Crossing the Line

Discussion in 'Travelogues / Trip Reports' started by Seaboard92, Oct 3, 2019.

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  1. Oct 3, 2019 #1

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

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    Planning
    For a work trip that involves familiarizing myself with multiple products you would think the plans would be pretty stable. But in all honesty they aren’t stable at all. The initial plan was for Malcolm and I to fly to Alaska ride the Alaska Railroad before taking VIA’s Skeena to Jasper. Then getting Rocky Mountaineer via BC Rail to the Canadian. But because of issues at my full time job as a vet tech. With us losing three of eight employees I was told I had to cut my trip short. Which basically left my trip as the Canadian.

    Things ended up getting better at work and I was able to take more time which was right about when a friend tipped me off about the Tehachapi Reroute of the Coast Starlight. And on the same day I was invited to ride the Royal Canadian Pacific. So my plans significantly changed to have me flying to LAX instead of Portland. And getting off the Canadian at Winnipeg instead of Toronto.

    The friend I was sharing my room with on the starlight backed out due to work so I had to find a backup and I found it in a different type of PV owner. So I made all sorts of new arrangements for the new trip.

    The reason I’m titling it Crossing the Line is because I crossed the line between Amtrak corridor trains, and a national network, cross the national border line with Canada, the line between VIA long distance, and the line into luxury with the Royal Canadian Pacific.

    Day 0: Packing at a sane hour

    I know something that most of you familiar with my trip reports will be surprised by this. But I had my suitcase packed by 12 PM the day before departure instead of at one AM day of departure. Partially this was because I was stage managing Hello Dolly for a local community theater. So I had to take care of that which meant I didn’t return home till midnight day of departure.

    Day 1: Knot’s Berry Farm and PTC issues.

    So my dad started driving me to the Charlotte airport at 3 AM for my early morning Frontier flight from Charlotte, NC to Denver, CO. Again the one thing him and I can talk about is war strategy. This time specifically talking about the protests between the proud boys and anti fascists in Portland. And how if that developed into a hot situation how the army or National Guard would handle a close quarters urban fight in our country. What can I say my dad and I have interesting conversations. But I do think I’m the better strategist.

    Once at the airport I checked my bag and went to security. Where the TSA managed to let someone’s cat go. Using someone’s belt from the luggage scanner I made a slip leash rapidly and caught the animal as it flew by. To a very relieved owner. Afterwards my flight to Denver on Scarlett the Tanger wasn’t bad. It might have been shorter than previous times I’ve flown the route. I had breakfast at McDonalds in DIA where they still have the Southern Style Chicken Biscuit which has disappeared from the south.

    After that connection I took Skye the Blue Jay into Los Angeles where we arrived significantly early. I caught the fly away bus to Union Station instead of an Uber to my hotel. Mostly because Uber wanted $100 for the ride. And between Amtrak, Uber, and the Fly Away Bus I could get there for $30 instead. So I took the bus on to the station. Where I bought a ticket for the next Pacific Surfliner to depart south for Fullerton. The train was scheduled to depart at 12:33 PM but it also wasn’t running its full route due to track work.

    On the same platform was another Surfliner set that sat there for the duration while a late running Southwest Chief idled two tracks over behind a BNSF GE. The train didn’t show up till 12:55 PM because they were using an equipment set that was late arriving from San Diego. Once that set arrived we were further delayed because of a locomotive issue. The train had a P42DC on one end and a Charger on the other end. By the time they fixed the engine issue and initialized PTC we left about an hour late.

    The ride itself was nice I was in one of the Superliner coaches painted for the Surfliner and south we went. I detrained at Fullerton and caught an Uber for my hotel next to the park. Checked in and dropped my items off for six hours of park time. I rode the Silver Bullet first with an overly enthusiastic father. Who’s daughter looked at him with the “Dad get real look” and discussed photography with him. The ride it self was really nice.

    The next ride I managed to ride was the river rapids with my phone and DSLR stowed in my camera bag with its rain shield partially deployed. Knot’s really has a fantastic river rapid attraction. I then texted the guy riding the Starlight with me to make sure he made his flight. As he often times misses flights and trains because it slips his mind. And with his convoluted routing of DTW-LAS on Spirit then Megabus.com to LAX overnight it behooved me to check.

    After that I rode Hang Time with its 95 degree drop being unique. However the vertical chain lift felt like a dentist office chair. Fantastic ride that was worth the hour wait. After that ride I rode the Log Flume for which Knot’s is known for. Also a very high quality ride. Then I settled into their narrow gauge Railway for a loop around the park.

    Afterwards I just rode random rides again. I did manage to hit my top two right before closing which were the water rides. After the park closed I walked Over to Mrs. Knots Chicken Dinner. For those who don’t know the story the amusement park was started to entertain people waiting for a table at this restaurant. So I felt I should see what all of the fuss was about. I’ve never spent that much for Fried Chicken before in my life. It was good and I had food for breakfast the other day between three breasts and twelve rolls.

    Would I eat there again probably not. But was it worth it for the first time yes. Then I walked back to the hotel. Determined the pool water was too cold and went to bed by ten.
     
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  2. Oct 3, 2019 #2

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

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    One of the Frontier jets at Denver International.

