On Wednesday, Patrick and I arrived at the Eugene Amtrak station, ready to head to Portland for a few days to find a new place to call home. There were about five people in the station as Patrick and I shuffled in, weighted down by our luggage. My hat faulted a smig as I took in the familiar surroundings. We set down our luggage on one of the wood benches and I picked my wallet out of my purse and went over to the ticket office.
“Well, aren’t you all dolled up!” the ticket woman said to me as I approached the counter. I was pleased to be complimented on my appearance, since I take particular pride in my attire when riding the train. Traveling should be a well rounded experience.
I picked up our tickets and sat back down to wait for the Coastal Starlight to pull in. When the sliver and blue beauty approached, we stepped out and watched as other passengers disembarked to be greeted by friends and family. Soon, we clambered on with other Eugene passengers. After making our way up the slim staircase we took our cushy seats and gazed out the window. After the train got moving we made our way to the viewing car where we sat down at a booth and gazed out the large window, chatted and play some card games as the train chugged northward toward our destination.
I love riding the train. It really is a fabulous way to travel. Forget the long check in lines, waits, metal detectors, liquids or no liquids and cramped space of air travel. It’s easy, fun and you get to see parts of the country you never would otherwise. Seats are often bigger than that in First Class on an airplane, and the leg room is twice as much, you can get up and walk as you please, bring anything onboard, and sometimes there may be five rows in front or behind you and the next passenger. For those traveling in sleepers, the amazing parlor car with its wood and elegant seating is available. The train also harks back to the mid-twentieth century when train travel really was how people got from place to place…just think about that hilarious I Love Lucy episode when she pulls the emergency break several times or the array of films surrounding train travel. For me it was also interesting since I have been learning so much about Oregon’s history, and a key element of that is the railroad. So as we ventured forth through farm country, the state’s capitol of Salem, and forests, I couldn’t help but think about the Chinese labor that laid the original tracks and how the train forever changed how people moved and time itself! Before the railroad, standard time did not exist! For me, taking the train is a nice way of reliving a bit of history.