Last Thursday, I needed to go to Salem, Oregon to have my notarized degree apostilled by the Secretary of State's office. (Those words don't mean anything and you don't have to know what they mean). I am staying in Vancouver, Washington with a friend. So, of course, I thought of Amtrak. The Amtrak Cascades runs quite often, and this is one of a few places in the country where Amtrak can be used for semi-commuting service like this. So these were the steps on my trip: 1. I walked to a bus stop in Vancouver, Washington and took a bus to downtown Vancouver, using my contactless card. (This step was extraneous, I could have made it to the train easily without the bus, but it saved me 15 minutes of walking). I then walked a few more blocks to the Amtrak train station. Cost: $1.80 on my HOP card. 2. The train was 20 minutes late, but I boarded it. But the train was only going as far as Portland, which is about 15 minutes from Vancouver...for this part of the trip, I could have taken city buses to Portland. This and the next step cost $18 together. 3. In Portland, we boarded a Thruway bus south. Since we were a little late, the bus took off almost immediately. It was a comfortable Thruway bus. It made one stop, in Woodburn, but basically just cruised down I-5, ending at the Salem Amtrak station, which is three or four blocks from the capitol building, and also the government office I needed to visit... (I did what I came to the city to do, and since the commuting buses back didn't start until later in the afternoon, I then ate lunch, walked around Salem, and visited the Minto-Brown park, before heading back to the Transit Center downtown) 4. I boarded a Cherriots-SMART 1X bus, which is a commuter bus, peak-hours only, between Salem, and Wilsonville. Wilsonville is in general the last "suburb" of Portland. Cost: $3 5. In Wilsonville, I boarded the WES Commuter Rail (peak hours only) to Beaverton. This was commuter rail, but takes the same fares as any other Tri-Met bus. Cost: $2.50, off my HOP card 6. In Beaverton, I took the Tri-Met MAX east to downtown, and then north to Delta Park. (Normally I would have to transfer routes, but due to construction, they were switching routes around so W-E trains became N-S trains, which saved me some time. No additional cost for this, since I was still in the time frame for my HOP card. 7. From Delta Park back to Vancouver, I got on the #60 C-Tran. I believe there was no cost for this, since it was still covered by my HOP card from boarding in Wilsonville. That is a lot of detail, isn't it? Compared to travelogues full of pictures of Glenwood Canyon, this might seem pretty boring. But I wanted to share this because it shows just how diverse transit is, and how transit categorizations aren't always intuitive. For example, on my trip, I took an Amtrak Train. That makes sense. I took a city bus. That also makes sense. But I also took a city train, a heavy rail train that was ticketed and ran as part of an urban agency transit network. I also took a city bus that went intercity distances. I also took an Amtrak Thruway bus. What is closer to being a "train": heavy commuter rail, ran by an urban transit agency, or a passenger bus, run by Amtrak? My bus driver for Amtrak, from Portland to Salem, scanned my pdf file of my ticket on my phone. My bus driver from Salem to Wilsonville had a farebox without a counter: just a metal box that you dropped your money into and the driver visually counted it. So, to sum up: across the basic idea of "getting from here to there", there were many different paradigms of transit.