I have become a train lover.
It took a bit of prodding and pulling, but by the end it happened.
The train I took from San Francisco heading to Seattle left at 9pm. It arrived the next evening at 7:30.
And I didn’t get the sleeper cabin. [Gasp!] Yes, I actually planned to not shower. Sue me. Wait, don’t. Garage sale season is coming up and I need the money.
I sat at the station like an excited little girl waiting patiently with arms crossed around my luggage (wishing it were a carpet bag). When I heard the announcement of the trains arrival, I of course was the first standing on the platform.
Off came a few passengers for a smoke break and on came me. I found my seat and sat down eager for what, I didn’t know.
It didn’t take long before I did. About an hour into trip, the train came to a halt. I stopped watching the girl in front of me making a move on the guy sitting across the aisle, and looked out the window.
A man was dragged off the train, thrown on the ground and pinned there by several policeman. We later found out he had carried weapons in his baggage.
The flirt in front of me finally made the move of all moves and boy accepted. They ended up leaning against each other for a snooze.
I had no one.
So I scrunched up in my seats and tried to make the best of it. A couple hours after I finally quit hearing slurping sounds from seats 22 A&B and started dreaming, the shouting started.
“You B@$*&#! You stupid F&*$)#& B*$&*!! ”
I sat up to watch the verbal form of the wood chipping scene in Fargo unfold. Man, it was bad. And scary.
The train attendants pulled the man down to the first floor. Then we heard them call the sheriff in the next town over to meet the train in ten minutes.
As the train slowed down in the middle of a pasture, out walked an old-fashioned looking sheriff, straight out of 1888. Or maybe I was still dreaming. All I know was that it felt surreal at 3am.
Off they dragged guy #2 and drove him away.
I tried to convince myself that this was the reason I didn’t want the sleeping cabin. But when I went back to my scrunched position I immediately disagreed.
But then I woke up to this: a sunrise in amongst Oregon countryside, complete with smudge marks on the glass. I immediately smiled and pretended I was camping. It was lovely.
I was still tired.
Over the speakers, they announced that tour guides would be boarding the train through a particular part of the trip.
I tripped my way up to the cabin and listened for a good hour or so. The two ladies above were the guides and they were adorable.
We passed through some great scenery and even saw a bald eagle dip down to a lake and then back into the sky. Everyone gasped and pointed. It was fun.
Later I saw another bald eagle in a field and yelled “look!” (completely out of nowhere too. I normally don’t make a sound in a group of strangers when I’m by myself.)
So I yelled “Look!” A group of people laughed and said that it was a cardboard cut-out. And couldn’t I tell that it was at least 10 feet tall?
I laughed. Then cried. It was embarrassing.
But the majority of the time, I sat quietly watching the different scenes go by. I knitted a bit. And read too.
I hardly talked though. And, to me, that was a wonderful experience. Watching people and countryside in silence…. laughing to myself, soaking it all in.
I would love to do it again. Maybe next time with a sleeper cabin. And also a friend.