Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"The Trip That Never Ended"

Waiting and waiting and waiting at the train station!
 Bob and I had been planning a trip to the Northwest to visit Marianne's family for Thanksgiving for months.  He had found a good deal on plane tickets to Seattle and got them probably some time in July.  We were to leave on the Monday before Thanksgiving from Denver.  As the day approached, the snows began to come and soon we were "snowed in".  No worries for us, we have the Argo that will get us out to Harvat's and they keep the road open from there!  The morning arrived.  It was snowing and blowing and we had received about 1 foot of new snow!  No problem, at 9 AM we chugged on out on the Argo and took the 4 wheel drive pick-up down the driveway where Harvats were feeding their cattle.  A bit bumpy but not bad.  By the time we got to highway 14, after driving on a sheet of ice for 8 or 10 miles, the road was patchy but drivable. 

We got to town and had to get our car from Jack's Auto Parts where they had put on new snow tires for our drive down to Denver.  Whoa! what's this?  The car is dead!  No juice at all.  Battery is dead as a doornail!  Bob's not taking any chances so he gets David to put in a new battery.  Luckily we are not quite ready to start sweating the timing for catching our flight!  It doesn't go out until 8:30 PM but with all the talk about body searches and X-rays we wanted to be there plenty early!  Finally about 11 AM we were ready to leave Walden! 

The drive from town to Gould went really well and then we hit ice again.  I figured we'd have it until we got over the top of Cameron and maybe down to Kinnekinick.  But that was not to be!  30 miles an hour all the way up and then down the Poudre until after the waterworks clear at the bottom of the canyon!  Time was now slipping away!  Fortunately the weather was gorgeous in Ft. Collins and Denver so the rest of the drive went really well.  We got to the airport and steeled ourselves for the "invasive" procedures being used at airport security.  To our surprise it was the same as ever.  We were in security for maybe 30 minutes and in that whole time I saw one man go into the X-ray booth and did not see anyone pulled out for a body search!  What a let down.  I thought everyone had to do one or the other!  I secretly hoped to be X-rayed to see if they could see my lapband.  I figured if they saw it they may have to pat me down but if they didn't it was a useless procedure since I could have had any kind of plastic hidden and it wouldn't show up!  Anyway we breezed through and were on our way. 

When we checked in they told us our flight was going to be about 1/2 hour late but that is nothing out of the ordinary.  We had made such good time through the airport we had a long wait in front of us.  We had a leisurely dinner and did some people watching and then went down to our gate.  By this time our flight had been pushed back to an hour late.  Not a problem.  I got out my Kindle and started a new book.  By the time it got to be 2 hours late, I called Marianne.  She had just walked in to her house and heard on the news that Sea-Tac  was closed.  A plane had gone off the runway and they didn't know when it would reopen.  Meanwhile the announcements on our end were not encouraging either.  For awhile we were not sure about whether they would cancel the flight or not!  Marianne called back to say the airport was open again but the highways were impassable so she got a room for us near the airport and train reservations up to Mt. Vernon for 7 AM the next morning.  Time went on and still they were pushing back the flight.  It was now tentatively set for 12:20 AM but could not leave until the tower in Sea-tac gave the go ahead!  I decided 7 AM was not going to work for the train so called to change our reservations to 6:40 PM (the only other time available).  Finally we got the go ahead and were off to Seattle. 

At 3 AM we got our luggage and headed out to get a shuttle to our hotel.  The wind was howling and there was lots of snow for Seattle!  We had to wait outside for the shuttle but finally it came and we made it to our hotel without a problem!

The next day we asked how to get to the train station in downtown Seattle.  They recommended getting a towncar for the trip since the roads were still very icy and traffic was not moving that well.  It turned out to be a 4 wheel drive SUV thank goodness with a great driver!  He avoided going on I-5 and after picking up another man at some federal building on the way to downtown we got to the train station.  This driver actually offered to drive us up to Seattle University to pick up Brendin, but he was walking and we didn't know what his route was.  Brendin had warned us NOT to go up to his school since it is on steep hills and he had seen a bus wipe out a block of parked cars as it slid down the hill!  The driver gave us a discount because we had another passenger with us so we only paid half price!!!

