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About Autumn

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    Motor City Madhouse
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    Reading (mostly non-fiction), writing, photography, DIY projects, etc.
  1. I needed to get out of the house for some cheer, so I went to Vons grocery store and bought a big bag of Washington cherries and 8 2 liters of Diet Pepsi. I paid $2.25 per 12 oz can on the train (it's worth noting that they had them in a vending machine in Seattle for $1 apiece, so I bought 8 for the trip home, lol). I also picked up a few 1 liter bottles for $3.50 each at the Portland station. I paid $1 apiece for the 2 liter bottles at Vons - $8 for 8 2 liters. At the Portland station the equivalent of 8 2 liters would have cost $52. Ha!
  2. Hello all. I just wanted to pop in and let everyone know that my train arrived back in Los Angeles without incident last night. The train didn't have wifi as I expected so I wasn't able to update as often as I would have liked, and I had a bit of a debacle and a minor meltdown when I arrived in Seattle. That was rough but I got through it and was back on the train to L.A. after 4 hours of sleep. Anyway, I was really nauseated and exhausted when I got off the train last night (I could still feel the motion of the train for hours....ugh....). I woke up this morning feeling like I had been up drinking all night. I had a killer headache, my nasal passages were blocked, and I sprouted an under-the-skin monstrosity between my eyebrows that caused my left eyelid to swell up. I'm still very tired and haven't had a chance to really put my experience into perspective. It all seems very dreamlike now. Saddest: I wish I could have gotten a clearer picture. I was moving, the train was moving, the lighting sucked and so that was that. He was covered with a blanket that had a cheetah print, btw. And yes, that is *exactly* how I slept. I brought a small fleece blanket and an inflatable pillow which proved indispensable (as well as the towel Cerberus suggested - I found a half-dozen uses for that). It did rain, btw. They were like pop-up showers. It would be mostly cloudy one minute and then raining sideways the next. On the way back it was overcast and drizzly from Seattle to Portland. I think I did enjoy the trip for the most part but the "Seattle Incident" was unnerving and really kind of ruined everything for me. To make a long story short I got off the train in Seattle and ended up hoofing it for a mile or so with a really heavy pack (which compromised the circulation in my arms) to discover I couldn't find my motel and I got kind of panicky and whatnot. I was so PISSED because I tried to get a cab and they wouldn't take me because they said the motel was too close (not enough $$$$ for them). Then I tried the taxi cab app on my phone which said it didn't provide service for my location (wtf??). I did end up finding the place after a 3rd taxi attempt. I was able to take a nice long shower and get a few hours' sleep on a mattress with a horizontal lump across the middle (conveniently located in the lumbar area of my back injury, lol). Well, my back is fine at least! Also, it's worth mentioning that Seattle is a really beautiful city and not nearly the gritty, dark place I envisioned. I just wish I'd had a better experience. I think my final assessment will be more an evaluation of my perceptions and reactions than summing it up as a good time/bad time kind of thing. Even though the Seattle Incident sucked, I learned some things about myself and took something positive away from that. Thanks for being here for me. :-) Jessamine and Mia: Thank you so much for your thoughtful posts. They really made me cry because I wish I had seen them before I arrived in Seattle. I had a really difficult time there. Besides being in a strange city at sunset and whatnot, I think I probably underestimated my resourcefulness and overreacted to the situation. Not that I made an ass of myself on the streets, lol (having said that, it made me realize the situation could have been much worse). Had a similar incident happened in a familiar town I merely would have been perplexed. Cerberus.....um.....the experience was definitely priceless. I'm richer for it in a lot of ways. Thank you. As I said above, the towel came in handy numerous times. :-) Wooster: It's okay. I hope you enjoyed your vacation with the inlaws. Other than the unfortunate Incident I experienced, it didn't escape my notice that Seattle is indeed quite a fair city. I was happily surprised by how much so, and a little sad that I wasn't able to enjoy it properly. I'm glad you get to live in such a lovely place. It really, really is lovely. Melissa: Yes, it will definitely be easier next time. I'm considering a hike now, lol. Phoenix_Rising: I think I remember you from 2009, too (I can't believe how fast the past 5 years have gone by). Thanks for chiming in here. As with excessive exertions of any kind, I'm tired today but a little stronger for my efforts.
  3. Well, I did it. I got the Amtrak and they hooked me up with a cheap motel in Seattle for a total of $105. I'll be happy to stretch out for a while. I forfeit the cost of the Greyhound ticket (which was about $35). This trip is costing me dearly.
