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January 24th, 2013

I is here

After being 45 minutes late getting to San Jose, the Coast Starlight floored it and got to Oakland on time. They kept all the stops very short, even when we were on time, and made it to Seattle at 8:30 - about 10 minutes early. Last week they ranged from a n hour late to 45 minutes early.

Seattle rain. But I repeat myself.

when we got on the train, those of us in the sleeper cars were offered a chance for a late dinner in the dining car but when I saw that half of the people on their way were screaming-age children, I kept going and bought  hot dog and a soda in the lounge car.

My bed was already made up, but for 2 people, with the bunk bed down. No tip for the attendant, who was nowhere to be seen, so I figured out the mechanism and pushed the bunk out of the way myself.

I was very tired, it had been a busy and frustrating day at work (I was on loan to a corporate department) but I got done by 4:30 and left early. Home, finished packing, spent some time with the cats. Got to Amtrak an hour early, plenty of parking, there was a greeter in the waiting area who chatted with all the Coast Starlight customers, but never bothered to call the train status line, so she didn't know the train would be very late until I told her. FAIL.

Mostly uneventful trip. Fitful sleep, but I got a lot of it eventually. I slept right through Dunsmuir and woke up at Klamath Falls at 7:40 am. It was not quite sunrise.

Got out the camera, fired up its GPS, and took a couple of shots just to mark the spot. The trip through the forests was not the winter wonderland it usually is this time of year. There was lots of snow on the ground, but none on the trees.  One of the delights of this ride in the 70s was it goes through places people couldn't go, and the only tracks in the snow were animal tracks. Now there are people tracks and snowmobile tracks all over the place . :-(

In fact, at one point in Umpquah National Forest, there was a snowmobile trail with a fancy milepost/map marker.

Not many pictures, it was very overcast, and then there was extreme fog.  

Breakfast was interesting. They impose 4-to-a-table seating in the dining car, and my table mates were a mother (60s) and her daughter (40s) and a skinny 30-ish man with many cheap tattoos, including bands across his knuckles. The man hardly said anything, and when he did it was too soft for me to hear. The daughter, however, had quite the tale to tell.

She had taken a cruise to Haiti to go zip-lining. It was for charity, she said. Everything was fine until she got on the plane in Miami to go home to Oregon, but suddenly she couldn't breathe. They took her off the plane, called an ambulance. She had a collapsed lung. Elven days in the hospital, somewhere in there her mom flew out to be with her. Bottom line is she can no longer take a plane. So she & mom got on the train. what caused the collapsed lung? 30 years of smoking. They said it was the pot more than the tobacco. So from no on it's nicotine patches and brownies.

Lunch the forgot to call the 1:30 reservations, I was late so  I was seated by myself. Yay! Obnoxious waitress, tried to tell me what to order.

Dinner was in the parlor car, I expected to be by myself, but they paired me with a librarian from Phoenix on her way to a big librarian convention in Seattle. Congenial but boring.

When I got out of the Kind Street Station I turned toward susandennis's condo and waved, but I'm not sure she still has a view of where I was standing, thanks to a huge building going up in between.

walked through the cold and dripping atmosphere up and around to the Link light rail, tapped my Orca card and went down the stairs just in time to see the train pull away. Good thing I had my Seahawks stadium jacket and gloves.

Arrived at the hotel at about 10, walked halfway around th building before discovering it was the service entrance, then hunted for the reception desk which was well hidden. The signs point in its general direction, but stopped pointing 20 feet too soon.

Fining my room was also a crock. The directions from the desk were to go past the bar and turn right. She forgot to say to then turn left, and look for the elevator. And that my room was on th 2nd floor. The signage did not help either.

Got to the room finally, it is lovely and large, but no fridge. There's a cabinet for one but nothing is inside it.

Unpacked, changed shirts, went back to the lobby to use the free wi-fi (it costs $$ in the room) but ran into many of the usual suspects, some of them locals, and chatted first.

And no to bed, before I fall out of the chair.

Plans for tomorrow:

Sleep in
Lobby, see who is around. Consume mass quantities.
Con officially starts at 6 or thereabouts

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