The Coast Starlight


To take up the story from last night, the train was an hour behind schedule.  This allowed me to be sitting on the floor of the Oakland Amtrak station when I received the phenomenal news of Barack Obama’s reelection as a simple one-line blog post:  Obama Re-Elected.  I missed the fanfare, the play-by-play, the sportscaster-fanboy-skeptic drivel of the news networks.  Just a calm piece of news. A second term.  Four more years of right wing extremist politics averted.  Whew.

So I slept well on the train.  Riding overnight in the coach section, I’d learned to curl up across the two seats in a fetal like position.  It seemed I hadn’t slept well in days, for whenever I woke on the train, I would lay down and fall to sleep again, even after sunrise this morning.  I was fortunate enough to be awake to see an amazing view of Mount Shasta as we passed at about 630am.  Then back to sleep.

Somewhere midmorning I woke for good, to the giggles, bickering and overall excellent parenting of four small children in the seats ahead, traveling alone with their mother.  I think my brothers and I would’ve made much more of a ruckus.

Over the Cascades then down into the valley.  Clouds darkened the sky.  When I saw rain on the windows at Albany, I knew I was home.  Almost.  I stayed on the train this time, heading to Portland to visit my family and stretch out the bicycling a couple more days. The Portland skyline appeared, silhouetting the setting sun.  I reassembled my bike – simply reattaching pedals and straightening the handlebars – while chatting with another traveler about to fly to Costa Rico for a bicycle tour.

I rolled into the chilly evening, a full 30 degrees lower than when I boarded the train.  I was glad to have a few more days to settle into Oregon, before returning to the drama and work of running my Corvallis life.  Many things to contemplate, relationships to resume, decisions to make.


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