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The trip home from the Rocky Mountaineer

by Chris Guenzler

Mt. Baker International 763 4/20/2001

Precustoms inspection took longer as the agents where late but did a very quick job to get all the passengers on the train. I visited the Bistro Car of the Talgo for dinner and listened to tunes until departure time. We left on time but took a double stabbing at the Fraser River Drawbridge. First a sightseers paddle boat pased by followed fifteen minutes later by a barge with tug boats working hard on both ends. At Blaine, Customs boarded and I got asked just one question and that was that. The movie was one that I always wanted to see but never got around to watching it until now was 102 Dalmatians. We arrived in Seattle a mere three minutes late.

Seattle 4/20/2001

We arrived in Seattle to a nightmare traffic problem. The Angel-Marineer Game had just let out and all the streets around the depot were bumper to bumper. I got a cab and with a lot of swearing by both of us we finally made it to the King's Inn which cost me three times the normal cab fare. I checked in and by showing my Amtrak tickets, I received the Amtrak rate that all but made up for the cab fare. I slept soundly for a good eight hours before I woke up and went to Ralphs for more over the counter cold remedies. I taxied back to near the station where I was dropped off by some of the earthquake damage. I walked the last two blocks to the King Street Station to wait for my next train

Coast Starlight 11 4/21/2001

I boarded the Coast Starlight and had Room 3 which again was on the east side of the train. It would be nice if Amtrak could turn all the sleeping cars so that room three is always on the east side going north and the west side going south. I was not feeling all that well so I made up my bed and slept all the way down past Kelso. I went to the Parlour Car and asked the Attendant if he would play my new Queen Greatest Flix III for me and I enjoyed a private showing to Portland where I detrained for some interior shots of the station.

South of Salem a hot box detector goes off so one of our cars had to be inspected which took twenty minutes to do so we will see how that affects us down the line. We met the northbound Starlight before the next detector gave us an all clear. I had the Seared Steak for dinner and Turtle for dessert before I enjoyed the climb over Cascade Summit prior to watching Space Cowboys in the Parlour Car Theater. The movie ended just as the Starlight arrived in Klamath Falls which allowed for a walk in the fresh cold air which I needed. I made the bed and crawled into it as the Starlight left Klamath Falls on time.

4/22/2001 During the night the Starlight became the Starlate. I awoke in Roseville which was not on our route anymore. It turned out that CTC failure and congestion led to us being routed the old way. I had a breakfast of French Toast between Roseville and Sacramento which allowed for a good brisk walk at Sac. We were delayed both here and at Martinez by baggage transfer to the San Joaquin train. Further delays occurred in the West Oakland Coach Yards taking off three road railers and adding the Northern View private car and an express car to our rear end. I watched my ELP Welcome Back video at another private showing before I napping all the way from Fremont to half way up the Salinas Valley. All this sleep that I got was really helping me to fight this flu bug.

With us well over three hours late the expected bad news arrived over the PA system. I would be bused to Santa Ana and passengers for the Sunset Limited would be bused from San Luis Obispo to Ontario in order to make their train. I would take my short hour bus ride over one of five hours any day of my life. Another passenger told me that he had been bused from San Antonio to El Paso due to a flash flood and I shared that I had been bused from Tucson to Los Angeles due to a freight train derailment. We both agreed that we do not like the bus.

I enjoyed the first dinner seating with a Seared Steak and Turtle again. I feel like I am on the Sunset Limited again as I left the Parlour Car. I am in the Florida Sleeper, the gap is no Alabama Sleeper, the next car is the Mississippi, the gap is no Louisiana Sleeper and into my car of the Texas with room three deep in its heart. I enjoyed the bright sunlight as the Coast Starlight descended Cuesta Grade. With all the Sunset Limited passengers leaving our train we had an extended stop in San Luis Obispo for a quick call home to my mother saying on the answering machines, "We are three hours late. I will taxi home, see you tomorrow, love you. Chris!" After leaving SLO I watched Finding Forestter to Santa Barbara where we took another delay by a northbound freight train. I napped the rest of the way to Los Angeles arriving there at 12:03 A.M.

4/23/2001 I headed to the bus for the ride to Santa Ana and a taxi home to my own bed ending this Rocky Mountaineer Adventure.