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I'm sitting on the Amtrak Cascades train on my way to Seattle. After all the flying I've been doing this year, it's really a night and day experience.
First off, I decided this morning that I'd rather take the train than drive up the freeway, again. It's a couple hundred miles each way and my patience for stupid drivers is steadily wearing thinner. Add the fact it's about two tanks of gas at 40 bucks a tank, plus wear and tear, and it just makes sense to take the train.
Choosing Sunday morning to book my travel would have been impossible with the airlines. But, I was able to get online, buy my ticket for a 3:00 train at 10 this morning.
Hell, with a plane, I'd practically have to be leaving for the airport at 10. Not so with the train; I got to the station with about 10 minutes to spare (which, really was cutting it close even for the train). I checked in, got my ticket in hand and walked on board.
The train is pretty full, but I've got a decent seat, a place to plug in my laptop, and I can drink my own beer (I had a couple beers in the car from a potluck last night). Granted, I still have to pack in my own Internet using the cell modem in my laptop, but I can use my cell modem! Hell, I can use my cell phone!
And, compared to the plane, it's quiet. The train tracks make a little rumbling noise, but nothing like the engines or the air whipping around a jet. And the view is really amazing -- serene, bucolic views of forests and pastureland, and (coming up in a bit) the Puget Sound. It's practically a spa day.
Oh, and the bathroom is HUGE. Well, at least the one in my car is. It's a handicap bathroom, but it's amazingly large. I had forgotten that I've actually changed my clothes in one of those (bike ride to the train, get out of spandex in the handicap toilet...). That's where they could set up the massage table if they wanted to complete the spa experience...
So, why, oh, why, do we not have more rail?