Our cruise to Alaska was setting sail from Seattle, Washington. So we looked into many ways of getting there and we decided that we would take the Amtrak train up there and back. Not only had I heard that it is a beautiful route but it was alot cheaper and I thought it would be quite an adventure. Well we were not disappointed, it was definitely an adventure but not in the way I was thinking!
The trip up there was long (32 hours) but it was so nice to be able to catch the train right here in Simi and we actually had alot of fun. We played games, enjoyed one anothers company and enjoyed the scenery. It was hard to sleep on the train (no we did not get a sleeper car) but other than that it really wasn't that bad, they even had a movie theatre on board! We brought our own food on because the dining on board cost too much especially for what you got. Everything went fine and we even arrived to Seattle an hour early so that was nice.
Well after being pampered on the cruise ship we really weren't looking forward to the ride home on the train but thought, "No problem, we will survive, it wasn't that bad." We did not have food packed for the ride home though because we went right from the cruise ship to the train station so we were not as prepared. But we had been eating like royalty for a week so it was OK not to eat much and if we had to we could eat in the dining cart. We made the train on time but right away we noticed a different calibre of people. There were some very interesting characters on our train, it was quite the contrast from the train ride up. We were also informed when we headed towards the movie theatre that we were not allowed in there or the parlor because we were Coach passengers and not sleeping car passengers. They didn't tell us that on the way up so that kind of was a bummer. Already the trip back home was starting off wrong!
We had boarded the train in Seattle at 9:45am and at 2:00am the next morning Adam is awakened by a girl running down the aisle with blood all over her hands and arms yelling "He's been stabbed!" Freaky!! He wakes me up and we find out that someone has been stabbed in the car right behind us! Now right at first I start thinking of all the people who could have done it because believe me there were plenty of interesting characters on board. Apparently the guy stabbed this other man 4 times in the back and then pulled the emergency brake and fled the train into the middle of the wilderness somewhere in Oregon. Yikes! So of course by now everything is a buzz in the train as we are stuck on the tracks waiting for the ambulance and the policemen. In fact we were stuck on the tracks for three hours while the police investigated and helicopters are looking for the criminal. It was found out that he had just gotten out of prison and I had actually tried to talk to him in the snack bar. To say the least he wasn't talkative back. The worst thing, besides the stabbed victim, is that they checked the criminals carry on baggage and found that he had a loaded weapon packed in it! It could have been so much worse! We feel so blessed that we were being watched over that night. They are not sure of the motive but they did catch the guy in the woods and the man who was stabbed was taken to the hospital and we found out that he would survive. Very scary to say the least.
As the trip continued the ride just got more interesting. Some scary girl got on in Northern California and she ended up stealing money and Ipods from other passengers on the train and she was arrested at the next stop by the police who were waiting for her. We found out that she was on parole so she was very upset about being caught. I think we might have been the only ones there that did not have a record! We did meet some great people that we bonded with over the whole experience. A great family from Long Beach (who had a sleeper car) smuggled food from the dining room for us and brought magazines back to me to read the time away and there was also Bill "Lumberjack man" who served everyone food that the train provided free to all of us...finally. He stepped up because the workers on the train didn't and served up hot plates of stew and rice to all of us. We just all had to sit back and laugh at the whole crazy situation. It was wild!!
So our train was running behind schedule and I guess when that happens it just keeps getting more behind because freight trains have priority. It was a very loooooong trip! We ended up being on the train for over 40 hours....9 hours late!!! To say the least we had our adventure on Amtrak and we will never be taking the train again! But it was an adventure and one that the boys will never forget. In fact our favorite line from the train trip home was when Matthew woke up in the morning on the train we asked him how he slept and he replied, "After the stabbing I slept like a baby!" Who knew he would ever be saying those words - too funny!
We did call Amtrak and complained about the security (or lack of) issues and also the poor way they handled the crisis, so to apologize they are sending us vouchers for a future train ride. Great?!?!?