Day Three

After I did some writing yesterday, Richard and I continued to stare out the train window. The sites continued to entertain us though probably not to the point of being blog-worthy. We went to dinner and then made up our small beds in our roomette. They may have been small but they were much better than the alternative which was sleeping in a train seat in the coach car. I actually had a fairly decent sleep even though Richard’s alarm went off at 4 AM. I guess he forgot to shut it off from the day before! He toddled off to the observation car to watch the sun rise and I rolled over for another couple of hours of sleep!!

Our train dropped us off at Emeryville at about 8:30. We took a bus into San Francisco via the Bay Street bridge. Now that’s a bridge!! 4.5 miles long!! We definitely looked like tourists as we were oohing and aahing out the bus window! As we had some time to kill before we got into our BNB we went to Pier 39 aka Fisherman’s Wharf. Our first stop was the sea lions – 92 were counted lying on the docks this morning. Some were sleeping and some were playing/fighting and throwing each other off the dock into the water. It kept us amused for some time. We wandered around Pier seeing the shops, had some coffee and went for lunch.

We took our first Uber ever to our BNB. I chose the ride pool option as it was the cheapest and we were in no rush. What a great service!! We picked up and dropped off two other people at two seperate locations along the route. It gave us a chance to see more of the city while saving a few bucks. We feel that we will probably use Uber for much of our time in San Fran.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the people that we have met so far on our journey. In the dining car on the train, you are seated with other people to conserve space and time. At all three meals we met wonderful couples. Yesterday’s lunch was with Connie and Bob from Freeport, CA. They gave us many tips on what to see and do while in the Bay area. Supper was with Ro and Andy from Denver, CO. They were fun loving and we had a very lovely evening with them. Andy used to live in LA so he regaled us with tales of his youth in the big city and what would be great places for us to see. They had also been to Tanzania, Africa on a mission trip which of course was super interesting to us. Breakfast was spent with Jenni and Graham from Australia. Now how lucky can we get!?! They offered a few suggestion on what to see while there but thought that our itinerary looked pretty full already. They even gave us their email address in case we had any other questions. It is people like all of the above that make it so memorable.

As I finish up this post, Richard is looking up places to eat and people to meet before the day is over. Can’t wait for the rest of the adventure to roll out!!

 

Day Two

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So, we’re on the train to San Francisco. Unfortunately, there is no WIFI so this post will happen once we are already in San Fran. Regardless, a few things to update you all on before I completely forget them.

 

We left Hinton yesterday morning at about 7:45. Hilary, Dane and Norah drove us to the airport in Edmonton to catch our  flight to Vancouver. After we checked in Richard realized that he forgot his knee brace in the car. Now, anyone that knows our situation, knows that we are really going to be messed up if he does not have his knee brace. Thankfully, the kids had stopped at Tim Horton’s on the way out of the airport so they were able to return with the knee brace. Whew!!  During all of this kuffuffle, Richard’s water bottle got lost. Down one water bottle and we are not even out of the gate!! Uneventful flight to Vancouver. We had a few hours to kill until we could get into our Air BNB so decided to go to Granville Island. Took the Skytrain and a bus and managed to find our way there. Beautiful spot!! Took a water taxi to the Olympic Village which was conveniently close to our BNB. Walked the rest of the way there.

 

Now the walk was only about 20 minutes but with backpacks that seem to weigh 100 lbs after an afternoon of carrying them around, we were very happy to find the BNB and put our feet up.

 

Just a word about BNB’s in general. For most of this adventure, we have opted to use Air BNB for our accomodation. We used one last year when we went to New York and it worked out well. The price is comparable (or better) than a hostel and you usually have more privacy as well. If you are doing any travelling, and enjoy interacting with people, I would recommend this option.  

 

We caught a bus this morning at 5:30 that took us over the border and to the train station in Seattle. And now, here we are on the Amtrak train to San Fran. As we will be on the train for almost 24 hours, we decided to upgrade and get a sleeper car (aka roomette). This has proven to be a very nice option. The seats are comfortable, we get to make up beds for the night and best of all, our meals are free!!!!!

 

We have never been on a train before but are finding it very pleasant. It is interesting to see the different vegetation as we move south. Washington has very large evergreen trees which seem to be everywhere. Oregon has more agriculture (though on a much smaller scale than Manitoba) and sand like soil. It appears that most of the harvest has been done though there are many corn fields that are no further along than in Manitoba. Maybe, a second crop? With no WIFI, I find that I am writing my self notes of things to look up later. Like, what is significance of Mt. Vernon, Washington? Who settled Vancouver, Washington? How big is Portland, Oregon? How did Salem, Oregon get its name? What movie was Eugene, Oregon featured in?

 

And our funny story for the day –  we are now down another two water bottles – making three in total. It turns out that my last minute switch in water bottles was not successful as the lid kept coming off. After dropping a full bottle twice, I decided that it was ready for the trash. Bottle number two – gone. So, I bought us each a couple of 1 L plastic bottles at the bus station this morning with the plan to refill them until we get to someplace that we can buy a couple more permanent ones. However, Richard’s bottle rolled off the bus seat in Seattle all the way to the front. One of the passengers picked it up and put it in his backpack. So, bottle number three….gone. Sigh.