We have a winner

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thanks to all of you for acting as my travel agents. A week ago I asked for your best ideas for getting me from Sarasota, Fla., on February 19 to Vancouver by 8:30 p.m. on February 22, to ride VIA Rail Canada’s train No. 2, the Canadian, with 55 of my nearest and dearest friends.

I thought I had all the best ideas covered. How much I underestimated you. I was offered dinners, cab rides, and even speaking engagements. One of you, I believe, even remembered my love of a dry martini. Your imaginations knew no bounds. I was overwhelmed and thank you for stepping up to the challenge

In the end I chose the option first suggested by traindude001, which is to fly from Sarasota to Washington, D.C., take the Capitol Limited  to Chicago, the Empire Builder to Seattle and an Amtrak bus to Vancouver.

Well heck, most of the rest of you must be saying. That’s the simple solution. Let me explain why it’s also the best one for me.

Flying home to DC for a few hours lets me dump my dirty clothes of the past week and repack my bag for the next. Now I’ve eliminated laundromats or extra luggage. The rest is almost all rail over two of my favorite routes, the Empire Builder being made more attractive because I’ve never taken it all the way west.

But as several of you made note, I am cutting it close. The Builder is due into Seattle at 10:25 am on the day of the Canadian’s departure from Vancouver, and the last Amtrak-affiliated bus to Vancouver leaves just 200 minutes later. It’s winter, as you warned.

Therefore, if there’s any doubt of making the Seattle connection. I’ll pull the pin in Spokane the night before and take any of many Alaska Airlines flights to Seattle to make my bus connection.

And if we’re later than that? Oh c’mon. The next Canadian leaves in three or four days. My wife will surely forgive me, if I surrender the diamond bracelet I’ve been holding for just such moments, and you’ll be rewarded with so many exciting blogs of my misadventures that you’ll forget I ever staged a contest.

But one of you shouldn’t forget. Traindude001, get in touch with me at to collect your 5,000 Amtrak Guest Reward miles. Again, thanks to everyone for joining in the fun. — Fred  W. Frailey

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