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    LAX airport’s Art Deco building.

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    Two different styles of cab cars.

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    The two newest passenger diesel types.

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    The Pacific Surfliner getting shoved by a P42DC at the place that made me a rail fan. Thanks to a trainweb webcam here most of my childhood.

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    Silver Bullet at Knot’s Berry Farm.

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    Hang Time nearing the bottom of its 95 degree drop.

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    Narrow gauge steam at Knot’s Berry Farm

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    More steam at Knot’s Berry Farm.

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    Mrs. Knot’s Chicken Dinner.
     
  3. Oct 3, 2019 #3

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

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    Day 2: The Tehachapi Starlight

    I woke up around six thirty AM which is great when coming from the east coast because you can be a morning person and still sleep in. I packed my bag and checked out of my hotel before taking an Uber to the Fullerton station. The driver was very much a proponent of the gig economy and he had some interesting thoughts. However I disagree with a lot of them.

    So I went to the station agent to buy my ticket and because she was able to modify my ticket to add the short segment on I didn’t end up paying any extra. After that I stood on the platform and watched a Metrolink, the Southwest Chief, and a freight train pass before my northbound Pacific Surfliner pulled in.

    It was a short uneventful ride on a very full train. However I did manage to see an unrepainted Santa Fe locomotive. And the private car that causes us to have a bad name the Patron Tequila Express. I detrained and walked outside the station at first to photograph the lovely Art Deco architecture in daylight for the first time. Then I checked into the Metropolitan Lounge where everyone’s favorite lounge diva was fussing at someone for not wearing shoes or Sox in the lounge. Which I agree with her that’s disgusting.

    After about thirty minutes they started kindergarten walking passengers five at a time over to the platform. So I just left the lounge and walked down the normal station concourse out to the platform. The consist then arrived shortly and I took my place in my lower level roomette. I then took a quick walk up to our power to photograph it before our departure.

    I snagged a lunch reservation and found myself a place in the Sightseer lounge. Where lo and behold the shoeless man was again. Standing on the seats bare feet trying to get a better photo. So I tried to find a spot in the corner hoping he wouldn’t notice me because I recognized him. Of course he recognized me so we talked for a bit. The strange looks he was getting as he walked around the car barefoot. And of course once he left I had to explain myself to the Hollywood type passengers who were also in the lounge.

    Which was fairly easy to do because when I open my mouth I sound reasonably educated (a feet from South Carolina), I’m well dressed, and I’m fairly calm. The line through the Antelope Valley is incredibly scenic. However that part isn’t rare milage and I would love to ride it some other time as well. We made good time on the Metrolink portion of the route. Then we entered the Mojave desert which was amazing in its own right. I also noticed the airplane bone yards from the train and could make out several familiar logos on 747 hulls from miles away.

    The expansiveness of the Mojave is mind blowing but we rapidly left the flat and aridness of it for the hills. About this time it was time for the lunch service in the dining car so I moved over there. Of course I was seated with the barefoot wonder, and an interesting couple from Asheville, NC a jazz musician. I sat my phone down in my lap with the map up so I would know when we would be approaching the loop. About a minute before the loop I got up and went to a window in business class to take photos as we went around the loop.

    Shoeless guy went to the Lounge car for that. And before he came back to the diner I explained myself to the musician that I know him but am nothing like him. And that most of the industry doesn’t really like him. So my standing with them greatly increased after that. The Hamburger and Chips was decent but it won’t hold up against other food I’ll have on this trip.

    I eventually went back to my spot in the sightseer and enjoyed several hours of peacefulness without the shoeless passenger talking to me. I called CHamilton around Bakersfield to discuss a business idea with him. And to tell him about our mutual person we knew. After a thirty minute crew change we started up the ex Southern Pacific San Joachim Valley Line.

    The line itself isn’t remarkable like the rare milage we did just a few hours before. But it is unique to see the downtown areas. And we passed the worlds largest Halo box. Right around sunset I went to the diner and guess who I was sat with again. Also right about that time we started the wye movements at Lathrop to join the ACE former Western Pacific across Altamont Pass. I had the steak and mashed potatoes of which while better than the burger won’t compare with later days.

    We lost an hour and a half waiting for two ACE trains but other than that it was a nonstop run to Oakland. I detrained their for a short moment to photograph the locomotives. And again I did that in Emeryville. I ended up talking to the captain of a sailing ship from Latin America till Sacramento in the Lounge car. And I learned so many fascinating tidbits.

    Trying to fall asleep in Sacramento Station was difficult however.
     
  4. Oct 3, 2019 #4

    Seaboard92

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    Metrolink at Fullerton. I love the palm trees.

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    The Southwest Chief arriving in Fullerton.

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    A locomotive still painted for the Santa Fe in local service.

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    National Forum Private railcar. It’s not owned by the rich and famous too.

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    Metrolink at Union Station.

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    An oasis of calm inside the city.

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    The Pacific Surfliner I took in from Fullerton.

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    The San Joachim Starlight at LA Union Station.

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    Scenery in the Antelope Valley

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    Metrolink Antelope Valley Line.
     
  5. Oct 3, 2019 #5

    Seaboard92

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    Crossing out of the LA basin.