  4. Now that I'm away from those goons, I can think of things that contribute to my peace of mind. Our rail system in the states is very poor (and far behind the rest of the world technologically) . Amtrak is subsidized by the government and it loses millions of dollars every year. I'm grateful for the nice services they offer for a reasonable price. I got to see the coastline today, and it was absolutely stunning. It's a dream come true. I'm from Detroit originally (which is pretty dagnab gritty), and I remember longing to travel this route long before I even knew would live in California someday. I've been taking video instead of photos. I have only edited one short video before that wasn't even mine, so this will be a nice project to stitch together. I think I can extract photos from individual video frames but I'll let my genius video editing bf help me out. Ultimately I want to do it myself. I'm grateful that I managed to summon the courage to post here and that so many caring, interested and thoughtful people have replied. When I'm fearful I become very isolated, for lack of a better word. I'm as far from superstitious as one could be (I struggle with paranoia that can progress to irrationality - if not delusion(s) - so the way I see it, I can't afford to entertain superstitious thoughts/ideas). Having said that, I often think that if I talk about my fears (and even when I just *think* them) then my fears will come true. I've gone so far as thinking that something bad will happen just because I posted here. Realistically I know the odds are low, but when I think that there probably aren't many people online posting about the same situation, then the odds are increased (understanding statistics isn't one of my strong points). I overthink things. We're passing through the San Francisco area now. I think we crossed over part of the bay. It's dark now.....sure wish I could see it. I hope the train has a long delay getting into Seattle. If it is I'll get a train out on Thursday morning (if it isn't completely booked). I should see if I can get a ticket now. If it doesn't work out I'll get my money back minus a 10% fee. I'm working on gratitude, but I hate and despise Greyhound and can probably deal with pulling an all-nighter to wait for a train.
  5. Btw Saddest, it's not raining yet. I was very surprised to discover that I can't hear the tracks much at all. I'm in the cafe car thinking about some obnoxious, grade school dropout hicks over at the next table that I need to get about 5 cars away from. How are you?
  6. Saddest: Kurt Cobain is alive and on his way back to Seattle! Lol. I took a picture of this guy on the train who looks just like him. It was like seeing a ghost. Same hairstyle, same color, same baggy jeans. I can't post the photo for the life of me. It didn't turn out that great anyway. Maybe I'll figure it out later. Thanks for asking how I'm doing. I'm groovy right now. No wifi on the train, unfortunately. Wifi is only for the OTHER half. They were invited to a wine tasting too, btw. Snooty snoot snoot.
  7. Cerberus: It was a great deal more difficult to do this then I let on. I still get an occasional knot in my stomach. I'm sure that when I wake up I'll feel like I've been dropped in the pits of hell (mornings are the worst for me for depression and panic). Thank you for your confidence in me and for your kind words. It means more to me than you know! Wooster: Lol.....that bad, huh? Sorry pally.
  8. Well pallies, looks like I made it. I just arrived at the Burbank platform (there's no station here). I don't even know if I'm on the right side of the tracks because there's no signage.....it's stoopid. Anyway, the important thing is that I'm here, and I'm kinda stuck here. Bf dropped me off before he went to work. Train arrives at 10:30 if there's no delay. There's a local train called Metrolink that rolled up about 10 minutes ago and its LOUD bell has been gonging ever since. I must say that I was about to disappoint the night before last and yesterday morning. Sunday night my back was in excruciating pain, so I was up trying to figure out what was going on. I was already certain it was sciatica, but sciatica is only a symptom of another problem. It turns out it's probably a herniated/slipped or bulging disc. My biggest concern was that it would get worse during my trip. After some investigation, I came across people who are in much worse pain than I am and have been for years. So as I sat staring at Amtrak's website yesterday morning poised to cancel, I decided to suck it up. I spent the rest of the day packing and last night I went to Walgreens and bought a heating pad. I was really busy yesterday and my back held up surprisingly well. I slept on my heating pad last night and my leg was only a little numb when I woke up. About 30 minutes to go now. The concrete benches are hard and will no doubt survive the 8.9 SoCal is long overdue for. On a more positive note, it's a gorgeous morning. The past few mornings have been unseasonably overcast and cool. I think it even rained Saturday night. Speaking of rain, there's a good chance of showers through Oregon and into Seattle on Wednesday (I almost used that as an excuse to postpone, too). I still can't believe I'm doing this.
