The Coast Starlight

The reaction among our friends and family to us taking a 36 hour train trip from LA to Seattle was a mixed bag of “are you crazy?” and “I am so jealous”, so I kept my expectations low even though truly, I was terribly excited. We just went to Seattle not too long ago, and since this trip was for an important wedding we needed to go to, we thought we’d change things up a bit. We had both never seen California north of Ventura before, and I already knew the scenic parts of Oregon and Washington wouldn’t disappoint. The best thing about the scenery is that the train doesn’t follow the freeway that most people would take to get between these states, so you view a side of the landscape you wouldn’t normally see. And what a changing landscape it is – from oranges and reds to the greenest green you have ever seen. You hug the ocean, climb rolling hills, and go right through mountains. You fall asleep north of Oakland and wake up to pine trees in Oregon against a pink sunrise.

While it’s not particularly cheap, getting a room is worth every penny and even though the beds are not exactly comfortable, they’re better than sleeping in a coach seat and the privacy is great, not to mention access to the Parlor car. We also got cheap one way flights home, so in the end it wasn’t that much more expensive than flying, and all of your meals are included and it’s essentially a hotel room for a night. I highly recommend doing this trip at least once in your life, it was magical. I didn’t even get bored – I plowed through On The Road (I thought it appropriate), but spent most of my time with my nose pressed against the window day dreaming. It was a bit hard to take photos from a moving train, but I got a few shots of the beautiful landscape I’m happy to have the memory of in a photo.

Photos by Kate Miss, taken with Mamiya 645 with Kodak Portra 400 film