Amtrak ticket machine in Kelso, Washington

Training For India

How do we get ready for India?


How do we train?

By Amtrak. From Portland to Vancouver, BC.

Chris Dennis self portrait in reflection.

An after-midnight self portrait outside Pacific Central Station in Vancouver, BC.

What makes the Cascades line such effective preparation for India? It is an exercise in patience.

We expected one rail leg:

  • Depart Portland at 2:40 PM, and arrive in Vancouver at 10:50 PM.

What did we get? Four legs:

  • Portland, Oregon to Kelso, Washington by bus.
  • Kelso, Washington to Seattle, Washington by rail.
  • Seattle, Washington to Everett, Washington by bus.
  • Everett, Washington to Vancouver, British Columbia by rail.
Purple plaid bus interior.

Purple plaid upholstery on a chartered bus, which stands in for a train blocked by mudslides.

Travel time?

  • Depart Portland at 2:45 PM, and arrive in Vancouver at 1:15 AM.

It is also an exercise in appreciating the unexpected:

  • The pleasure of holding hands across a bus isle.
  • Unexpected almonds and cheese crackers given out by gracious Amtrak employees.
  • A middle-aged, flour-spattered woman in a Kelso convenience store who happily sold me her last nine postage stamps.
  • The icing-white, highly sculpted interior of the Seattle Amtrak station.
  • A neon sign in the shape of a martini, casting a welcome glow though the rain near the Seattle waterfront.
  • The sublime quiet of welded rail in the stretch of track between Everett and the Canadian boarder.
  • The wondrous turban and flowing beard of our Sikh cab driver.
Sikh taxi driver and steering wheel.

Our Sikh taxi driver carries us faithfully though the rainy streets of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Still drinking the water,