Category: 2011 – Seattle & Portland

Day 9 – The End of This Adventure

We woke up on the train early and went to breakfast in the dining car while the train was somewhere in Arizona. We had French Toast all around and tried to savor our last breakfast on the train.

After breakfast, we just all sat around trying to soak in the train ride. Stephen and I played some checkers.

Soon enough, it was time for an early 11:30 lunch. We all had a hamburger except Michael who went for a hot dog. While we were eating we arrived into Albuquerque. That is a longer service stop and the last stop before ours. We got off the train and hung out a little on the platform. It was hot!

We reboarded and the end was now too close. We packed everything up and waited for our stop. We got the announcement of 10 minutes until Lamy and we headed downstairs to be ready and get off.


Hey! Everyone needs to look appropriately sad…


We pulled in and got off. Soon enough, we found out about our checked bags. They made it! Amtrak really came through with our complicated routing.

Then, as suddenly as it started, our train adventure ended. We loaded in the truck and drove the four hours back to Amarillo.

Thank you for joining us on this adventure. God willing, we will do another next year.

Until then…





Day 8 – A Complicated And Long Day

The day started at around 5:00am when we found out we would be arriving in Sacramento about 45 minutes early. The train arrived around 5:30, but since it was not leaving until 6:30 and our bus was not leaving until 7:50, we took our time getting off. We finally got off around 6:00 and went into the station to wait for our bus. Sacramento’s Amtrak station seems to be an old Southern Pacific station.



Our bus arrived on time and we had a short 50 minute ride to Stockton, CA.

In Stockton, we had to wait about 30 minutes for our San Joaquin train to arrive. When it did, fortunately, it was not very crowded and we got to all sit together at a table. We ended up teaching the boys to play Rummy and we all played that to pass the time. We also took a break to eat lunch. That train trip was about four hours.

Our train arrived into  Bakersfield, Ca where we got on another bus. This trip was a little over two hours. We all slept some. We arrived into Los Angles Union Station about two hours before our last train, the Southwest Chief, was to board. So we sat and waited some more. Michael and I walked around the station some…




Finally, our train came backing into the station…


We settled into our rooms. Stephen and I played checkers with an app for my phone. We also saw the place where they filmed some of the Transformers movie and Stephen was all excited…


Then we went to the dining car for a late dinner at 8:15.


Vicky and Stephen both joined me in getting the steak. It was their first time and I think they liked it. Michael had the big hot dog. This was our last dinner on the train for this year.

After dinner, we all pretty much went right to bed. It was dark out already so might as well go to sleep and then get up early when it is light out.

It was a LONG day.

Our last night on the train this year.

Day 7 – Last Day In Seattle

Not only did we have some down time last night, we started later this morning. We left the hotel at 9:00 and went straight to the Woodland Park Zoo where we spent a few hours…






After a quick lunch, we headed over to the Museum of Flight…

A Presidential plane (former Air Force One)…



The very first 747 ever built…




Oh, and I finally got a decent shot of the mountain we have been seeing since arriving, Mount Rainer…


We then headed back to the hotel for a bit before heading to our favorite fast food place, Panda Express!

After dinner, back to the hotel to rest and get packed up for the journey home. I found out there was to be a fireworks display across the street from our hotel so we went outside to watch. We could not see too much because of the tall trees, but we saw a little before turning in.

Tomorrow, we start home.

Day 6 – A Little Slower Day

Today was no packed with stuff to do. We started early, but finished early and had some time to relax.

We got up and went to Everett, WA to visit Boeing. We started doing the factory tour. For some reason they do not allow cameras or cell phones so no pictures of that part, but it was really impressive. The assembly building is HUGE. There is one spot we saw where it is the only place you can see a kilometer INSIDE.

They also have a small museum that we checked out.



While in Everett, we stopped at another small museum called the Flying Heritage Museum. It had some old, mostly WWII planes.


We then hit a Panda Express for lunch and headed back to Seattle. We went to the Space Needle next.


P1020842 And then the Monorail…

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After the Monorail, we headed back to our hotel for some down time. It was nice to get some relaxing time in. We left again for a quick dinner and then drove over to a nearby park near Puget Sound…





Then back to the hotel to get to bed early.

One more day in Seattle before we start the journey home. It should be a good one.

Day 5 – First Day of Seattle

We started early this morning. We hopped on the LINK light rail to downtown and walked a couple of blocks to the ferry terminal. We got on a ferry to Bremerton.


When we got off, we walked down the boardwalk and visited the USS Turner Joy. A destroyer.




Then a quick stop at the Naval Station Museum…



After a quick lunch at Subway, we were back on the ferry to Seattle. Michael grabbed a quick nap…


We then went down to Pike’s Market and saw the famous fish market…



After exploring the market, we headed down the street to do the Underground Tour…


Above and below views…

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After the tour, we got dinner and a local Mexican place. Then boarded the LINK to Safeco Field for the Mariners game. It was an interleague game with the Padres.

Joe Montana threw out the first pitch…



The Mariners lost 1-0.

We got back on the LINK and headed back to the car and finally back to the hotel. It is late so I am going to sleep. Another early morning tomorrow.

Day 4 – Getting To Seattle

We started the day by eating a quick breakfast at out hotel and checking out. We then headed out to Oregon’s Museum of Science & Industry where we spent a couple of hours.

They had a submarine on display…






Holding some big freaky bubble…


After a quick lunch at a local Burger King, I dropped the family of at Portland’s Union Station and went and returned the rental car. We checked in and had about an hour to wait for out train.


Our train…


We departed and it took about 3.5 hours to get to Seattle. It was a nice train. Very comfortable.

After detraining, we got our checked bags and walked to the light rail station. We rode the LINK light rail train out to the airport where we got a rental car and checked into our hotel.

We have an early start tomorrow and a long day so my post will probably be really late.

Day 1, 2 & 3 Wrap-Up

Well, day one and two have been a mix of emotions. It is great, we are on vacation together and having fun. It stinks that our well made plans for the outbound train trip got flushed down the toilet.

In summary, our train from Lamy to Los Angeles was six hours late which made it 3 hours too late for our connecting train in LA. They took us off our train in San Bernardino and out us on a three hour bus to Bakersfield, CA. We then got on an Amtrak California San Joaquin train for about six hours (coach only) to Martinez, CA. Then we waited two hours for our original connecting train to arrive, the Coast Starlight. We boarded it at 11:00.

Some pics from the train trip…

In the dining car…

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In our sleeper rooms…

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Outside the parlour car…


Klamath Falls, OR stop…


We went straight to bed, but got up early and enjoyed the time we did have on that train.

We arrived in Portland, OR around 4:00. We got a rental car and headed straight to the Zoo where we spent a couple of hours.


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Black bear up a tree!P1020752 P1020754 P1020755

We then went and checked into our hotel (free nights stay thanks to rewards points!) and then ran and ate some dinner. Decided to go ahead and top off the rental car. Interesting factoid, it is illegal for you to put gas in your own car in the state of Oregon. Guy at the station stopped me right before I was about to to do it. I guess I could have been hauled off by the cops for it.

Tomorrow, a little more time in Portland then off to Seattle.