This is the twelfth and final of a series of posts recalling my third annual trip to Seattle, though at this stage of the trip I thought I had left Seattle for the remainder of the trip and was at the start of this report in Portland. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of five years later or to add further clarification; I use “NOW” to denote such cases.
Got the Amtrak in good time but it was moving slower than usual (at least that's what they say) due to a freight car lowering the maximum speed. This is apparently what causes the train's engine to conk out, causing an extra 3 1/2 hour delay.
[NOW: Amtrak still charged for food during the delay and in fact thanked everyone for buying all the food, so arguably they benefited from their screw-up.]
I missed my connection in Olympia but no small amount as a result and didn't want to be stranded there the whole long weekend so took Greyhound busses from there to Vancouver, though that meant getting in at 11:30 (actually 12:20 by the time it arrived).
[I only have vague memories of Olympia that specific trip, though I’ve since returned three times. I think the train actually stopped in Lacey; I know I took a bus to Olympia from the station. I was given some critical misinformation from a know-it-all on the train: that there was a Greyhound to Port Angeles (there wasn’t) and that there was no hostel in Olympia (there was). I had a late lunch somewhere, but mostly just stuck around Sylvester Park where the Greyhound depot was, not wanting to risk another missed connection. I recall as few Greyhound stops as it got progressively darker, including Seattle, Everett, and Bellingham. The woman at the border seemed a bit puzzled by the amount of stuff I was bringing in but didn’t search my bag.]
There was no time to notify Vancouver friends on Facebook that I was arriving and I didn't have their numbers handy anyway, not expecting to be in that particular Vancouver this trip.
So went to McDonald's across the street diagonally and then returned to the station, only to learn they're closed 1 am – 4 am. So I had to find a place that was relatively safe and warm. I found a warm enough place but I nodded off briefly (probably less than 15 minutes after which my new-ish backpack was gone, with a lot of the DVDs, comics, books purchased as well as probably most my camera memory cards. Conservative estimate over 10,000 photos lost. I contacted the police but even though it only just happened they wouldn't investigate (I never saw them patrol either).
Someone claimed they some a bag being tossed over the fence on the bus/train station property, but since the theft didn't occur there, when I mentioned it to the security guard he got abusive with me.