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    Look at how expansive the Mojave Desert is.

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    The highlight of the loop. Tehachapi Loop.

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    Amtrak’s Angus Burger

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    Entering a tunnel on the way into the San Joachim valley.

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    The worlds largest Halo Box.

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    An industrial switcher.

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    Downtown I don’t know where California. This route hits all the downtowns.

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    The Modesto SP station.

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    The Amtrak signature steak.
     
  6. Oct 3, 2019 #6

    Seaboard92

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    Two trains from the San Joachim Valley. One rode the ATSF the other the SP.

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    The San Joachim Starlight at Emeryville.
     
  7. Oct 3, 2019 #7

    Seaboard92

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    Day 3: Shasta Daylight

    I awoke as we were crossing Lake Shasta as the mountains were still dark shadows. I couldn’t photograph it because it was too dark. But it’s something I will cherish for a long time. After I fully woke up and got dressed I took my usual seat in the Sightseer Lounge. I remained in the seat till the town of Mount Shasta before going to the dining car.

    I was sat with an Australian, a librarian, and I canadian from the Vancouver area. I found out we lost an hour and a half in Sacramento because a bridge between Chico and there had caught fire. The four of us enjoyed beautiful views out of the windows as well as good conversation.

    I returned to my favorite spot as we continued journeying north. It was sunny and blue skies till the Oregon Line. And then instantly it turned into a rainy afternoon. The toilets were on the fritz on the business class car so the attendant was rebooting the system almost every minute. I was also privy to learning about a family with a child with chicken pox. Who was being moved into the lower level for quarantine.

    However an older gentlemen happened to notice that too, and the spots on the child’s skin. And he started a rumor that the kid had measles. And that spread like wildfire so when we pulled up at Klamath Falls the train was near insurrection. At the fresh air stop I walked up to our power while the Oregon Air National Guard was flying overhead. The child’s mother decided to leave the train here because of how other passengers were talking.

    After awhile that same gentleman tried to speak with me to make conversation and to be honest I was disgusted so I didn’t respond to him. Sometimes being able to speak fluent German comes in handy because then I could avoid telling him what I thought about his rumor mill. I can’t stand people who are starting things like that. I went to lunch in the diner with a young chef from Seattle, a nurse from DC, and a biker from Skykomish.

    I’ve had far better company in the diner in the past. It felt like I was pulling teeth to get a conversation out of them. And by far one of the slower meal services I’ve ever had. But it honestly could have just felt long because no one was really talkative. After that I met a cool guy in the lounge and talked to him until Eugene. I stretched my legs at Eugene with a brisk and fast walk up to the locomotive before coming back to get back on.

    We pulled out of the station only to stop because Mr. Barefoot had went into the station and ran back out. Fifteen minute delay because of that. Afterwards we continued north up the Willamette Valley. I loved seeing the Willamette and Pacific locomotives in Albany because they show their espee heritage vibrantly. Other than that it was an uneventful rainy run north.

    Cascade No. 508 pulled into the hilltop siding just behind us to meet the same Union Pacific freight as us. Without Mr. Barefoot’s fifteen minute delay we would have met the freight north of Oregon City and not lost another half hour. Either way we arrived in Portland three hours and forty two minutes late. Which wasn’t an issue for me because Julia had stuff to do till 7:30 so the delay wasn’t bad.

    I walked over to Pioneer Square to meet up with her in the hardest rain I’ve ever felt in Portland. Usually Portland Rain is light and not a downpour. Either way I met up with Julia and had a fantastic dinner at a retro style diner. We spent about an hour and a half catching up but because she has started a new job she had to go to bed to be at work at eight AM.

    I then took the Max to my friend and boss Tom’s new condo. Which I honestly don’t like as much as his old Townhouse. And it’s much harder to reach the city from.
     
  8. Oct 3, 2019 #8

    Seaboard92

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    Waking up in the Cascades.

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    Riding along the Sacramento River.

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    Is that Mount Shasta?

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    Look at the beautiful mountains.

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    Amtrak’s Pancakes.

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    Looking out over the fields looking west.

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    The San Joachim Starlight at Klamath Falls.

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    Klamath Lake.

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    A lake just south of Eugene.

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    The San Joachim Starlight at Eugene.
     
  9. Oct 3, 2019 #9

    Seaboard92

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    The Willamette & Pacific SD7 at Albany. It shows its heritage.

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    I’m home now.

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    The cabbage at Portland Union Station.

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    Two Cascades side by side in Portland.
     
  10. Oct 3, 2019 #10

    Seaboard92

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    Day 4: Columbia River Gorge and RDC’s

    Today again I was able to sleep in and be a morning person. We left fairly early at seven AM for a trip into the Gorge. Honestly train traffic was down in the gorge and we didn’t see a train till ten AM. Our first stop was at Hood River where all of Ed Ellis’s cars no longer wear his reporting mark. Part of the receivership proceedings I suppose. We went as Far East as the Dales before crossing over into Washington state.

    We found our first freight train at Avery waiting a crew to head towards Bend. After that we continued east past many amazing locations before finally finding another train around Maryhill, WA. What I was attempting to do and I think I succeeded in was trying to minimize the size of the train. In order to showcase how large and grand the nature around the trains were. So I tried more photographs that made the trains look like models.

