The train ride between Sacramento and Portland felt like it would never end. We started off the leg by leaving Sacramento almost two hours later than scheduled (2:00 am instead of midnight…so, already a terrible time to be leaving, without the delay!). And instead of making up any of that time during the (scheduled-to-be) 15.5 hour ride, we actually lost another hour and ended up arriving in Portland at 6 pm instead of the scheduled 3:30 pm arrival.
Let’s be positive here for a moment, though: the views up through Oregon were magnificent! I posted some on my Instagram, but take a look:
We finished crossing through California overnight, and I woke up in snowy southern Oregon, where I camped out in the lounge car and treated myself to unlimited WiFi on my computer (via turning my phone into a mobile hotspot) for my birthday 🙂 The train wasn’t very crowded, so I was, for the first time, able to take over an entire booth in the observation car for the ride, and work on my computer while having the best view of the scenery out the windows as we passed by. I was also pleased that this train offered seat service for lunch, so I got my sandwich brought to me without having to go anywhere! It’s a nice convenience when you’re traveling alone- I always bring all of my things with me whenever I need to pick up food, which is inconvenient when I want to end up sitting back in the same place to eat! I didn’t have very glamorous birthday meals on the train (breakfast: leftover donut holes and coffee; lunch: a turkey BLT and potato chips and a very bad-tasting cookie), but it was enough to know that I’d…eventually…end up in Portland, a very intentionally-timed goal of this trip! It’s the farthest West point to which I’d travel- about 1 degree longitude further west than Sacramento.
That finally happened at 6 pm, which meant I’d missed wine hour at the fancy hotel I’d decided to treat myself to for my birthday. But even in spite of that, the hotel (Kimpton Hotel Monaco) was ah-mazing! They upgraded me from a queen room to a king suite for my birthday, and gave me a bottle of champagne, a slice of chocolate cake with strawberries, a bag of popcorn, and a birthday card in my room. On top of that, they decorated with birthday balloons and left a birthday card my parents had sent in advance. And that was all because it’s my birthday! (Since when does a hotel care? This is a first!) In addition to all of that, I borrowed a goldfish (yes, it’s a thing) to keep me company during my stay. His name was Alfredo. I don’t think he loved being my pet but I loved having living company for a few days.
And finally, I got a free gift from the hotel for remembering their “secret word” from social media…a flask of bourbon! They inundated me with alcohol at this hotel so much that I had to pass up the free glass of wine they offered me at check-in! 😉
After an entire day on the train and with all the delays this leg, I was utterly exhausted by the time I got up to my room, and the adrenaline rush from all the birthday surprises was only enough to keep me going for so long. But I wanted to treat myself to a birthday dinner! I’d spent some time on the way in doing research on restaurants I could splurge on, but in the end opted for a place within walking distance of my hotel (The Imperial) where I enjoyed a quick dinner of sweet and spicy fried chicken (without the bone!) and broccoli gratin (yes, I chose this =P ). Then it was back to the hotel to enjoy champagne and the rest of my birthday cake, and to sleep!