Amtrak, The Ride

December 1 2011- A recent real estate convention in Anaheim brought me to California.  Visiting my kids, now both on the west coast, pro-longed my stay and so when the Southern Cal kids flew out of LA to the Detroit/Saints game in New Orleans, (the annual Schlehuber Bowl) on December 1st, I decided I would go north to visit my daughter who had just moved to Oregon.  I had never seen the stretch of land between LA and Carmel and was excited to get it checked off my list.

Ok, so I’m a northern Michigan girl,  and its a long drive up the coast to Oregon so after procrastinating my options on mode of travel,  pondering the rental car & the 4-5 day trip (recommended time to see all the sites) or the rat race of the airlines, I decided NOT to fly or drive..I inquired a little and found that Amtrak runs up the Pacific Coast, and for pretty reasonable, so I got a ticket to Albany Oregon and my first 27 hour train ride.  First time on Amtrak, (kind of on the bucket list), loved it!  would do again in a heart beat.  Beautiful ocean coastline, rugged mountains, glacier lakes and many remote little towns, amazing scenery! The train staff were interesting and had a west coast sense of humor…The website indicated there was complimentary Wi-Fi but when it didn’t work, I was told it really hadn’t gotten hooked up yet , (apparently they’ve been telling that story for quite some time now), (that’s not so cool),  but I was able to tether my cell phone for access and was able to work from my least when there was a cell signal which was ample.  I hate to say that I get excited over little things like a double plug within distance of my left arm but I do….having that luxury for my laptop and cell phone is one that does not come on many planes so the 27 hour trip on train vs. 3.5 hour airline flight was still worth it.

So, if I could pass on any tips from my first Amtrak experience, these would be a couple:  When they pull up to a station on the route and say “this is a short stop, don’t wander far”, (mostly speaking to the cigarette break crowd), they mean it!  so getting left (aka stranded) at the Santa Barbara station wasn’t good…and the staff doesn’t have much of a sense of humor about that either, (ok so I really had to call the office and didn’t want to talk on the train,  it was only a few minutes in the bathroom), but finding the “Transportation Rockstar” cabbie that got me 110 miles north to the next stop before the train got there was a ride worth the fortune it cost me, (you can’t buy that kind of entertainment!).  The cabbie asked me why I picked his cab out of the 6 that were lined up.  I told him if I was going to spend a lot of money and ride two hours with a stranger,  they needed to speak English and have good looking legs, he had both. Actually he was French but spent most of his life in the U.S.  so verbal skills were good.

Once boarded back on the train after 2 hours, they hardly missed me, a few people thought I had gone to the bar or lunch…one figured I missed the train but all my equipment luggage and extra money were still in tact.

The parlor is a great place to sit with the big glass windows and view the scenery unobstructed so once back on the train, I checked that all out and what a treat I got.  There were 2 volunteers from a local historical society who gave a 2 hour history of the southern mountain region of Oregon and the Native American history, (similar to ours just not as old).  So while winding through this amazing mountain pass and seeing the snow covered landscape, anyone in the parlor who was interested got a 5-star history lesson!  I pay extra for that if I travel but they were happy to show off their region, LOVE VOLUNTEERS!
Dining in the white linen table-cloth caboose is an interesting event.  They seat you wherever there is an open seat so I was seated with a couple who were taking a 50th wedding anniversary trip and started in North Carolina.  It’s a annual event for them, somewhere on Amtrak, they love it.   When I pried for more information about their life, they told me they were circus owners…..but were tired and ready to sell (they own 2) but selling a circus in this economy was not so easy…I’m thinking, are you kidding? I can’t imagine!! selling a house in this market isn’t an easy task so I can’t imagine a circus…anyway, nice couple and after 50 years seem to still like each other.   Never met a circus owner, asked how he got involved in that industry and he said he didn’t finish high school, left home got involved in a circus now he owns 2 (apparently made a fortune)….Love that old “entrepreneurial” spirit!

Last tip:  When they give you a claim ticket for luggage, don’t lose it….at least if you de-board in Albany OR, you may end up with the Nazi luggage man where even with a drivers license and picture ID and no one else left picking up any luggage and only one bag left on the cart, I was not allowed to take my luggage till I filled out a claim form….no amount of pleading or common sense prevailed….I pulled out all my warm and fuzzy Michigan stuff to no avail…..”Welcome to Oregon”, not so much..(so I’m in the tourism business too and have a clue).  At first I thought maybe you could chalk it up to him just having a bad day but other regular riders in the station said it was “most normal” for him….hmmmm, he wouldn’t last at my company! So I won’t hold Oregon responsible for him but Amtrak might want to send out a hospitality tester:)

Interesting people ride trains…..and all of that makes for interesting stories…. I’m glad I tested new waters and got to add this story to my list…I’m also glad I had my wallet and cell phone with me when I got stranded at the station…I can laugh about it now but every once in a while I wonder how my trip would have changed had I not had my wallet and phone with me when the train left without me…..hope I never know.Key BiscayneUS real estate Floridaпосуда питерnorth miami beach condos for saleкак подать бесплатно объявление на авитоbinary optionmultipass-recovery.comстатья