Amtrak to Seattle

Sept. 26, 2011

An early morning start in Vancouver, AB, to begin our journey home via Amtrak to Seattle. It saved some time that we had picked up our tickets the day prior when there was less of a crowd. The seats on the train are as comfy as first class on a plane and the scenery along the way is spectacular! So moist and green, unlike Austin where apparently temps are back to 100+ degrees. Sheesh!

Imagine a virtual tunnel of forest and lush undergrowth. We have crossed the wide Frasier River in Westminster and now we’re on an exclusive train path through the woods on a rainy day. Ah! And now suddenly a golf course. Even the paths look a bit like water hazards today. Trains are a great and cheap way to travel if they happen to connect to where you want to go. Free wifi, snacks available for purchase, and plenty of room to walk around.

On one such walk a young girl stood in the aisle. She showed me a small sign that says “Maggie is 3!” I stopped to congratulate her and wish her a Happy Birthday. Three years is a great accomplishment if you ask me! Children have learned so very much by that age (and so have their parents/guardians!)

Hmm, we are crossing a marsh and river, now forest and towns on one side and ocean on the other. There really is abundant water in some parts of the world. Here’s to the fishers, farmers and ranchers everywhere dependent on the uncertainties of weather.

Stopped for a while near the border. A Border Patrol agent will board the train and check passports and customs forms–actually I see 3 of them. No fruits or vegetables, please! A fast check, though, and we’re on our way.

Next stop, Bellingham, WA. About 20 people boarded and 1 debarked–gradually filling seats as we traveled south. It was nice to view sailboats in the harbor and a shipyard where a ship is under construction. Binoculars were handy for that sighting! We have stopped for a couple of passing trains as we switched tracks.

Brief stops at Mount Vernon and Stanwood stations. Along here we see a lot of farmland. Skies are overcast but the rain has lifted. Fall colors provide a beautiful background as we travel past farm houses, barns, crops, livestock, and orchards. Hay bales are wrapped in plastic and ready for winter storage.

We have crossed a drawbridge and under a highway bridge as we approach Everett. There’s a lumberyard with huge piles of wood chips, some reddish, others brown. Basic ingredients for plywood, I suspect. Next door are piles of granite in various sizes and a recycling center.

On to Edmonds then Seattle. We’ll take SeaTac light rail to our hotel near the airport, then try to connect with Jon’s daughter Alicia. All this plus some of my favorite iPod selections ranging from Andrea Bocelli, operatic tenor/baritone; to Iris DeMent, country western singer; to k.d.lang, blues singer. A delicious day indeed!

Next postings will be about towns and cities we visited. Stay tuned!

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