    We had lunch in a McDonalds in Biggs, IR before chasing a train back towards Portland on the Washington bank. Again I tried setting up photos more with scenery in mind than the train. After we arrived back in Portland we went over to Tigard to see if the RDC’s were running on the Westside Express.

    Due to the Colorado Railcar’s reliability issues striker rosters two operational RDC’s and three getting ready to enter service. For a change the ex Alaska Railroad RDCs we’re in charge. So I took a quick ride up to Beaverton where I photographed them departing on the street running portion of their route.

    Afterwards I took a Blue Line Max to downtown to connect to an Orange Line Max to have dinner with Julia, Melissa, and Sam. However the five mile ride took an hour and a half so I was significantly late. I should know by now you can’t count on Max when you have a schedule that is for sure. So the minute I get to Melissa’s new apartment we take off for Jade a Thai place in Sellwood.

    We had a great dinner where I honestly had a burger. And of course I’m the slowest to eat because I enjoy talking and catching up. It was a lovely dinner with lovely people. Granted only Julia really gets my sense of humor. After we finished dinner Melissa drove us back to where Julia lives and I caught a max from there.
     
  11. Oct 3, 2019 #11

    Seaboard92

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    Portland during Rush Hour.

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    The Columbia River Gorge.

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    BNSF at Avery, WA in the gorge.

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    Looking down at Wishram from the highway.

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    Do you see the train? I tried to make the trains the smallest object to show joe grande the nature is.

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    A westbound coal train deep in the Columbia River Gorge

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    Looking east into the gorge.

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    BNSF heading west in the gorge.

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    Looking down from up high.

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    Looking down on the trains from 200 ft above them.
     
  12. Oct 3, 2019 #12

    Seaboard92

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    That looks like a power shot from a calendar.

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    BNSF in the gorge.

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    Union Pacific meeting near Cascade Lochs.

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    Downtown Portland from across the Willamette.

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    West Side Express at Beaverton.

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    RDC’s negotiating street running in Beaverton.
     
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  13. Oct 3, 2019 #13

    Seaboard92

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    Day 5: The Cascades and a bachelorette party

    I woke up again fairly early and packed by bags to walk up to the bus stop. Tom’s condo is a good mile hike from the bus stop all up hill but that isn’t a large issue. I significantly overpaid for a bus ticket because I didn’t have the five for a day pass. So my day pass ended up costing ten. No real big deal. I took the route 20 to downtown. Checked my bag in Train No. 518 and attempted to use an upgrade coupon.

    But because Portland doesn’t have a scanner for the new upgrade coupons ended up having to call the call center. And I’m fairly sure I got the new “Richard Anderson call center” in Florida because they were fairly unhelpful. With the coupon for a free upgrade it would have ended up costing $102 dollars. For something that really wasn’t needed. So I decided it really wasn’t worth $102 for 2-1 seating and a cafe voucher.

    So after checking in my bag I made a bee line for Powell’s books because if I go to Portland without going there I have failed. And let’s be honest when any of you say you are going to Portland where do I recommend first. So I walked over to Powell’s and spent a good hour looking at titles in trains, and German History. This time I bought two titles in Cold War history before meeting my friend Devin.

    Normally when I come to Portland I never have time to catch up with Devin because I’m always busy with Julia and her friends. But because Julia has a new job I had the time. Devin took me to a live steam event in the industrial district northwest of town which was enjoyable enough. It’s fascinating how those model engines are controlled. Afterwards I went to lunch with Julia across the street from where she works. And we took a stroll down the waterfront for a few blocks before she returned to work.

    And I’m proud of myself for not foaming when the Coast Starlight passed us while we were walking. We hugged goodbye and bid ourselves to see each other in a few more months and I walked over to Union Station. Shortly thereafter they called Train No. 518 for boarding and away we went. We passed Julia’s workplace and I talked to the older woman sitting next to me. She tried matching me up with her daughter, as did the woman in the seat pair behind. I probably should have taken them up on their offer.

    At Olympia my good friends Charlie and Patrick boarded to visit with me as I traveled thru the area. We met in the lounge of the Mount Bachelor Talgo. And we caught up for the ride to Seattle. Mostly Charlie and me telling stories to Patrick. At Seattle Charlie detrained and went back to his apartment and Patrick stayed on till Everett. Patrick and I have a lot in common with a mutual love for Roller Coasters.

    He detrained and I got back in the line for the bistro to get a Schwartz Brothers Cinnamon Roll and a drink. So I remained in the bistro full well intending to return to my seat. Well that didn’t happen because somehow I ended up joining a bachelorette party that was being held in the lounge. The wedding party were all Seattle based lawyers. And based on the one who planned it I’m going to say very good attorneys. And the Australian couple in the diner and me were somehow added to the party.

    It was so much fun just shooting the breeze and making jokes with them. It literally made the three hours north of Everett after dark fly by. And one bought everyone a round of drinks in the whole car which was really sweet. And now I have a new attorney I’m fairly certain, and a place to stay in Australia. Another perk to the attorneys she helped everyone in the diner prepare their customs form.

