Saturday, September 6, 2008

Train from "b-e-e-p"!!!!


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?!?!?

12 comments:

Heather said...

Ok I am not going to say what first came to my mind when I read you took the Amtrak there and back. I am glad you survived and learned a valuable lesson. I am sure Alaska was worth it though. Even better that you are already looking back and laughing about it.

trevor said...

MURDER ON THE AMTRAK EXPRESS

Rachel said...

UNBELIEVABLE!

E. Rose said...

Wow--just like the frontier days. A real cowboy, rob the train, take no prisoners. ha ha -- that will be one to remember for sure!! Glad you are all safe. :)

Shand and Bry said...

Ok Pam... You're kidding right? I can't believe that! What a crazy adventure! I thought that stuff only happened in the movies... and the ghetto. haha! Wow! I'm glad you guys are ok.

McB's said...

HOLY COW your story is unbelieveable, in fact, I think you are making it all up it's crazy! J/K. Seriously, I wanted to take the train to CA since I don't fly but heck no, not after all that drama you had, FREAKY! Seriously, my mouth just dropped to the floor reading all this! The way you tell this story i was holding my breath...well done!

McB's said...

Ok so I had to tell Danny to come read this story and he's going along and all of a sudden he's like sucking in his breath and then he's cracking up. Oh my gosh Pam I wish we could have been told this story in person cuz I would love for you to see our expressions over here!! He loved the part about what Mathew said :)

Kim said...

I thnk you guys must have just been confused about what you signed up for. It was one of those murder mystery dinners--that nice guy who got you some food was really an Amtrack employee. They must have all been very good actors :)

Kaye said...

My kids are going to be getting picked up late because I had to finish your story. I LOVE that you tried to talk to him at the snack bar....so great! Glad you survived....plus tell Adam thank you for not ruining the story....he told me you guys had a good one and I should wait til you wrote about it....worth the wait....I thought only Cuillards had that kind of luck!

Tiffany Fairchild said...

Wow best read I have had in a long long time. I bet you were so happy to be home! I have always known it is never boring when there is a Walden around, excitement follows you everywhere!

AJsGirls said...

WOW! My family has made that ride on the train from LA to Seattle many times and NEVER anything like this. It was just more memories made, right? Who wants to fly on a boring airplane?

E-Star said...

I had to laugh at Kim's comment I was so thinking the same thing... I swear your family has some crazy adventures! It is OK to laugh now but I am sure it was a pretty scary night... what the heck! And I looked into taking the train from AZ to CA it is more expensive and takes 10 hours! (to drive is only 6 and flight is what an hour...) I have been turned off of Amtrack ever since it took me 5 hours to get to San Diego... lame