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Coast Starlight - Seattle _Birthday

Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle, WA and back.

A long distance overnight train trip staying several nights in a nice hotel in a leading city's downtown.

Happy Birthday

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Birthday lunch with ferries and trains

Text and Photos by Author, Robin Bowers

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent

Comments are appreciated


    We both spent a restful night, our first in a not moving bed or seat since Tuesday night, waking wide eyed and bushy tailed. The morning was spent easy and slow, getting ready for our lunch with my good friends and National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) fellow members, Elizabeth and Bob A. who reside just north of Seattle. In early May 2019, Chris G. and I spent a week in Utah and the Salt Lake City area for the NRHS 2019 convention and the Golden Spike 150th celebration with Elizabeth and Bob. On May 10th we were at Promontory, UT for the celebration with the NRHS conventioneers and thirty thousand of our closest friends. Elizabeth and I met in Alaska at the NRHS 2013 convention held in Anchorage. We both agreed that going to the convention was about the only way we would ever visit the 49th state. When I told them I was going to Seattle on the Starlight with my friend Russell, they suggested we go to lunch on my birthday. Earlier in the morning Elizabeth texted that they would pick us up at the hotel at noon.


View from room looking toward Elliot Bay.


Space Needle taken with telephoto lens.


    A few minutes before noon, Russell and I headed for the elevators and while waiting, struck up a conversation with a waiting lady visiting from Australia. While staying at the Warwick we heard a plethora of accents from down under. Don't know if it was the hotel or the city that was the drawing card. As we stepped off the elevator, into the lobby walked Elizabeth. She said Bob had a parking spot in front of the hotel. Very convenient for we walked outside and jumped in to the car.

    Leaving the hotel Bob drove through the city center to the I-5 and went northbound on freeway. It is good to have a local guide when visiting new or unaccustomed locales. Bob pointed out a freeway in the center of I-5 that he said it is a special express route that in the morning is one way into the Seattle center and reversed in the afternoon. We also passed several Boeing plants which is the biggest employer in the Pacific Northwest. After a pleasant chat and drive catching up on each other's news we arrived in Mukilteo, WA. Soon we were seated at a window table in the nice dining room of Arnies Pacific Northwest Favorites restaurant over looking Puget Sound at 714 2nd Street.

    Mukilteo, named for the Suquamish word meaning "good camping ground," was the site of the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855. The document, signed by the leaders of 22 local tribes, relinquished land claims of white settlers. A lighthouse built in 1905 is open to visitors on weekends and holidays from April through September. Washington State Ferries connects the mainland with Clinton on Whidbey Island.


View from our table in the dining room.


At top left car ferry loading dock to cross Possession Sound to Clinton on Whidbey Island via WA route 525 with #7564 on BNSF main.

    The largest island in Puget Sound, Whidbey Island has extensive tracks of farmland and forest, scenic shoreline vistas and abundant parkland. Numerous bays and coves are popular with boaters and fishermen. Captain George Vancouver discovered the island in 1792, naming it after Joseph Whidbey, his sailing master. Whidbey proved the island not a peninsula by navigating Deception Pass. Deception Pass Bridge and ferries from Mukilteo and Port Townsend provide access to the island.

    Our birthday lunch was excellent with all of us enjoying our orders of various fish dishes. For my birthday dessert the restaurant hosted me with a dish of Creme Brulee which just happens to be one of my favorites. What a wonderful birthday celebration was had by me and all. Elizabeth likes this restaurant due to its location next to the BNSF main line for train watching but was disappointed we only saw two today. Train watching is like fishing. Sometimes the fish bite and other times zero. But I certainly appreciated their thoughtfulness in selecting this venue for my enjoyment and celebration. This birthday will have long lasting memories. Many thanks Bob and Elizabeth.

      It began to sprinkle as we left the restaurant and returned to the car. Bob drove to their house about 15 minutes away through a nice shower. Their home was a ranch style that looked like it was on the edge of trees and forest. Russell and I were given a tour of the house. We observe that Bob and Elizabeth each had their own room for an office, workshop and storage area for their collections and memorabilia.  Bob likes his Chicago sports teams for his collection. He went crazy when the Cubs won the World Series. Elizabeth has a collection of city lapel pins which started from her time working with municipalities in Canada. In her travels she will stop at city halls to see if they have a lapel pin. More often than not they are only too happy to oblige. We sat in the living room and Elizabeth presented me a special gift of my own personal dossier. Included was a listing of what happened on November 16 through the centuries with births, deaths, notable events plus world leaders in my birth year and entertainment and topped it off with a short history of my birth city. So much information to seek and gather and then publish in a great presentation. This was a work of love and most deeply appreciated and will be kept forever. Her moniker "The British Spy," due to her penchant for research and ability to find things on the Internet, is pretty close to realty. Then it was time to head back to our hotel. So Bob was the designated driver then Russell and I said goodbye to Elizabeth with thanks for everything and for the great hospitality.

    Driving back through rain Bob shouldered on, but if this rain was in Southern California, we would be off the roads and staying put. The traffic on I-5 was heavy but moving in the rain. As we approached the city, Russell and I saw a view that was truly amazing. Through the car windows and the rain was the city starting to get into holiday lights. On the right of the view was the splendid Space Needle lit in all its glory, to the middle was the downtown with all the tall buildings, and to the left were the building cranes with lights on the arms. While stunned looking at the night time view neither one of us had the mind to grab a camera and take some pictures. Then it was off the freeway and on city streets to the hotel. Bob dropped us off in front of the hotel and we thank him for picking us up and returning and wish him a safe return home.

     Later in our room, Russell felt his mobility was getting better so we decided to take a stroll in the neighborhood. We decided to walk away from the water on Lenora toward Fifth avenue and Sixth avenue. Overhead at Fifth avenue are the tracks of the Monorail traveling between Westlake Station and the Space Needle. The tracks follow Fifth Avenue almost all the way for their route. We saw more than a few eating establishments along our walk, all with a worldwide selection for your nutrition and refreshment needs. We saw a building made of glass spheres with trees and plants inside. Walking in this neighborhood is pleasant with lots to see and the foggy and misty night was a nice touch.

Taken on Lenora in front of the Cinerama theater with our room on the far left side with the light on.


View of Forth Avenue at Lenora Street.

After our night stroll we returned to the hotel and room and were ready to turn in for the night and rest for our last day in Seattle.


These are photos I took on my visit in November around Veterans Day in 2012.

Queen Anne Suite


My room number- Nineteenth floor, room 07 - 09 - 11.



Inside the Queen Anne Suite.



Great view from the bedroom.



  Proof I was here.




Under construction with clear view of Space Needle.




Neighbor building next door under construction.








Looks much safer with the walls in place.

Cinerama Theatre


I had just finished watching "Skyfall."





Thanks for reading.

Next: Our last day to tour Seattle Nov 17 >>

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Text and Photos by Author, Robin Bowers

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent

Comments are appreciated