Jun 23, 2008

Day 24 - Flagstaff to Vancouver (Part 2)

What a nightmare we had after an amazing day in Arizona!

Because our train was 3hrs late, which meant that we missed our train to Seattle, we were told to go to the ticket office at the Los Angeles station for re-accommodation upon arrival. It was clear from the amount of people queueing up at the ticket office that there were many people whose plans were also affected.

The guy we dealt with at the ticket window didn't sound convincing at all. We were expecting that we would take the same train tomorrow, so that we would stay in LA for a day. Instead, he initially offered a late train to Seattle, which I didn't think would exist. Then, after a chat with his colleague, he told us that we would have to catch a bus to Bakersfield, then catch a train to Sacramento, and take the train Coast Starlight we were supposed to be on.

It turned out his instructions were wrong, and we ended up wasting so much time and energy following his instructions.

Firstly, it was frustrating to explain to a conductor on each connection why we were catching these alternative routes as we only had original tickets for the Coast Starlight.

Secondly, while we got on a train service 717, we found out that the train that was parked next to the train at Bakersfield was the train up to Seattle that we wanted to take. It turned out that they were doing some work on a bridge, which meant that the Coast Starlight had to change routes just for today. Instead of taking the train all the way up to Seattle from here, we ended up having to make two more connections thanks to the wrong instructions from that guy at the Los Angeles station.

Unlike the instruction given, the train 717 was not going to Sacramento. So we had to get off at Stockton and get a bus to Sacramento to catch our train from there.

It took us 2hrs on the first bus to Bakersfield, which was followed by over 4hrs on the train to Stockton and 1hr on the bus to Sacramento. Since we were so knackered from our Arizona tour with scorching weather, we really could do without all these.

We assumed that there would be some shops and restaurants at the Sacramento station so that we could get some food. None. We were starving, and had to wander around near the railway station for half an hour to find world famous Denny's. It was more of relief than pleasure to get to finally eat.

Our train to Seattle, the one that we missed twice - with inevitable circumstances and cock-ups from Amtrak staff - finally arrived at Sacramento after 11:00PM.

It was such an anticlimax to go through all these hassle after having an amazing time in Arizona. Having said that, our trip has been almost flawless in terms of going from one place to another. So it was bound to happen. Both Teruko and I are just relieved to be able to finally sit and sleep without having to worry about anything.

At the end of the day, it is all experience as they say...

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