    We arrived in Vancouver a bit behind the advertised as we had to wait on a CN freight train north of the border. I grabbed my items, and went thru customs. And met up with Brian whom I will ride the Canadian with, and Malcolm who’s birthday it was. We then checked Brian and I into our hotel a cheap feeling motel. Then went to an art bar for dinner. Mike who took my place on the Rocky Mountaineer joined us for our super late night birthday dinner for Malcolm. Afterwards we all went back to our hotels for the night.
     
  14. Oct 3, 2019 #14

    Seaboard92

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    Portland’s number two attraction for me.

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    Walking along the shore with Julia.

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    Portland Union Station in the fall time.

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    The Mt. Bachelor Talgo at Portland.

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    The Tacoma Narrows.

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    The Tacoma Narrows.

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    Meeting a freight in Tacoma.

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    The Mt. Bachelor Talgo at Seattle.

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    The Mt. Bachelor Talgo at Vancouver.
     
  15. Oct 3, 2019 #15

    Seaboard92

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    Day 6: The Canadian and Vancouver

    Brian and I awoke fairly early and went to Pacific Central to store our bags for the day at the baggage counter. Then we took the skytrain out to a place Mike recommended for breakfast. It was 2.95 CAD for breakfast. Not a bad deal and it felt like a cool grungy bar. Afterwards we went into the city and walked around Gas Town for a bit. After a short stroll we took the SeaBus to North Vancouver for the cheap (included in day pass) harbor tour.

    The cruise ship we passed in the harbor was massive. No other words could describe that. After we arrived back at Waterfront station we went our separate ways for a bit. He wanted to explore some hip neighborhood. And I wanted to visit my friend Alex for his lunch break. On my walk to Alex’s building I passed a gelato place and managed to get my favorite flavor Straticella. I was still eating it when I accidentally ended up in a protest outside the Hilton hotel.

    Somewhere there is probably a photo of me with a sign “One Job should be enough” and a gelato in the other hand. After that I went over and met Alex at his building he works maintenance for. After he ate his lunch in the lobby he took me down to meet his crew. And man that was a ton of fun. What a neat group of guys.

    All of the mechanical people loved my stories from private car maintenance from when I cut the CEO’s shower water off, to the exploding toilet. They spent an entire hour laughing, and it was so much fun. I want to visit them again. Afterwards I got a tour of how a skyscraper is heated, and powered which was unique.

    Then I walked back to gastown for lunch. This time not at my favorite place because it wasn’t available due to an hour long wait. But maybe I need to stop reliving my memories of my trip with Kathleen. The lunch was good but not as good as the usual place. Then we took the Skytrain back to Pacific Central and awaited departure on Train No. 2 the Canadian enroute to Winnipeg. After about ten minutes they opened boarding and we walked out of the lounge to our car.

    Initially we were supposed to be in the same car but due to a large family wanting to be together I got moved to a different space. We came to my car Lorne Manor first. I spent some time with the diner crew telling my war stories from the PV world as we awaited departure. Once we departed I walked up to our Activity Car B which just so happened to be the next car over.

    I was able to get the front seat in the dome mostly because no one wanted it. For some reason VIA put a table for the first section and no one likes riding backwards. Which I’m ok with because no real competition for it. A farmer named Heather from Elmont Ontario. And a retired couple who retired to their room as soon as we crossed the Fraser River.

    In the massive Canadian National yard east of the bridge we passed the westbound Rocky Mountaineer from Kamloops. Brian joined us right around then and enjoyed the Bon Voyage reception VIA hosts on every departure. We then were rendered speechless. Y every bit of nature’s beauty on this route. The last time I had been on the tour was back when the train departed in the late evening and Mission City was in the dark. But this time we made it well into Hells Gate before darkness took over.

    Our activities manager Deborah introduced herself and started the railroad 101 class she teaches in the Skyline. Of course I was the star pupil especially when she asked how long the train was. Most people answered in the car length. My answer was the exact length of 2,070 ft long. That was with factoring the extra inch that is in Ulmer’s registry because most cars are 85 foot and 1 inch long.

    Deborah and I talked about trains, some of our stories, and I gave her the consist information for the movie Silver Streak which was filmed using CP’s Canadian fleet which is for the most part still in service today with VIA. After that lecture it was time for dinner in the diner. We had second seating.

    We were seated with a couple going to Jasper and to be honest I don’t remember a lot about them. Which probably means they were normal because I remember the ones who stand out. I had the Beef Tenderloin with a sauce of mixed wild mushrooms with Mashed potato’s. Which in title is similar to one of the new contemporary meals on Amtrak. However it is light years away from it because it’s chef prepared on board, tastes great, and the presentation is better.

    For dinner I had VIA Rail’s signature chocolate caramel torte. After dinner I sat in the lower level of the skyline to charge my phone. And I had a lovely discussion with our chef, and his food was amazing. I talked to him for maybe an hour or so. At some point I looked to the left and I saw our counterpart pass in the distance maybe a hundred feet away with all of its lights. And I thought wow how cool of a sight is that. After that I walked the length of the sleeper section to read about the names of all the cars.
     
  16. Oct 3, 2019 #16

    Seaboard92

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    Pacific Central Station. And it turns 100 this year.

