An Introduction to Portland

Um. What did I say, “de ja vu all over again”? No sooner had I finished typing the blog this morning and uploading it, courtesy of the free WiFi on Amtrak’s Cascades train, than we ground to a halt. At a halt we resolutely remained for an hour. The explanation was that the Chambers Creek Drawbridge at Chambers Bay, south of Tacoma, had failed. I’m pretty sure British Rail never came up with the “The Drawbridge Has Failed” excuse? Bottom line was that the scheduled 15:05 arrival at Portland was shot to pieces. Turned out to be 16:20.

Castle Rock

Read all about it….

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A Day in Seattle

Having used Saturday to familiarise myself with the city a little and get organised, I was able to put Sunday to good use. Another lovely sunny (and in the afternoon clear blue sky) day in Seattle. It’s a city with a reputation for wet weather, so I’m really pleased to have seen it in such fine conditions.

Seattle Waterfront

I’ll try and make this narrative interesting, but really it consists of me walking about and, later, drinking beer. Not sure how riveting I can make it…

[Incidentally, I’m getting an increasing number of notifications of folks who I don’t know ‘following’ this blog. I assume these are people picking up on keyword searches for their home town and the like. Really good to have you along guys and I hope my waffle is worth your attention. Please understand, however, that my observations are really only aimed at myself and my friends & family. In other words, it’s all about context 🙂  ]

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Through OR into WA

I think it is fair to describe the journey on the Coast Starlight as a series of metaphorical ups and downs. The problem was that the further into the journey, or more precisely, the longer it lasted, there were many more downs than ups. Still, I won’t go on about it and if you’re interested in the gory details, I’ve pasted a copy of my complaint to Amtrak at the bottom of this post. I await their response. There are photos of the derailment which caused it all here and if you care to Google “Dunsmuir derailment” you’ll find a series of links including a local tv report.

Williamette River rail bridge

Having promised not to go on about the bad parts, here are the good parts…

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Not quite as things should be

Where to begin?

I’m typing this in the middle of nowhere in Northern California. If you look on a map for a huge green splurge which encompasses the Plumas National Forest and the Lassen National Forest, somewhere between Quincy and Greenville — that’s where I am. And am going to be, so we’re told, for at least another hour. Oh, and it is bloody beautiful.


Let me begin at the beginning…

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LA Wednesday

I take my leave of Los Angeles tomorrow and, to be brutally honest, I don’t think I will be sorry. The city has done me no harm, nor do I expect it to in the 14 hours or so I plan to remain in it. However, I find it very hard to bring any truly unmissable features about the place to mind. I will happily accept the mantra that you get out what you put in, and maybe I didn’t try hard enough. The trouble is that for me, I never felt able to relax anywhere outside the hotel room — especially not while having responsibility for a car (not just behind the wheel, either).

It goes without saying that I’m glad I’ve had a couple of days here, but I’m ready to move on again.

Hollywood Sign

Let me tell you about my day…

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