The Journey Begins

posted Jun 23, 2017, 1:09 PM by Grace Lutheran Church

As promised, I am sharing our Sabbath Journey with you. The blog has been delayed by the isolation of the Cascade mountain retreat and then the demise of my computer.  Now I write from the porch of the hotel on a beautiful, warm, sunny day I San Diego, California. 

May 31 – Up at 5 AM for the first leg of our Sabbath train trip around the West.  Amtrak is notoriously late so we were a bit surprised when we checked in the early morning to find that it was running on time.  In the “old days” we had to call an 800 number and listen to an automated update to find out the status of the train.   Now, there is an Amtrak App for your cell phone that with a few quick taps tells you when the train will arrive.  Repeated searches indicated that the train was arriving on time.  As soon as we headed out of the station to the bus hut by the tracks we found out that it was going to be 30 minutes late…then 40…then 50…  We watched down the very straight approach (I hear you can almost see to Bryan, Ohio) until, an hour late, the headlight appeared.  No problem we had hours to wait in Chicago before boarding the Empire Builder to head north on our journey to the mountains. 

Following lunch with an “old” friend in Chicago we boarded the train and settled into our Viewliner Bedroom for the 39 hour journey to Wenatchee, Washington.  I have learned that the smaller the living space the more organized you must be!  The space was small and we had too much baggage but it was home for the next two nights!  Too much baggage, don’t we all have too much baggage? But then that is a message for another day!  During the day we had a relatively comfortable couch, small table, a chair (but we could not use the chair because we had to fold it up to make room for our luggage), and a toilet, shower, sink combo all fit into a space the size of a walk in closet!  At night, it made into 2 bunks.  The bottom left only inches in front to the sink.  The shower and toilet are in the same tiny pod.  You could use both at the same time if you wished! But having said all that, it worked quite well.

On the first morning I looked out the window of the train and the song that came to mind was “I can see for miles” by the Who.  We were in western North Dakota!

Meals are included and eaten in the dining car.  You are seated with another couple and it is fun to exchange stories.  Meals, however, have changed since our last trip about 12 years ago.  No more china, the linen table clothes are covered with paper and the quality of the food has slipped. (But we still ate plenty and enjoyed it.)  There are no more regional specialties, or freebies.  In spite of the changes brought on as Amtrak tries to keep train travel economically feasible,  it is relaxing and enjoyable and the sleeper affords privacy from the noise and chaos of the other cars. 

About 6:35 AM, Friday June 2 we arrived in Wenatchee, Washington one hour late.  At 7:15 AM we boarded the commuter bus with ALL of our luggage to begin the next leg of our Journey to Holden Village.