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    Downtown Vancouver near Waterfront Station.

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    The steam clock in gas town.

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    Vancouver from the Burrand Inlet

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    Downtown Vancouver.

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    Downtown Vancouver.

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    Skytrain in downtown Vancouver.

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    The Canadian boarding passengers on track five.

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    Boarding the Canadian at Pacific Central.

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    The Mt. Olympus Talgo
     
  17. Oct 3, 2019 #17

    Seaboard92

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    West Coast Express at the VIA center.

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    Skytrain as we are departing.

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    Meeting Rocky Mountaineer in the Vancouver yard.

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    The beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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    The Canadian entering the Rockies.

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    Approaching Hells Gate.

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    The dinner menu.

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    The beef tenderloin.

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    The VIA signature dessert.
     
  18. Oct 3, 2019 #18

    Seaboard92

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    Day 7: The Canadian and Jasper National Park.

    I woke up around the time sunrise was supposed to be and it was already light. But either way the scenery was breathtaking once I got into the dome. We were actually running early which I wasn’t expecting. Of course that didn’t last either. After seeing which line we would take at Valemont we went to the diner and had breakfast with a couple headed to Jasper. They were gearing up for hiking and mountain fun, while we were gearing up for the prairies the next day.

    The pancakes I had were excellent as always. After breakfast we went back to our front seat in the dome till Jasper. We ended up talking to a couple from the DC area who knew someone I know in the Rail advocacy world. Further proving the world is a small place. We would have arrived in Jasper an hour early if we wouldn’t have had to wait on our late counter part to get out of the way. Soon after he passed by we pulled in fifteen minutes early.

    I walked the train and got the consist numbers for the coach, and Prestige section here. We also stopped in the Bear Claw Bakery and met a lovely Austrian who was working there. Brian and I then strolled around the small town taking in its shops, and it’s mountain charm. All to soon it was time to get back on board. What I found appropriate there was a hearse parked next to the Jasper protect engine. So I took a photo of it titled “This can put you in This”.

    After that we got back on board and went to our usual seat in the dome for our departure. We lost fifteen minutes in Jasper cutting the Tweedsmuir Park out of the consist. But nothing to terrible. Brian and I enjoyed the companionship of Sal from Adelaide, AU and her friend from New Zealand (Kiwi) in the dome. We were in awe of the beauty of the Rockies because around every bend came a new scenic vista.

    We pulled into one siding slightly before lunch, and we didn’t leave it till thirty minutes after we had lunch and returned to the dome. We had lunch with the same people from our dome table. And in the environment of a dining car you can solve all the worlds problems. Granted that might be the train in general if it has good lounge facilities. In the one siding we met five or six freight trains. I say five or six because to be honest I lost count. I had the chicken pot pie which to be honest I wasn’t a super large fan of.

    We returned to our seats and Sal’s neighbor across the hall joined us. A lovely retired woman from Quebec Claire. She was happy with the cost of the trip because it was zero due to her VIA Preference points from commuting for work. We then slowly ambled out of the Rockies into the foothills. Between Jasper and Hinton we lost two hours and thirty minutes. There was a beer tasting in our skyline to which everyone enjoyed.

    After awhile we ended back up in the dining car for another lovely dinner. I mostly talked with Sal while Brian mostly talked with Claire. And to be honest it was therapeutic talking to Sal about the girl I have a major crush on but will never ask out because I lack courage. Did I actually gain anything from her lessons I strongly doubt that.

    Dinner tonight was Rack of Lamb. And I want to say that was the first time I’ve ever had lamb. And it was really really good. I didn’t eat the vegetables around it which Claire joked is “ok for you vegetable is poison” in her thick French accent. After dinner the four of us retired to the Bullet Lounge in the Prestige Park car. Now that it was well past the hour we are allowed in.

    And we basically just continued our conversation from the diner just in a more elegant location. And I took the opportunity to charge my phone as well. We sat and talked about Sal’s job which was fundraising for Australian Veterans and turns out she knows pretty much every important Australian General.

    After Sal and Claire went to bed Brian and I stayed back partially to charge our phones, partially for the fresh air stop at Edmonton which we were fairly close to. And partially just to bond in the Park Car dome. We sat in seats reserved for Prestige Passengers but that wasn’t a big issue at 10:45 PM because most had went to bed.

    My attendant cane and told me I need to move my stuff at Edmonton because they were moving me to my ticketed accommodation. There had been an ongoing issue with a large group wanting to sit together who booked separately. So everyone was getting shuffled around. However once I started moving my stuff they found another way to accommodate them so I didn’t have to move.

    Brian and I took a brief stroll alongside the train in Edmonton before he retired to his section. And I went to the skyline for some reason and I talked to a really nice German Chris. Who was taking the train across Canada and laying over all of the major stations. So he took train 4 Vancouver to Edmonton and was one of 14 passengers past Jasper. Then was with us to Saskatoon. After that he would take the next train to Winnipeg. Before eventually reaching Toronto.

    And I have to say it was really refreshing using my German without much of an issue. Very enjoyable.
     
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  19. Oct 3, 2019 #19

    Seaboard92

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    The Rockies at sunrise.

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    The breakfast menu.

