Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

I will tell you up front: I am loving public transportation these days.

I won't ever give up my car, at least not anytime ever in the forseeable future, but I loves me some train traveling.

The original plan was for me, Cookie, and Jeremy (the Portland contingent--the PC) to meet up with Joelf and the Montana/California contingent (the MCC) at our hotel in the Vancouver burbs on Sunday morning/early afternoon.  When I started thinking about how long it could take to get to our hotel, I realised the PC would have to get up butt early to have any chance of making it to Vancouver before Sunday evening.  Cookie and I talked about staying in Seattle Saturday night, which I thought was a great idea!  I talked with Joelf, who told me the MCC would be in Bellingham Saturday night.

Cookie then found out her mother was having a birthday party Saturday night so she and Jerm couldn't leave until after the party (10 the earliest).  I wasn't much interested in riding in a car all night so I decided to take the Amtrak up to Bellingham, and Joelf could pick me up.  Cookie and Jerm would meet us at the hotel Sunday morning and we could all party train up to the Upper Couv...and when I say party train I mean PAR-TAY train.

Then I got in contact with my friend Raiuchka, who usually lives in Seattle but was going to be at her parent's house outside of Bellingham on Saturday, so she decided to pick me up.  Awesome!  Taking the train, seeing an old friend, and starting the Olympic celebration one day early!  I was excited.

Saturday morning finally arrived.  Cookie took me to the train station and off I went.  This was only my second Amtrak trip; the first one was in 1998 when I took the train from Salem to San Jose.  This trip was much better.

Traveling by train is awesome because:
1. You can get up and go to the bathroom any time you want.
2. You don't have to worry about falling out of the sky.
3. You can bring on your own food and drink, or get up out of your seat and go to the dining car.
4. You can just plain get up and walk when your butt gets sore.
5. You can sleep; you're not in charge of directions or driving or keeping the driver awake.
6. You can furiously knit a mitten from start to finish while traveling.
7. You don't have to turn your phone off so you can continue to send and receive text messages from your sister, Joelf, and keep up with the latest olympic news via  Hooray for technology!
8. Oftentimes the scenery passing by outside your window is really lovely.

Once we got to Olympia, the train started traveling right at the edge of the Sound.  It was really pretty.  I was sad that soon after, the sun went down.  That last leg was really so nice.

Raiuchka picked me up as planned and it was so good to see her!!  She and I were Russian majors at Willamette together, and we hadn't seen each other since her wedding almost 10 years ago.  We had dinner at an Italian restaurant and I feel we could have talked all night long.

After dinner she drove me to the hotel where I was meeting up with the MCC.  Hooray!!! Seeing everybody just made our olympic dream reality.  Joelf showed me the official tickets (pretty!), the banners he had made the night before (awesome!), and all the other USA stuff he had brought.  Joelf and I played cards while I tried to weave in the ends of all the mittens I had knitted.  I didn't get very far, but I figured Cookie could help me do it in the car Sunday.  It was probably 3 am when Joelf and I finally went to bed.