Zeke and I headed to Amtrak really early on Wednesday. We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to disassemble the bikes and Jen and Mike told us there was COFFEE and stuff around the station should we find ourselves with extra time.
We popped down there pretty quickly, only to find UNION station, not KING St Station. Through the kindness of strangers, we found out that King St Station is just smaller, and right after (in other words hidden by...) Union Station. We had about an hour and a half to get our boxes, pack the bikes and wait.
We started on Zeke's bike first. The thing that I was worried about was the pedals, because I didn't have a full on pedal wrench, I had a 15mm wrench from the hardware store. I had to leverage my weight onto the pedals but eventually I felt the sweet sweet turn of the wrench. YES. What ended up being a bigger deal was turning his handlebars. The screws were rusted and it was difficult to wedge my small multi tool under the bars to get good leverage. Eventually again I felt the sweet turn of the screw.
Zeke's bars were too tall for the bike box so we took his front wheel off. They don't recommend this and I did not need to do this on my bike. Zeke's bike just has those tall extensions on the side and wouldn't fit.
My bike was a breeze. Pedals off, taped 'em up. Took off the bars, turned them and hung them on the top tube. Wheeled it into the box and GLORY was mine.
I believe that we may have cheered and taped up the boxes. So much easier than flying!
We dragged all of our crap to the ticket counter and checked it, stood in line for the ticket taker people, then stood at the gate for the Sleeper cars.
We climbed aboard and met our attendant, whose name I unfortunately forgot and he gave me champagne. So rad. Welcome aboard for real.
Our little roomette was pretty cool. We had two comfy seats facing each other, a picture window and enough room to store our crap. There were bathrooms and a shower pretty close by, and coffee and juice and stuff upstairs.
I think that I just enjoyed the novelty of it for a while and hung out in the room. We had to place a dinner reservation, so we did read up on that stuff. There is a dining car and a parlor car on the Amtrak Coast Starlight. One had to place one's dinner order for the parlour car when the person came 'round, but all one has to do for the dinner car is make a time reservation. So civilized. All meals with the roomette are included.
Zeke started exploring immediately. I was relaxing and reading. It was really nice to have so much room to move around when I did get up to explore. The Parlour car had cool lounge-y seats, there was a car where you could hang out and get a good view. They had snacks, movies, drinks, a wine and cheese tasting, etc.
We had lunch with a Bay Area nerd couple, he was wearing a Utili kilt. She was a coder. You know who they are. We had fun talking about the Walking Dead and bikes. Our dinner companions were from LA, and they had taken the train to Seattle and were heading home. Breakfast was with an Australian couple who went to MONGOLIA last summer, of COURSE we talked about Ewan McGregor's the Long Way round. They were awesome.
Couple of notable things happened on the train. I started Ender's Game, which Zeke has read like 13 times. We went through the Cascades, which were beautiful. I got They Might Be Giant's End of the Tour stuck in my head and it never went away. Zeke had mixed feelings about the End of the Tour, and he was looking forward to planning his next adventure: riding the spine of the Sierras from Tecate Mexico to Sumas, WA. Let me just say I have already received an email asking me which part of the adventure I would like to attend. :)
Thinking about next year is challenging right now. The situation with my parents is RFC (really fucking complicated) and basically I was arriving Thursday morning on the train and leaving Thursday night for South Carolina. ugh.
Anyhoo we arrived in Emeryville and Zeke's dad and his younger brother came hurtling down the gangway in their fluorescent vests and carrying protest signs, I mean, climate change signs for Zeke. it was really cute.
We reassembled bikes and headed over to Zeke's house for COFFEE and second breakie. It was so nice to catch up with Joel, talk about the trip and meet Zeke's rats. Mary Curie and someone else. Zeke took off with his maps of the Sierras, at which point I headed home to start the second leg of the week.
I'm not sure that I can write about that part. My therapist thinks I'm still in shock about the whole thing.
The quick version is two weeks ago there was an incident and the police were called. My dad ended up in the Geriatric Psych Ward which ended up being a very good thing. The determination came down that my parents should separate. Fortunately they live in a great facility with Assisted and Independent apartments and arrangements were made. My brother and I showed up and did what was needed. Thankfully we have a lot of help. It will take a long time to process.