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    Views from the diner.

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    Pancakes for breakfast.

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    Rounding the curves in Jasper National.

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    A lake in Jasper National Park

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    Passing the Canadian west of Jasper.

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    The Canadian at Jasper.

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    The Canadian at Jasper.

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    The Jasper fire station.
     
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  20. Oct 3, 2019 #20

    Seaboard92

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    One of These can put you in one of these.

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    A Canadian National steam engine at Jasper.

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    Tweedsmuir Park

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    Canadian National in Jasper National Park.

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    The Rockies.

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    The lunch menu.

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    Chicken Pot Pie.

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    A beautiful view of the train rounding a lake.

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    Brian taking a photo. It’s an odd angle but I like it.

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    Another view of a normal shot.
     
  21. Oct 3, 2019 #21

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    The dinner menu.

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    Rack of Lamb.

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    The Canadian at Edmonton
     
  22. Oct 3, 2019 #22

    Seaboard92

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    Day 8: The Canadian and the Prairies

    One thing about waking up in a section on the Canadian. Especially if you are in the upper you have no idea where in the country you are. You just know that the train is moving or sitting, and that you are in a bunk. And without cell service you don’t even know if you are on time. So I got dressed and went straight to the diner where I was seated with Sal and a couple from Prestige Class. And the couple from the Prestige Class were super impressed with my train stories.

    To which Sal normally looked like come on I’ve heard them at least forty times since Vancouver. And the husband was an actual rocket scientist. Like he wouldn’t have the excuse you need to be a rocket scientist to do this. He was such a great guy. I had amazing French toast and received an invite to spend my day in Prestige Class yet I didn’t take them up on the offer. Instead I went back with Sal and sat in our usual table with Brian and Clair. And this time we also managed to squeeze Chris the German in with us.

    Which instantly told me that we hadn’t reached Saskatoon. We continued solving the worlds problems while waiting on several freight trains to pass us. And eventually we pulled into Saskatoon at 11:03 just about six hours late. I took a lovely stroll down the platform. They no longer let people down by the locomotives so I made it as far as the baggage car before turning around to the park car.

    We departed Saskatoon exactly an hour later and made our way east. The usual suspects were in the usual table in the dome. And we had a lovely time. Honestly the scenery isn’t fantastic on this stretch but it isn’t bad either. It’s completely different compared to where we had been. Last time I took this route it was darkness pretty soon after departing Saskatoon this time we would be in daylight about to where I woke up on the previous trip.

    We tried hard to entertain ourselves because we were all starving by the time the call came for second lunch. I had the Ginger Beef with rice. Again I didn’t really eat the rice but it was a definite improvement over the day before because I did not like that at all. Again it was a nice lunch with the usual suspects. Afterwards we reclaimed our usual seats because that’s just how we are.

    I can’t really remember much of what we talked about but I’m confident I now have a place in Adelaide to stay. Sal kept trying to match our skyline attendant Serge with her daughter. Eventually Deborah brought another attendant up to give a lecture on farming seeing we were in Canada’s breadbasket. And I have to say that was fascinating. I’ve honestly never thought of farms as a place with high tech objects, and as a business with millions of dollars. But it really is and is quite fascinating.

    After the lecture we had a stretch stop at Melville where I managed to get to the head end and to the Park car. Of course I did walk as far forward as possible to detrain. After that the usual suspects met back up at the usual place where we looked at the massive potash mines. I texted my mother to call our hotel the Fort Garry and tell them we are running late and expect to be in by midnight.

    Then the usual suspects went to the diner and were faced with an almost impossible choice. Canadian Duck or Prime Rib. Literally no way you can go wrong with that. I went with the duck this time and it was fantastic. We stopped shortly into our meal service and they announced due to a Canadian National freight breaking apart we would be delayed while they fixed the issue. Of course in the meantime ten Canadian National Trains managed to pass by so we could have still ran but to CN freight is more important.

    So we just sat and had a lovely meal in the process. On the dessert plates someone wrote Thank You on each one of them. Our seating caused us to miss the musician Orit’s set. I figure the best way to introduce her is to use a direct quote.

    “I am in love with words. They can contain love and they can change people. They can shape our understanding, and they can be our weapon, or our guard. They grant us with humour, and self-reflection. Words are what give breath meaning, and they are one of the only things we have that will survive past our corporeal demise. Our words and our voices. Let us use both with sincerity, wisdom, passion, and creativity, and by that I mean love."

    We still chose to sit in the lower level Skyline because it is much nicer than our usual social table. But after dark it doesn’t matter for the scenery so we chose to be comfortable. Orit’s gear was still set up in the lounge and when she came back to pack up I asked if she would play us something. To which she said she would do a thirty minute private set for us seeing we would be getting off in Winnipeg and would miss her next performance.

    Well that half hour turned into three hours. And I worked the weirdest job I’ve ever been asked to do on a train.... be the music stand. So I would google the lyrics and chords for her, then hold them up while the two of us sang them. Usually with the whole car singing along. A francophone in the car was a bit rude constantly interrupting her wanting her to play the music she liked.

