Posted August 7th, 2018, 10:43 AM
Day Amtrak1, Monday, August 6, 2018, Vancouver to Portland
Continuing with photos from the Westerdam I liked the one from Haines as there was some of the dock in the photo as well.
Despite not sleeping terribly well I was ready to get up at 4AM. I did a bit of reshuffling of my bags, adding about 3 pounds to the big backpack and lightening the little one by about 4 pounds. The small bag should have pretty much exactly the essentials I need before arrival in San Francisco. I was in the lobby at 4:45 and the pre-ordered taxi pulled up right at 5AM.
I was probably earlier at the station than I should have been, but better to be a little early than too late. At 5:15 there were about 20 people queued up in the general line but. There was nobody in the priority line but security confirmed it was a valid line (for Business, GE, and NEXUS). By the time US Immigration came on duty at 5:30 there were probably 60 people in the general line and about 10 in mine.
Pulling my one wheel bag from the taxi to the counter with customs forms wasn’t bad. From there it was mostly standing, which doesn’t work well with 55 pounds on my back. I ended up pulling one bag and carrying the heavy one with just the lightest one on my back. It was tough going but only for a little under 100 feet. The baggage cart was waiting just past the immigration counter.
While I was on board almost an hour before the train left, The Bistro opened pretty quickly and I had my first cup of decent coffee before 6. Business Class is assigned seating with 2 on one side and one on the other. I had a single seat on the oceanview side.
For about the first 45 minutes we exactly retraced the route I took in on the Canadian, turning South after we crossed the Fraser River.
We had a second customs stop at the border, my first time in the lower 48 since July 11.
Our first passenger stop was Bellingham, an intermodal terminal where I boarded the MV Kennicott on the way to Alaska and the Northwest Passage cruise.
We were early in Seattle and I had time for a walk around the block as well as a look at the train itself.
After Seattle we continued to follow Puget sound past Tacoma, then went overland to Kelso on the Columbia, following it until Vancouver (Washington).
From Vancouver we crossed the Columbia and Willamette Rivers and were soon at Portland’s Union Station, about a half hour late.
In Vancouver they would only check my bags to Portland. When we arrived I checked the baggage room about storage options and they said “we’ll check it to California. I carried it from the baggage claim to the baggage check desk, a whole 20 feet, and don’t need to think about it again until Wednesday. I also discovered that Portland has a “Metropolitan Lounge”, a place for sleeping car passengers where I can relax from my hotel checkout until the Coast Starlight arrives.
With only 15 pounds to carry the half mile walk to the Hampton Inn was a breeze, I’m glad the big bags are checked because it’s a long walk over heavy carpets from the Hampton elevator to my room.
Portland’s Pearl District is a bit of an Eclectic space, former warehouses now heavily gentrified. There were a few familiar businesses; I took a little walk to Safeway (apples and milk) and Wells Fargo (ATM). Dinner was a little place called “Little Big Burger”. The burger was a thick quarter pound pattie on a small bun. I didn’t do a lot more at night, getting pretty drowsy after my 4AM start.
My parting shot is coming from the evening and now morning news. While I can hope it holds off for a couple more days, the west coast needs some rain to help control wildfires. 2PM Tuesday to 8AM Wednesday (while I’m on the train) would be a great start.
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