I’ve always had a soft spot for trains. There are certain markets in our country where true high-speed rail might make a ton of sense. DC-NYC-BOS is the one that gets talked about most, but I happen to think there are others. Making the political decisions on whether or not we want to foot the bill to make it happen is for others to figure out. Whether the train I’m on right now makes financial sense or not is for another blog. It made financial sense for my transportation options today, and I have to tell you that I’m enjoying the trip.


After an overnight at the beautiful Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle, MrsMJ and I made our way to Seattle’s King Street Station, a beautiful old school rail station. We had pre-purchased tickets online, and made our way to Amtrak’s kiosk to pick them up. Unlike the northeast regionals I’m accustomed to, you actually get a seat assignment for Amtrak’s Cascades train. We didn’t book business class seats (will next time, I think), so we got in the very long queue for a seat assignment in coach. Other than the line, and perhaps a 10 minute wait to get our seat assignments, I can’t complain. Seat assignments are not automated. They pull them off a sticker chart the old school airline way. 🙂 They also use that as an opportunity to verify your passport matches the name on the ticket. Soon enough, we were on our way.


Seating accommodations are quite comfortable in coach, with typical (for trains) 2 by 2 seating. Seats are leather, and plush, there’s at seat power (look way down low), and wi-fi. Amtrak’s wi-fi has been performing about as I remember during my last train journey so I am happy that brought my mi-fi along for the trip. The cafe car offers decent food, and I personally vouch for the breakfast sandwich.  Things are so comfortable on board the train that even LOL Elmo approves. LOL Elmo is on his way to Canada to meet his new best friend, Indy. Our 2-year old kicker of cancer’s ass nephew. Elmo says hi, and he’s ticklish.


So far, it’s been a great trip, and I’m really enjoying the train ride. It gives us an opportunity to relax and let someone else do the driving, get a bit of work done, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Cascades tip – If heading north, try and sit on the left side, and on the right when heading south. I wish we’d gotten to the station a little sooner. Nonetheless, there’s scenery on both sides of the train.


-MJ, July 4, 2014