Is the idea of train travel not the most glamorous thing? I’ve had my fair share of time on the tracks and come from a family of train lovers and still in my head train travel is all about retro glam. Several weeks back I booked my ticket to take me from LA to Seattle and instantly began the daydreams of sitting in the dining car in the most fabulous clothes, eating off of the finest china, and falling in love with a Cary Grant-esque fellow (I’m holding out hope that they still exist).
Ready to make my dreams come true I hopped on board at Union Station and said goodbye to sunny LA and my travel companions as we all went our separate ways. The Coast Starlight rode up the coast taking in the most beautiful landscapes from Santa Barbara to San Francisco.
A few hours in we said goodbye to the beaches and made our way into the heart of Wine Country just in time for the evening haze to roll in across the vineyards.
Every hour or so I meandered to a new location; from my seat, to the lounge car, to the cafe, to the dining car, and back again. I couldn’t stay in one place for long, but that’s the perk of train travel!
It didn’t take long for me to realize that 36 hours is a really long train ride – especially once it got dark and I no longer had the scenery to distract me. I curled up in my rather roomy seat and zonked out, hoping to sleep as long as possible and wake up in the Pacific Northwest.
I woke up from a shockingly deep slumber many hours later to find a couple of things. First, the sun was rising and we were preparing to cross into Oregon! Second, I had somehow in my deep, deep sleep completely lost any concept of where my seat ended and the one next to me began. Needless to say, my seat mate and I were much closer by morning.
Thirty-six hours later we pulled into Seattle and I was more than happy to go running off the train. Not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable experience, just different than I’d imagined. Of course, my standards may have been a smidge high; the fancy china was plastic and instead of getting chummy with Cary Grant I woke to find myself cozied up to a 16 year old stranger. Not quite the glam experience I anticipated, but nonetheless, you can’t beat the great American scenery you find on a ride up the west coast – next time I’ll just make sure to get a sleeper car and travel companion and it will be perfect.