Vancouver, BC, 23-Sep-2012

We had the opportunity to purchase two-for-one Amtrak tickets, so Melody and I decided to make another trip to BC, Canada, this time to Vancouver. This makes the third vacation trip we've taken this fall, each for three or four nights. After having done long vacations the last few years, we chose to break it into smaller chunks.

As we were starting to think about what we were going to do on the trip, we were trying to take the weather into account. However, the forecast has been bouncing around between low 30's and mid 40's, no rain and a lot of rain. As of now, it looks like we'll come out OK as far as the weather is concerned.

However, we've been getting a lot of rain lately, enough to cause mudslides across the tracks between Seattle and Everett. It wasn't clear whether they'd be able to run the train or if they would substitute a bus. We arrived early (because of the way the bus worked out from home) and found out that they would bussing us to Everett where we'd board the train. They explained that the tracks would be opened at 9:30am, but in order for us to stay on time (we were supposed to leave Seattle at 7:40am) they deadheaded the train through the tracks at about 40mph.

The train had just arrived when we got to the Everett station and we were joined by a bus from the Edmunds station. We started north, but the ride was extremely bumpy. It was bumpy enough that Melody and I had trouble using our touch screens, and I had problems clicking on the right things on my laptop. They slowed down to about 35mph and took a look at the suspension in Stanwood. Having found nothing, we continued on towards Bellingham where they decided to load us back onto busses for the rest of the trip to Vancouver.

We waited on the train until the busses arrived at the Bellingham station, but our bus had to wait until the driver showed up. Once he was settled in, we once again started north.

Were we on the train, we would have gone through customs when we arrived at Vancouver. Since we were on a bus, we stopped at the border, got out of the bus, grabbed our luggage from under the bus, went through border control, put our bags back onto the bus, then got back on the road.

Everyone was relieved when we pulled into the Vancouver train station, about three hours after our scheduled arrival. Since we had planned on arriving in time to have lunch, we had gone through more of our snacks than we anticipated. Even though we were hungry, we hopped on the city bus to the hostel where we checked into our room then went out to find something to eat. We ended up eating an early dinner at a small Thai restaurant around the corner, which was quite good. Back to the hostel to drop off the leftovers, then out to get cash and do some shopping.

Back to the hostel again where we relaxed a bit and tried to get wireless working from the room, but it was extremely spotty. We headed out to a café to both get a snack and to go online, where I'm typing this.

I expect we won't stick around much longer (we have about a half hour of wireless access left) and go back to the hostel. Neither of us slept a lot last night (and we had to get up really early) so I expect we'll catch some sleep early, ready to go into tourist mode tomorrow.

Looking back on this trip, seems this has completed our means of travel for this fall. We've gone by plane, train, boat, bus, and car for various trips. Variety is the spice of life.