and I captured screenshots, which can be seen after the jump.
Live webcam views here.
We are once again stopped in our tracks, waiting for Union Pacific trains to get out of our way. This is why Amtrak trains are often so late: freight trains get right-of-way once we fall even a little
behind schedule, causing a domino effect of delays.