  9. Wooster: I'm glad you found the info useful. Come see me. ;-) SD7: :-D Melissa: I didn't have time to get an appointment, unfortunately. I think I'll be okay though. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm sure the muscle relaxers would have come in handy. Being the hypochondriac I am though, I'm leery of any new med and probably would have been paranoid it would make my heart stop. Saddest: I was 24 too. :-/
  10. If anyone is up for some laughs, check out the reviews for the Seattle Greyhound station on Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/greyhound-bus-lines-seattle Okay....got stuff to do. :-)
  11. Still so much to do. I got all my shopping out of the way at least. I bought a bunch of "little things" for my trip from Amazon. Today I am expecting pepper spray, waterproof mascara and trail mix. I already bought a pouch that I can wear under my clothes to stash my cash in and misc cards. I also got a new backpack (black canvas like an idiot....everything clings to it). I also bought a mini Maglite, an inflatable pillow, Wet Ones (individually wrapped wipes), hand sanitizer and Promax LS Protein Bars in Peanut Butter Chocolate which are actually quite good! There are a bunch of little things I bought at the dollar store - I got a couple of packs of baby washcloths which came 4 to a box, and they're really cool because they're small and I can just throw them away. The only consumable thing I'm going to buy on my trip is soda. If I could I'd pack that too. I'm a soda addict. Oh, and I'll spend a little money on food at Denny's. I'll be visiting two; one in Seattle and one in Salem.
  12. I thought I would add here that when I was doing laundry last weekend I tweaked my back when I stooped down to pick up a basket. When it happened I only felt a slight twinge and it only bothered me for about a day. Then about 2 days later the pain hit full force, and I swear I never hurt my back this bad EVER. It's in my lower back and radiates to my left hip and I can swear I have a little numbness in my left leg. I think it's a pinched nerve. I've been taking Aleve and Excedrin for the pain. It figures....just before a trip, right? I'll say that it did feel better this morning, but I'll be surprised if the pain is gone by the 22nd and I'm not getting my hopes up. Sucks.
  13. I noticed there's an "s" in your "organising" instead of a z. That's always a dead giveaway someone isn't from the US. I think most of the English-speaking world uses an "s", so you could be from any of those countries....UK, Canada, Australia....which is it? It's awesome in a way that you're not that familiar with the States, because you might find this adventure interesting. I would definitely find it interesting if you were the one going on a trip. :-) Yes, Seattle definitely reminds me of grunge and Curt Kobain too. And Starbucks (Starbucks got its start in Seattle. There's actually one across the street from the Amtrak station but I'll never see it because it will be closed when my train arrives). I remember exactly where I was when I heard Curt Kobain committed suicide. It's been 20 years. Unfricken believable. I just got back from reading his Wiki page. Pretty much left a dark cloud over my day. I have to think it might have been different had he not been pumped full of heroin. I didn't know he was dead for 3 days before his body was found. You probably have a basic familiarity with Denny's then. It touts itself as "America's Diner". We have one just down the street and visit a couple of times a week. I'll get some pics for you. I haven't read that book, btw. A Denny's in Tokyo, huh? I'm speechless. During the day I will mostly just stare out the window. The route begins in Los Angeles and I won't be getting on until Burbank (just a stone's throw away), so there's a good chance I won't get a window right away. I expect a lot of people will be getting off in San Francisco though. Still, I'll be bummed if I don't get a window because the only time the train wlll get close to the coast will be between L.A. and San Francisco. At night and before I go to sleep I will probably read. I was about a 1/3 of the way through The Life and Tmes of Charles Manson, and I'd bring it except that it weighs almost 2 pounds (765.44g to be exact). If you want a good snapshot of the late 60's hippie era in the States it's a definite must-read and I can't recommend it highly enough. Manson aside, it's really entertaining. We visited Barker Ranch in Death Valley just a few months ago, btw (Barker Ranch was where Manson's final arrest was). It was a cool trip and I grabbed some souveniers (rocks and a slightly toasted piece of wood left over from the fire). What an awesome place. Very surreal. It took an off-road vehicle and some boulder trekking to get to it (Goler Wash - check it out online). I probably won't do much writing except on the message board here. My posts will probably be brief. I will have my tablet, but it doesn't have a physical keyboard so it will take forever to type. I really wanted to bring my laptop, but it's a beast weighing in at 8 lb (just over 3.5 kg). The train I'll be on will have wifi which will be a nice bonus. Our cell phone service provider is Verizon and we pay for a data plan, but the usage adds up quickly and I don't want to go over the allowance. I will have a long layover in Salem, OR on the way back and no wifi, so I'll be on Verizon's network then. I'll be able to listen to music and watch movies on my phone and tablet. I've been downloading music to listen to with headphones. I bought a used Galaxy S3 a couple of months ago and I never listened to or watched any media on it so I spent yesterday figuring all that out. I'm lazy when it comes to learning new technology. I'm so lazy that I recently bought a used computer to replace the model I bought in 2009, lol. I still might try to figure out a way to pack it in. I can bring the old one in case it gets ripped off. Yeah, make sure you wash your hair really good too, and pack some dry shampoo while you're at it, lol.
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