Two Coasts. 7,300+ Miles. 9 Days.
1/19-20 LA --> Portland 1057mi
Bus (arr. 24 min early), train (arr. 13 min late), Bus (arr. 35 min late), Train (dep. 27 min late; arr. 35 min late)
The bus to Bakersfield, scheduled to leave at 1:15pm, left about 10 minutes early. Not much to say about it. It was a bus and had all the problems and discomforts that buses have. It was nice to see some of the neighborhoods that the trains don't normally pass through. Thankfully we avoided much of the famous LA traffic (the next scheduled bus was very late because of traffic). After about 90 min or so we arrived in Bakersfield and I boarded the San Jauquin. It was a nice train. Interesting people. The gentleman sitting across from me had just got out of jail that morning. Another person must have thrown down at least 30 dollars of beer along the way. Good times. The train arrived late but since I was catching a bus, it didn't make a difference. I don't remember much of the bus ride from Stockton to Sacramento as I was drifting in and out of sleep.
Upon arrival in Sacramento, I dumped my bags and dined at the local Dennys. I wrote out some postcards. Read a paper. Paced the empty station. Finally I was able to board the NB Coast Starlight. I did find it odd that the conductor checked my ticket in the station and NOT on the train. This train was packed, and I was traveling coach. I quickly found myself living the nightmare of a coach passenger: my assigned seat mate was a large expansive man who quickly went to sleep and quickly began to encroach on to my seat. Plus he began to snore. Loudly. It was around this time that the woman behind me began to cough up a lung, and I had had it. I longed for the amenities and the safety of the sleeper car. Not being able to sleep I grabbed my book and made my way to the lounge car. I selected 3 seats in a row and retired for the night. I spent the night in the lounge car, catching sporadic fits of sleep. It was actually pretty comfortable as I got to lay out flat. However it was very cold and there were some drunk folks downstairs. The dining car attendant woke me up at around 630am.
The Sacramento train station was pretty forgettable, though the mural on the wall was nice. The benches cover up the heating units so they were too hot to sit on. The 2nd photo is from my rarely used seat in coach. The last one is my bed for the night. If you slept on your side it wasn't too uncomfortable -- next time I will bring a blanket
I soon began my day which was spent in the lounge car, for 95% of the day. I read and watched the scenery. The trip through the Cascade mountains was beautiful. The trip through the various poverty level areas of Oregon wasn't. I was amazed, though not surprised, at some of the low standards of living that the train passed through. This was a complete culture shock for me. I spent many hours pondering this. I was happy to arrive in Portland, happy to be spending the night in a city, happy to be sleeping in a large bed and happy to have access to a metro lounge, which I sought out as soon as I arrived into Portland.
These folks spent a few hours playing Cribbage -- my first time ever seeing it played.
This is a giant waterfall, about an hour outside of Portland.
Wandering around Portland before heading east...