The historic Seattle train station.  Notice the tile floors and old benches.
The train station was a surprise!  We got there about 12:30 in the afternoon and were planning on meeting Brendin there since he was also taking the train up with us.  It was bitter cold and this station in the heart of Seattle did not even have a

the ceiling and windows are old.  I hope they preserve the character of this old building!
coffee kiosk let alone a coffee shop!  It is an historic building with restoration plans.  I took some pictures but you can not imagine what an antique place this is!
Brendin arrived and we had to walk a couple blocks in the bitter cold (I didn't even bring a hat or scarf with me!) to find somewhere to get some lunch and a nice hot coffee for me!!!!  We got back to the train station and still had several hours to kill. Bob just wanted to rest since we had such a late night so Brendin and I decided to explore a little.
The only entrance to the station which is under renovations.  Hopefully there is a coffee shop in the plans.  Notice the floor in this part of the station.

We walked up the hill a block or so and found this Japanese market.  It had a huge food court with sushi and all kinds of Japanese foods!  Too bad we didn't go that way for lunch!  The market was kind of like a Japanese Walmart with all kinds of items plus a huge grocery store.  Prices were in yen as well as USD and the selections were great!  Seaweed, octapus, all kinds of fresh produce I have no idea what was, regular grocery items with Japanese labels, Mexican foods with Japanese labels and lots and lots of rice and soy products.
This display caught our attention!

  We wandered up and down aisles just looking at all the candies and other exotic foods.  The candy especially intrigued me since when we were kids, my dad used to bring some Japanese men home for dinner from his work.  They always brought us candy made from seaweed.  I think Mom put it away and never let us eat it but we would sneak into the linen closet where it was hidden and look at it.  We spent a couple hours there looking at food, rice cookers, chopsticks,  dishes, children's toys and much, much more.  By then it was getting dark so we headed back to the train station.

Go for it Brendin!  We didn't know how many yen it cost to get a nice drink of Sweat.

 It was beginning to get crowded in the station and there weren't 3 seats together.  Several trains were getting ready to leave, but alas, they were all running late!  Very late!  Only the local Sounder from Seattle to Tacoma was still running!  Apparently, it was so cold that the switches were freezing and trains were being held up all over.  They had to dig out the switches, thaw them and then replace them.  Then the freight trains had precedence so the passenger ones had to wait! People were going up to that food court and bringing back wonderful smelling stir fry.  The train people were handing out free water and snacks sort of like airplane snacks!

Still waiting!

Finally, after watching all the other passenger trains pull out 2-3 hours late, our train (which had been sitting down at Boeing Field just a few miles from the station and still in the middle of Seattle) pulled in 2 1/2  hours late!!!!  We finally were on the train, only to find out they had sold our seats twice!  Brendin and I found seats nearby, but Bob and a nice lady we had become friends with at the station were taken to the diner--but it was full--so they found seats in a car that is kind of equivalent to first class on an airplane.

The next morning Harley and Shadow enjoy the snow in the back yard.
We pulled in to Mt. Vernon at 10:30PM and Marianne was there to pick us up.  We were home a little before 11.  Almost 24 hours after we were supposed to arrive!  A very long and exhausting trip!

The next morning in Burlington.  Snow is unusual at this time of year!

Pat's BBQ set up in the side yard.

The dogs on a snowy patio.


  1. wow... so did Brendin buy the sweat drink?

    would have loved to have seen the train station and Japanese store with you.

  2. During this time I was in Buffalo, NY and missed all this snow. What an adventure you had!

    Big Gabby

  3. Wow, that is craziness!!!!! I remember Mom telling me about this, but now I have the whole crazy story with pictures. Sounds like you had quite the adventure. I can't wait to see you guys for Christmas. I hope my trip there isn't as eventful as your trip for Thanksgiving was. Love ya and see you in less than 2 weeks, YEAY!!!!

  4. Kathi--no we refrained! both of us didn't have that much money with us to even get some sushi or stir fry and noodles!
    Big Gaby--I'm really sorry we didn't get to see you. Maybe sometime when we are there in summer.....
    Erin--We're looking forward to seeing you too! We'll send good weather vibes your way!