We arrived at the San Diego train station at 6 am and got on board to take the commuter to L.A.
Once there we were treated special as the had a small area for those who had sleeping berths. We could drink all the coffee or juice we wanted and could get drunk at the bar if we wanted to (it was a thought but it was 10am). The conductor escorted us to the train and the Starlight adventure began.
Now mind you our berth was as big as a closet with our chair converting into bed And a big picture window and with a bunk above. (Guess who got the bunk above)?
After settling in we explored. We found the lounge car that had a 1950's motif. It was wonderful as we could sit in lounge chairs and look out the large picture windows and watch the California coast and the Cascade mountains (as I drank wine, yes, I brought 2 of my own bottles and a nice wine glass. I come prepared!!).
But first things first. I signed up for the wine tasting in the afternoon. And met two of my new friends who became part of my wine drinking posse, Pete and Kevin. What fun they were, Pete had taken this particular Starlight train about 50 times and Kevin rode it back and forth to San Fransisco. They were great wine drinking partners as they taught me what legs and lights are as far as the tasting of wine goes. (I do not care about all the Pertinatious baloney concerning wine , is it smoky, is it fruity etc. etc. I just like it if it tastes good)!!! And these were California/Oregon wines we tasted which were just so so but what could I expect at $5.00 bucks.
But these guys made the wine tasting fun!!! Oh and my husband can't stand wine or even drinking so I make up for him..
Anyway since I brought 2 bottles of my own wine I was completely supplied for the two days on the train to Portland, from the afternoon to the evenings I stayed rather happy. And yes I shared my wine with my new pals. So you see I am not a complete lush!!
The food on the train is really yummy from Steak to Pasta, and a nice breakfast and lunch too. It all comes included with having a berth.
At night time though when sleeping time came what another adventure. Of course hubby got the bottom bed and I rolled up into the top bunk (imagine a tubby middle aged chick trying to get to the top bunk after drinking with her buddys) which was more like a board. Of course you have to belt yourself in if you don't want to roll off. And I do mean belt yourself in as it's like a suitcase strap. I rolled back and forth in our little closet room. By 3 am I had enough and took the lap top to the lounge to play games.
On the next day it was more wine tasting and more of my good wine I had brought along. It was one big party all day long with all my new friends. Now imagine for two days I have sat in front of pictures windows watching the California Beach coast that the usual tourist will never see by car and going over the top of the Cascade Mountains. What made it so spectacular was we hit a snow storm in the Cascades. We watched the snow drift down and it was so exciting for us as my husband and I are desert rats.
We finally got into Portland at 8pm (about 5 hours late but who was counting). Although let me tell you I was happy happy happy after being at the wine tasting ect. We found our Victorian house we were staying in and it was so wonderful as we stayed in the attic apartment and it was all angles and wonderful views. And now the adventure in Portland began.
We stayed in an Area Called the Hawthorne district. It's blocks and blocks of painted ladies.
Not only that we had a spectacular park one block away. Everyday we took long walks and I took pictures of houses. And if you go down a few streets wonderful little stores with local cheeses and wines. Although I am an idiot as I was so into the tipping scene that when the man who was allowing the tasting of wines finished I dropped a tip into the bucket. Yes, you guessed it the spitting bucket. Talk about feeling like a hick!!! Poor guy fished it out and said he'd dry it off.
But I wanted to see the country side and if it meant tasting wine Yahoo.... So I called Eco Tours and they came to the door and picked me up. My new buddies were some ladies that were teachers and a doc. They were my wine tasting buddies for the day.
We were so fortunate as the sun was shinning. The tour consisted of award-winning Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling wines while our driver guided us through the rolling hills of the picturesque Williamette Valley.We went to four wineries and saw the step-by-step tour of the wine-making process. (Think of I love Lucy but much more upscale). This was a blast even if I had a cold. It was a day of slugging down cough syrup followed by chasers of wine.
It took me all day but I finally found a Chardonnay I loved and had to buy it...
(Oh and again hubby hates wine so it was just me on the tour)
Anyway I arrived back at the victorian about 7pm that night. The happy part was the hubby had made a whole Mexican dinner for the daughter in law, baby, son and the other in laws. So
I pleasantly in a wine haze met the new in laws and saw the new grand baby . Thank goodness for husbands who can cook and entertain without the wife...
Later in the week we went on another tour of down town Portland. I have to say this city has it pulled together. Not only is it a promoter of being green it is so organized and completely artistic. Everywhere you look there is an art piece on the streets or side walks. Many walk, bike, or take the public transportation. Many do not own cars and the city provides for that. They have key cars. You go on line reserve a car in the downtown area and you are given a code. You can rent it for a couple of hours. The car is filled with gas. And you can go off and take care of those everyday necessities such as going to Wal-Mart for toilet paper or groceries if need be.
I would love to live in this city but of course I would have to be willing to live with rain for 7 months solid. Not sure if I am ready for that.
Anyway we had a spectacular time all week. Then it was time to get back on the train and start the process of going to wine tastings for the next two days and being spoiled with great service.
I love Oregon and I love riding the Starlight Train it's the only way to travel if you like traveling stress free and have lots of time to enjoy life.