Oops!!! I completely forgot that I hadn't finished this report!
Thanks,Dogbert, for jarring my memory!! I booked my Mt. Rainier tour through Seattletours.us. There are many tour companies that do Mt. Rainier tours and this was the one I chose. And for the rest of the story.....
Saturday June 24
As the EB for Spokane and points east doesn't depart Seattle until 4:45 I still had plenty of time to kill. After checking out and leaving my bags in the storage room of the hotel, I first went to Westlake to catch the Link light rail to the stop nearest the new 1st Street trolley stop. I wanted to ride the trolley for the first time just for the heck of it. I did so, and as the last stop on the trolley is near the International District/Chinatown Link light rail stop, I was going to ride the light rail back to Westlake then walk down to the waterfront from there. But the tracks between the two were temporarily out of order. So I hoofed it to the waterfront instead. I spent the next hour or so wandering around the waterfront, then went to Ivar's where I was going to meet my sister and niece for lunch. My sister's birthday had been two days prior so I treated them to lunch. After lunch and after we went our separate ways, I went back for one last look-see through Pike Place Market, then went back to the hotel to gather my belongings and head to the station. As I didn't know if the light rail tracks would be operational, and was too cheap to pay a cabbie
I decided to walk to the station. It's just over a mile from the Moore, and downhill besides, so for me it is an easy walk. I did spend about as much time crossing the street back and forth as I did going to the station as there is a lot of construction going on in downtown Seattle at the present time and many of the sidewalks were closed. I eventually got there, and began the waiting game. I was impressed with the newly installed reader boards at King Street Station
especially in contrast to the one in Spokane
Now if there was only some way to improve the acoustics in King Street Station!!!!
It seems as though the boarding procedure at King Street Station for coach passengers has been different every time I've been there and this was no different. The pre-recorded, garbled, almost unintelligible voice over the PA advised coach passenders to line up at the podium for the conductor to check and scan our tickets and to issue our boarding slips. However, one of the baggage handlers told us that we could stand in line if we wanted to, but they almost never check tickets until after boarding the train on Saturdays, so we could disregard the announcement. Good!! The PA voice was that of a female and so I got permission not to have to listen to a woman!!!
With that attitude no wonder I'm 57 years old and haven't so much as been on one date since my wife passed away 14 years ago!! J/K!!! At any rate, what the handler said was true. After the train had arrived, the conductor told us that since the train would be completely full by the time we left Everett, the coaches would be divided into sections with half reserved for groups of two or more and half for single travelers. And after sleeping car passengers would be boarded, those coach passengers traveling in groups would board first, and us single passengers would go pound sand--er, I mean board last.
But the young man standing next to me and I decided right on the spot that we were traveling together
Never mind that he was going to West Glacier and I to Spokane. The conductor who obviously had been around the block or two knew what we were up to, but didn't bat an eye. He just said, hey, as long as you get on the train together you're traveling in a group. And that was that. The young man, whose name was Max, was traveling to West Glacier to start his job, which I never found out what exactly was, and had just arrived in Seattle a few hours prior, having had a 16 hour flight from Taiwan. That made me tired just to think of it. After some small talk, Max (understandably) drifted off to sleep. Just before dinner, which for me was the 8:00 PM seating, the folks in our car were treated to a bizarre discussion. A young lady was freaking out because she couldn't remember where her seat was. She kept insisting to Steve, our coach attendant,that she was traveling in a coach car, but on the other side of the diner. And Steve kept insisting she was wrong. What made it funny was the more agitated the gal became, the more cutesy terms of endearment she would throw Steve's way, and he would throw them right back. I heard so many "sweethearts" and "sugars" and "honeybears" that I thought I was going to have to take a double dose of my diabetes medicines.
Finally, Steve, who must have been a direct descendant of Job, took her to the sleeper section to show her there were no coaches on the opposite side of the diner. Max and I concluded that if she was in a car on the other side of the diner and not in a sleeper she must have been in the baggage car.
I never saw her again so I didn't know whatever happened to her.
At dinner, I was seated with three friends from the Midwest, two from Milwaukee and one from Chicago, who were returning to their homes after a golfing get-together with another buddy from Seattle. One guy was a complete jerk. He sat across from me and never uttered a word in my direction or even looked at me. The guy next to him was actually pretty nice, and the one next to me could be nice one minute and a jerk the next. When he found out I'd been to Seattle and had traveled by train, he asked me why in the world I'd ever take the train when I could have driven. I wanted to respond by saying why in the world would you take the train to Seattle when you could have flown, but I just replied I wanted no part of driving in Seattle which is true. That seemed to mollify him for the time being. It wasn't so much the question as the way he asked it, like I was some sort of moron. After that, Complete Jerk and Semi-Jerk amused themselves by making disparaging remarks about the houses in the area--around Leavenworth--and the people who lived in them, calling them hicks and hillbillies, and wondering how in they made a living. It was apparent they were impressed by Money. Pretty Nice Guy remained silent and seemed a bit embarrassed by his buddies. Dinner itself was a bit hectic. The staff, friendly enough, seemed frazzled and the service was glacially slow. And they had no baked potatoes!!! Fortunately I don't mind mashed. Semi-Jerk and Complete Jerk made more nasty comments about the Leavenworth stop, calling it a worthless stop in the middle of nowhere. It was evident by their reaction that they were convinced the train stopped for no reason just to piss them off. And it worked.
I could have explained that the stop is actually a mile from the town itself and that Leavenworth,after the timber industry went caputsy in the 1960's, rebranded itself as a tourist attraction with a charming, picturesque Bavarian theme, but I chose to let them be miserable rather than do my thing for the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce.
. I had shrimp for dinner and it was good. At Wenatchee, Pretty Nice Guy was sufficiently impressed with the town to ask what the residents did to support themselves. I'd have thought the miles and miles and acres and acres of fruit trees might have given him a clue, but I simply said the fruit industry was very lucrative and that's how the townspeople supported themselves. It was here that dinner was over and we went our separate ways...thankfully. And soon after I returned to my seat, parted ways with Max, too, as the car emptied out at Wenatchee and he found an open seat. I spent the rest of the trip looking out the window, dozing, or, once darkness set in, monitoring my GPS to see our progress. We were half an hour late at Ephrata but 20 minutes early into Spokane. I rushed out to the parking lot to see if my car was in one piece and had no tickets on the windshield. Fortunately the answers were yes and no. And thus endeth another trip.
Great trip with no major problems. Now for the grand finale in September: several trains in the east topped off by a LSL-Empire Builder trip from Boston to Spokane. Can't wait!
Edited by JayPea, 22 July 2017 - 05:51 PM.