Like most places that offer “free breakfast”, the Jolly Taxpayer didn’t keep the food out for people who sleep past 8am. So we had some bad coffee in the pub and got our stuff all packed up for the trip back to Bellingham late in the afternoon. The staff was gracious enough to let us keep our packs in the room while we walked around for a few more hours.
After one more stop at our favorite downtown coffee house, we got our packs from the hotel and caught a free Skytrain ride to the train station. Then we sat in line for a long time to show our tickets to the conductor. Then we had to show our passports to US Immigration before we could get on the train. The Americans stamped our passports.
It was an hour before the train actually started moving … all the more time to plug in the laptop and write some of these stories. Yes, these trains were equipped with standard wall outlets next to each pair of seats, so we didn’t have to drain our batteries while working.
We had our US Customs Declarations forms filled out before the train started moving. The train stopped briefly at the border for a group of customs agents to get on. As the train rolled on toward Bellingham the customs agents walked through, collecting forms and asking questions (they could have searched luggage at this point, but they didn’t). In Bellingham the customs agents, the strange-looking purple people, and the southbound Amtrak train all went their separate ways.
In spite of lots of walking and a bit of pack carrying, Obbie’s back came back fairly pain-free. Having left our stress in Canada, we reunited with our truck, grabbed some dinner and used the last remaining daylight to get positioned for the home stretch. We drove down to Mt. Vernon, which is where State Hwy 20 crosses I-5 to begin its journey across the northern edge of Washington state. In the little town of Sedro Woolley we found a cheap motel that will mark the end of our exploration of the West Coast. We are now firmly pointed to the east for our eventual return home.