Friday, November 14, 2008

In retrospect

After our lovely trip, I thought I’d mention things that I learned, saw and found out about the Seattle area and the Amtrak train ride, itself.

As far as the Amtrak ride, it’s definitely worth the extra money to ride in a sleeper. As I mentioned, we took the deluxe room this time, with the bathroom (and shower) but we would be almost as comfortable in the economy “roomette;” there is a bathroom (no shower) on the same level as the rooms. And everyone is treated the same, no matter which sleeper room you reserve.

When you figure in the meals (4 of them for our trip, each way) it cuts the cost down. We have room to spread out, privately. I have a lap table and electricity so that I can write this comfortably (and listen to my music – Les Miserables this time). We have wide windows so that we can view almost as much as if we were in the viewing lounge. Norm is stretched out, right now, taking a nap (and I took one this morning).

We would not have to bring blankets – in coach we have to bring blankets or rent from Amtrak. In the sleeper, the blankets and pillows are there (making a little less to carry on and off the train). We were greeted with bottles of water in the room when we got here. There is a coffee machine and fruit juices in the hall that we can have any time of day or night. The thought of a private or semi-private bathroom on the same level is very desirous to me.

When we first came in, our steward brought in champagne for us to drink. He did ask if we were over 21 --- silly man! He makes up our beds when we ask, then puts them away in the morning. Any time we want something, we can page him. If we so desire, we can have our meals in our room – they will deliver.

I love traveling by train. The worst part is no Peanut. The train system will take no dogs unless they are service dogs. Can I teach her to become a service dog for me and become official so I can bring her along? I do miss her a lot, but I also feel badly that I need to depend on my sister and brother-in-law to care for her when we are gone. After all, she is like another child and I shouldn’t separate her from me just for my pleasure, right?

As far as Seattle and that area – it’s a wonderful place. They are very green-minded – much more than Minnesota; our state prides itself on being “green” but doesn’t really do anything to merit that claim. I was talking to someone at breakfast this morning and she said that Washington is very fussy about new buildings – you can’t cut down certain trees and you have to fit in with all codes and rules that Washington has to fit being “green.”

I like the idea of not having snow or sleet (we have had snow at home while we have been gone and I am not really looking forward to coming back to it). But there are way too many people for me. I like my peace and quiet with few people, no trains, no planes and very few cars. I like going shopping at our small grocery store and recognizing people and being recognized.

But then, Jill’s bonsai that we got her for her birthday could not survive outside at home; the gardens that we missed seeing were outside – imagine bonsai plants growing outside all year round!!!

Jill enjoys not having to scrap ice off the windshield when she gets ready to drive her car. She has a medium weight winter coat that she wears most of the winter. We are heading home and I’m hoping that the winter coat I have is going to be warm enough for getting into the car when we get off the train.

Seattle has a lot more to offer than even Minneapolis (sorry, Minnesotans!). Especially seafood and fresh fruits and vegetables. When Eric bought the crab for us the other night, he fussed at the $11 a pound for King Crab!!!! I have NEVER even bought Snow Crab because the price is too expensive. When we went to the Fish Market, Jill got some “Grapples” – apples that have been crossed with grapes and have the apple texture and grape juice taste (smell like Welch’s grape juice). I got an Asian Pear – I learned about them as a child in Japan – we called them “Pear Apples” because they have a texture of an apple but the taste of a pear. Can’t afford them, on the whole, in Minnesota, even if we can find them. However, steak and other beef products are very expensive in Seattle and cheaper (and better) in Minnesota.

Such a difference between the 2 climates, 2 cultures. Washington has a lot of Orientals and Minnesota has very few. Minnesota has a lot of Mexicans (at least in our area), Washington has few.

I really enjoyed my trip there. People were very friendly. When we were looking for a way to get from where we were parked to the Pike Fish Market, we decided that we would have to do stairs. I would climb slowly and Norm and Eric would carry the empty wheel chair. We had two men stop and say, “Take the elevator! Don’t do the stairs!” They told us the way to the elevator, so we headed there. But missed it. There was another man (as we were starting to take another set of stairs) who led us to the elevator!!!! Blessed men! Thank you to all of them!

We ended up doing a lot of circles, turn-arounds and confusing driving. Jill would write down the directions but would miss the turn or think another way was easier. But then, what is a trip to us without turn-arounds and going in circles? Norm and I have NEVER done a trip without at least one. That way, we got to see different areas of the cities with interesting and beautiful houses.

I love the Sound – I am very happy near the ocean or large bodies of water. I have found that I can be happy nearly anywhere we have settled (as long as I have land to have animals of some kind and no close neighbors) but I feel more “myself” and more expanded around the large bodies of water. For someone who hates to be wet (am I a cat?) unless I am in a shower, bath or am swimming, I don’t object to water, rain, mist or spray when I am close to big water.

But now we are going home. Home is a wonderful place, too! I will have my Peanut – we will cuddle in the recliner with my knee up (finally) and talk about things that have happened while we were separated. I will go see my chickens, have ‘real” eggs to cook for Norm – perhaps make a custard for us for desert this weekend, talk to the sheep and ask them how they survived their first snowfall.

And Saturday is coming, with Prairie Home Companion (have I mentioned I love Saturdays?). I have a plan for another table runner that I need to start and finish before Christmas, so I will need to spend Saturday warping that to see if it will work (of COURSE it will work).

Thank you for joining us on our trip. I promise that pictures will come in just a few days – once I organize the more than 250 pictures I have taken since Tuesday evening!!!

It has been a beautiful trip. My beautiful daughter and her wonderfully caring husband made our trip very memorable. You have a beautiful day!


Jan said...

Now I REALLY want to take a train trip!
You are great at describing the sleeper amenities. Hmm Where can DH and go?
As for the doll business, I guess I should called it an unplanned surprise! You helped! Thanks for your encouragement along the way. Jan

jayedee said...

i'm so glad ya'll had such a lovely trip. but i know it feels good to be back home in familiar surroundings!
does peanut bark? if not, i'd just carry her on with me in an oversized handbag. you were in a private compartment, put a "do not disturb" sign on the door, no one will ever know except you and God, and somehow, i don't think God will mind, do you?