Monday, October 04, 2010

cali trip, day 1

better late than never, it's the first part of our california trip recap. (please know that i still have the cold that i caught on the way to cali and, as such, am extremely cranky.)

leff and i decided to take the amtrak coast starlight instead of dealing with the hell of domestic flight. it was an extremely good decision. as soon as we were seated in our sleeper, we were given some complimentary sparkling wine.

i can count the number of times that that's happened to me on an airline on my balled fist.

you will notice the mention of a sleeper in the second paragraph. this is what makes traveling by rail endurable. we had a private, quiet place where we could shut out the world. also, meals were included in our ticket price.

oh yeah, there was also a large window. we saw many things, the first worth mentioning being the tacoma narrows bridge.

yes, that is where galloping gertie used to be.

people sometimes complain about the food on amtrak. i'm not exactly sure why they do this. what exactly were they were expecting? the fucking orient express?

the food is decent. it's not snooty tooty fresh 'n'fruity (well, except for the duck in the parlor car but that's another story...) but it is very good for what it is.

this, for example, is a turkey sandwich.

i mean, it's not gourmet or anything but it's extremely...efficient at being a turkey sandwich.

and, if i'm honest, it's much better than what i typically eat for lunch. (which tends to be something like a handful of nuts and a couple of spoonfuls of whatever condiment looks appetizing in the fridge. bleah...)

but back to the trip. rail travel involves a lot of stops. our first major one was in portland.

i can tell you that this is the best way to see portland. you know, in less than an hour with the foreknowledge that you will be getting out of there without having set foot in the town proper. (don't hold it against me, portland. i hate the entire pnw not just you. although the fact that some shittard was playing a flute at the train outside of your station doesn't do much to raise my opinion of you. *eyeroll*)

portland does have a nice train station, for what it's worth. it's much better than seattle's heap of shit which, granted, is being refurbished. (it's still currently a heap of shit though. )

i told you i was cranky.

anyway, that window. we saw some really beautiful parts of the country that aren't accessible by car.

leff and i took many books and movies with us but we didn't use any of them because we were so busy viewing the, um, views.

the particular train that we were on happened to be full of people who were leaving pax. most of the talk revolved around the new "halo".

this was particularly funny at meals when pax people were paired with retired schoolteachers who had never played a video game. (we thankfully discovered the parlor car where you were not required to sit with anyone shortly after this first boomer/paxer exchange.) (also, please don't get me started on the retired schoolteachers and their fucking mansplaining. uuuughhh)

some quick notes:
  • there are a lot of horses in rural oregon.
  • winlock, wa's "worlds' largest egg" is visible from the train. i have doubts about its claim.
  • spotting an abandoned cardboard sign on the forest floor that reads "everyone needs help sometimes" will not help your general feeling of well being.
  • dust devils are frightening things
  • people always wave at trains

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