I always wanted to see the beautiful Pacific Coastline, a frequent feature on travel shows and computer screensavers. My original plan was to drive a part of Highway 1, but one day I had an idea to see an even larger part of the Coast from a rail car window – a much more relaxing and hassle-free way of travel. Since writing about traveling by train in 2008, I’ve become an even bigger fan of Amtrak, riding the rails to Chicago at least once every year. It’s a stark contrast with the air travel, where if it were any closer to the cattle transport they would have to give passengers antibiotics and tag their ears. I didn’t have to think twice about buying tickets on the Coast Starlight – one of the most picturesque routes in the country. In addition to the usual advantages of Amtrak – refundable tickets, no charge for luggage, comfort and humane treatment – this time I paid for a roomette in a sleeping car and automatically became a first class passenger. I knew it right away when an attendant brought a small bottle of (cheap) champagne as soon as the train left Seattle. The price of a sleeping car also includes all meals, coffee, juices and fruit in the car, access to a private lounge car and (on this train) a free WiFi. The roomette is not as roomy as one might think, but it’s comfortable enough and private, so no one is schlepping past you at night and the light is not on. The ride is pleasant, the food is not bad at all (did I mention it’s paid for?), the stops are infrequent and the views are breathtaking. I thought it was worth the money, even though it was not cheap.
These are some photos I took from the train, some of them are blurry, so you will feel like you are on the train…or drunk.
This is the Seattle King Street Station, it’s currently being restored so there isn’t much to see inside.
We had enough time to walk around in Portland…
…and check out its sophisticated trash receptacles.