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.
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Birthday lunch with ferries and trains
Text and Photos by Author, Robin Bowers
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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
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
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