snakes on a train

Didn’t write Saturday OR Sunday. Saturday was spent on the train, in Portland with Mom & sisters, and at my D&D game. Sunday was spent recuperating from all that.

The train south was delightful. Olympia is such a simple little station that it’s just a matter of stepping on and going. The scenery was lovely, and ER & I spent most of the trip in the dining car, which was mostly empty.

Going north was less lovely, although part of that was my issue with not understanding the difference between boarding in Oly and boarding in Portland. Since we’d gotten on the train right at the time on the tickets, I thought the same would be true going north, and for one reason or another, we ended up walking into the station mere moments before that time…. And discovering that trains leaving from Portland STOP boarding 5 minutes BEFORE the time on the ticket. More like a plane, really. (I’m sure it said somewhere on the paperwork.) At least exchanging for tickets to the next train wasn’t too difficult, just the boredom of waiting in the lovely station.

The next train was the Coast Starlight, rather than the regional Cascades train. The Coast Starlight is the one I took almost exactly 20 years ago going home for Christmas during my first year in college. It was beautiful scenery…and 12 hours late on the southbound trip, late by a smaller but substantial amount going north. And this one was 45 minutes late. Plus the lowest tech boarding passes on earth: sharpie on little slips of yellow card stock, with those slips then being used to mark which row of seats was ours. It was comfortable enough, although darker/dingier than the earlier train. We were both pretty tired, so we didn’t go looking for the observation car. (The dining car was full of dinner reservations, which they were announcing for a good chunk of our trip.)

I would take the train to Portland again, I think, although I don’t know if I’d do it again for a day trip. And I would definitely make sure to be on a Cascades train. (Also, Cascades have free wifi. No such thing on the Coast Starlight.)

Somewhat to my surprise, the game went pretty well, even with spending my day on trains and with family. Almost got everybody with giant poisonous snakes. The ninjas were less effective than I’d hoped, and I was sad to discover that Animate Dead is touch, not ranged, so the evil clerics didn’t get a chance to reanimate all the dead snakes. Still had a great time.