    But then to apologize she bought everyone a round of drinks from the bar. Still you could see it annoyed her to a degree. After Orit’s stopped playing at midnight Brian and I talked to her in the darkened Skyline for probably two hours. Looking at the moon, and just writing out new songs. She even helped me get started on one I’ve had on my mind for two years and nine months (should give a hint to what that’s about) “My Heart Rests Where the Sun Sets.” At some point we started moving and we all retired to our respective cabins. For me I had a one car walk.
     
  23. Oct 3, 2019 #23

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    The breakfast menu.

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    Some of the best French toast.

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    The Canadian rounding a bend.

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    The Canadian next to some water.

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    BC Rail

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    The rear of the Canadian.

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    Saskatoon.

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    The lunch menu.

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    Lunch ginger beef.

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    Rounding another bend.
     
  24. Oct 3, 2019 #24

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    The Canadian at Melville.

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    The newly restored Melville station.

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    The Canadian at Melville.

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    Sunset from the skyline.

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    The dinner menu. Tough choices.

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    Canadian duck.

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    Orit’s late night performance.

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    A fairly good crowd for a late night unscheduled concert.
     
  25. Oct 3, 2019 #25

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    Day 9: Running to Catch a Plane

    My porter (as VIA still calls them) David woke me up about 5:30 to say we were thirty minutes from Winnipeg. So I gathered my things and prepared to detrain. Well as things would have it Canadian National thought it would make more sense to route two freight trains ahead of us on the double tracked route. So I was able to watch the sunrise from the Skyline over Winnipeg’s skyline while waiting.

    Brian’s flight for Calgary was at 9:45 in the morning, and mine was 12:45 PM. Both of us were getting antsy because our next train would be way better than this one. Brian called WestJet at 6:50 and they refused to modify his reservation because it was less than three hours to the flight (by five minutes) so we found the service manager. The service manager then tried asking the CN dispatcher if we could at least move to a grade crossing where we could drop him off to a taxi cab.

    To which the dispatcher didn’t grant but at about 8:00 AM we lurched into motion and somehow we had all clear signals for the next twenty minutes into the station. The service manager let Brian get a minute head start before the other passengers so he could get a cab seeing his plane boarded at 9:15 and it was now 8:20.

    I said my goodbyes to Heather, Serge, Orit, and Claire before I took my time to detrain and went across the river to photograph the train leaving. I figured they would try and get the work done fast and leave as soon as possible. I bumped into Claire who kissed both of my cheeks as is French culture. Which really exemplified how trains bring people together. Then I waited and waited for two hours before giving up on the train crossing the river. I did manage to wave goodbye to everyone from the street as they departed.

    Then I grabbed a cab to the Winnipeg airport. Technically I think someone else had called him but I took the cab anyway. It was an easy quick drive to the airport without a highway. I made it to the airport and printed my boarding pass before joining an incredibly long line for domestic security. Honestly I hadn’t expected Winnipeg to have a long line for security. But none the less I was past that in about twenty minutes.

    I grabbed a quick burger and fries before the flight behind security before setting off for my gate. One thing I like about flying in another county is the new to me plane liveries. Eventually they started boarding my Air Canada A319 flight and I got on board. My phone which has a processor issue causing its battery to fail more often needed charging. Luckily for me Air Canada has outlets at every seat. Even if they are picky outlets I did manage to get to 50 percent.

    And in about two hours we arrived in Calgary, Alberta. It was a fairly smooth flight and I went straight out to the ground transportation. I bought a day ticket and took the BRT route No. 300 into the city. I was one of five passengers on the bus until it started filling up downtown. I got off at my stop and started walking to the Fairmont Palliser.

    On my way to the hotel I accidentally bumped into Brian who arrived three hours ahead of me. After that I went to carry my suitcase up the stairs into the hotel but the bellmen couldn’t handle that so they carried it up those six stairs. I checked into my room and went up to the fifth floor.

    The only word that readily comes to mind is wow. I can’t believe how awesome the Fairmont really is. Canadian Pacific Railway who was paying for my hotel, and meals in the city really pulled out all of the stops. It was undeniably fancy. After charging my phone for a few more minutes I went out with Brian to see Calgary. Calgary is like an odd cross breed between Europe with pedestrian/transit only streets with sidewalk cafes, and the west. Most of the stores carry western gear which makes it an odd hybrid.

    I did enjoy seeing the Frankfurt U Bahn style trains they use on their CTrain network in downtown. I’m about a three hour stroll we managed to see the exterior of most things. And I managed to get hit by a cyclist down by the river. The sidewalk stairs down to the trail have no visibility to the sides for people to see bikes. And he was going in my opinion too fast to stop before an obstruction. But at least there was no damage to my camera.

    Then we proceeded to venture back to our hotel for dinner because the Canadian Pacific would cover our meal if we ate there. The hotel restaurant was very 1920s and was super nice. I had a Flat Iron Steak with fries which was delightful. And for dessert I had a caramel chocolate torte. Brian has a cinnamon toast crepe. And his looked absolutely amazing. And it tasted good too. After dinner we both retired for the night. So we would be awake for the next day on board the Royal Canadian Pacific.

    Day 10: See Other Report

    Just because the Royal Canadian Pacific is so special I felt it needed its own stand alone report. So please see (insert link here)
     

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