22 May

My journey along the Pacific coast took place aboard the Coast Starlight service, the entire journey taking roughly 34 hours and 50 minutes at a distance travelled of 1,377 miles. 

Double-decked superliner cars are pulled by 2 x General Electric DC Locomotive capable of 70 Miles per hour but travelling at an average of 40 Miles per hour throughout the long journey to Seattle. 

After the coastal town of Santa Barbara, the train route followed the windings of the Pacific coastline, so I made a special effort to visit the observation car for a more scenic view. 

While my roomette faced the landside of the car, meaning it should have been possible to catch a glimpse of Vandenburg Air Force base from where Elon Musk launches his Space X shuttles. Unfortunately, the early part of the morning was overcast, so that visibility in this regard was poor. 

By the time we reached Oakland and Emeryville the sun was already setting on the first of two days above the Coast Starlight and so I turned in for the night expecting to see much more colourful scenery when I awoke to see the train cross the border into Oregon. From my window in the roomette, I watched the green mountains and evergreens give way to large pine forests as Oregon gave way to Washington State and the imposing structure of Mount Hood. 

Snow lay on the ground and it provided quite a seasonal contrast. Multiple announcements alerting passengers to the sights not to be missed were interspersed by the overly enthusiastic tannoy announcements of the Amtrak staff, especially the woman running the cafe. In fact her speeches were so memorable, I have to share them with my readers.

Fact is she came on the tannoy system like a human hurricane saying “Good Morning, good morning yawl. My name is Jackie and I am your Judy on Duty here in the cafe located on the lower deck of the observation car. I am open and ready to serve you. So what are you waiting for? An invitation? If you are, then this is it. Please be careful though my darling love bugs, use the hand rails to get down here safe and sound. We don”t want no accidents, there is nowhere for the helicopter to land, folks! So come on down and see your Judy on Duty. Come down to see me, I got snacks, drinks and something a little stronger if you want it. Hurry on down cos I ain’t gonna be open for long. When I go on break, that”s it, so don’t come to the cafe when I”m on my break, cos I ain”t gonna be there!. This is Jackie, your Judy on Duty reminding you all that the cafe is open and I am ready and waiting for ya.”

Honestly, I have no idea what this woman was on but this account of one of her speeches hardly does justice to this little bundle of energy which I then encountered a little later in the cafe. She seemed to have a boundless supply of it whenever she was talking with and taking and fulfilling the passengers” requests. …

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