I’m at the end of my second day of travel on the Coast Starlight. It’s been a lovely ride, a great way to begin this adventure. The sounds of a train are eerily familiar from experience, but also from books read to us as children -- the sound of the horn saying “make way, make way.” The metal- on- metal sound of the brakes coming into a station. The familiar voice of the conductor with his “all aboard!” Traveling down here along the California coastline has been a spectacular way to re-introduce myself to the American vistas we so often overlook. There’s actually time to do that.
The other pleasant disscovery was the neighborly ways of fellow travelers of a wide variety of ages, colors and hometowns. On this train there is an old-fashioned, restored “parlor car,” with comfortable swivel seats and big windows for sitting, reading, and then conversing usually when a spectacular view emerges.
Though we have had a couple of delays, we came in early to the Art Deco Union Station in Los Angeles this evening. I’m spending the night at the historic Millenium Biltmore hotel, which is spectacular. Late tomorrow afternoon after lunching with a former colleague and good friend, I'll board the train for an overnight ride to for Santa Fe.Trees in Washington and Oregon are especially lush this time of year. This is near Olympia and the Cheetwoot peninsula, the black bear place, according to Coastal Salish.