Thursday, September 19, 2013

Post Ride Day 3 - August 31, 2013 - Portland, OR to Seattle, WA

We still hadn't found some of the important articles of clothing we needed - specifically shoes - so we spent our day browsing through Nordstrom Rack, Ross, and Target.  I'm a sucker for cheap stuff!  We wanted to pick up everything we needed in Oregon to avoid paying sales tax in Washington.  My score of the day - $14.90 shoes!

We hit up Chipotle for lunch, which you all know by now is Mel's favorite restaurant in all of creation.  There is a running theme on our trip - we get to wherever we are going just in time to miss a huge crowd of people getting in line behind us.  This is usually the opposite case in our real lives, as we usually get to the checkout at the grocery store just as everyone else has already jumped in front of us!  Just as we were ordering our food at Chipotle, an entire high school girl's soccer team got in line behind us!  Madness...

The biggest excitement of our day was that we were going to take Amtrak for the first time ever!  I know this doesn't sound fun to a lot of you, but we were stoked :)  We ended up having to walk forever (probably 2 miles, so not really forever) with our bikes, a duffel bag, and rolling carry-on luggage (not an easy task!) from our hotel to the train station.  On the way, we passed what we think was a deceased homeless guy sprawled out in the gravel courtyard of an apartment complex.  The police were on their way over to go check out the situation...yikes.

Getting on the train was an experience...we had to get tags for our bikes, but keep them with us.  Then, everyone jumps in one long line and gets a seat assignment randomly on the way to board.  You just walk right out onto the tracks to get on the train - no security screening or anything!  So different from hopping on an airplane!  We had to walk our bikes back to the baggage car at the end of the train, lift them up to the attendant on the train, and then they hang them for you in the car.  We found our seats, and settled in for a 3.5 hour ride to Seattle.  There were actually several other touring cyclists boarding the train with us.  A couple of them asked where we had come from, and were impressed when we told them Virginia.

The scenery on the way up was beautiful - lakes, mountains, and forests the whole way.  We dined in the bistro car on the best of expensive microwaveable fare (cheeseburger and cheese pizza).  Mel watched Friends on her iPad while I watched Paranormal Activity 3 via Netflix on my phone (she doesn't enjoy scary movies, so I decided to work that one in while I was watching alone!).  After several short stops - they barely come to a complete stop in some of the smaller towns along the way - we were unloading in Seattle!

We have been blessed with some great friends in Seattle, and two of them, Susan and Cathy, were waiting at the station to pick us up!  We loaded our bikes and bags into their cars, and headed to a late dinner at Denny's, since it was about the only thing still open at 11pm!  Susan and Cathy also graciously let us stay in their guest room for a few days - we couldn't be more thankful!

We had finally arrived in the city where we would spend our last couple of weeks of this journey.  The Seattle area really feels like home to us, so it was comforting to be there after living as nomads for 3 months!

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