Train Trip Solana Beach to Salem

My Oregon Train Adventure

I was going to Oregon for my brother Tom’s memorial service. I decided to take the train to avoid the insult to my fourth amendment rights by the Tiny Soldier Army. I don’t really want to x-rayed or fondled by a stranger, that happens to be an employee of the federal government. Also, I have plans to do a bicycle trip down the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route , perhaps as early as this fall, and I plan to take my bike up on the train. So this was an opportunity to find out what it was like to ride the train long distance. I didn’t get a sleeping birth, because of the additional fees. One thing I learned on the trip, from other passengers, is that along with your sleeping quarters, you get you meals, at no extra charge.

Pacific Surfliner

Pacific Surfliner

I rode the Pacific Surfliner to Union Station in Los Angeles and then boarded the Coast Starlight in Los Angeles going to Salem, Oregon.

Union Station Los Angeles

Union Station Los Angeles

Union Station is an amazing place. There must be 20 tracks there, with both local metro rail as well as Amtrak coming and going.It opened in 1939 and Union Station was partially designed by the father and son team of John Parkinson and Donald B. Parkinson.

Quoting Wikipedia: “Enclosed garden patios are on either side of the waiting room, and passengers exiting the trains were originally directed through the southern garden. The lower part of the interior walls is covered in travertine marble, and the upper part is covered with an early form of acoustical tile. The floor in the large rooms is terra cotta tile with a central strip of inlaid marble (including travertine, somewhat unusual in floors since it is soft).”

Front of Union Station

Front of Union Station

Seating in Union Station

Seating in Union Station

Train travel is very much different than any other kind of traveling I’ve done. You have the opportunity to meet a lot of different people from all walks of life. My observation is that the passengers were either quite young, or seniors. I guess middle aged people don’t have enough time to travel by train. After all, I could have been in Oregon in about 3 hours by plane.  But, for me it’s the voyage more than the destination.

Klamath Lake with Mount Shasta

Klamath Lake with Mount Shasta

Train travel is social. With so much time and lounge cars and dining cars, there’s plenty of time to get to know new people. One woman said to me, you could make a movie about the stories of people on the train. I think it’s true.

Coast Starlight window view

Coast Starlight window view

The scenery was wonderful. From the lounge / observation car you get a great view of all the scenary. And it’s unique to the train. Many parts of the track are not near any roads.  At Klamath Falls a group of local people boarded the train, and proceeded to inform anyone willing to listen about the flora, fauna and history of the area between Klamath Falls and Eugene. It made the time pass quickly and it was a fascinating and informative presentation.

Train Track Switchbacks

Train Track Switchbacks

After I found my motel and got my bike assembled it was time to look for something to eat. I rode all over Salem and finally chose Moy’s Kitchen. It’s a small mom-n-pop restaurant, were dad cooks, mom waits tables and the children are running around, when there are no customers. It has a nice big foyer where I could stash my bike out of view of the street. The extra bonus was that the food was excellent. I had a stir fry of bean curd and vegetables with Szechwan sause. Yummy!

Moy's Kitchen Salem, Oregon

Moy's Kitchen Salem, Oregon

Sean came into the restaurant with his wife to have a beer. I heard him commenting about my bike when he came in, so I struck up a conversation with him. I gave him one of my Velorambler business cards and he put on those silly looking glasses to read it.

Sean

Sean

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