Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mountains! Signings!

Well, it’s Tuesday again, and I’m riding on the Empire Builder just coming out of the Cascade Mountains on our way to Seattle. It’s been a fantastic week. I’ve been keeping a daily diary and sending it to a select list of friends who I think might be interested. We’ve been to Needle Nest in Fargo, where there was a great turnout for a signing. I toured a homeless shelter run by the YWCA and got some very useful information. The only problem with Fargo is that the train arrives at a little after three in the morning. Don’t let anyone tell you that midnight is the dead of night. At midnight the bars are still open and there are people around. Three a.m. is too late to be late at night and too early to be early in the morning. Nothing is moving; the whole world is deep asleep. Well, Amtrak doesn’t sleep, they turned up right on time and we climbed aboard and by daylight we were well out across the endless flat plains of North Dakota and Montana on our way to Wolf Point. We had a meager but enthusiastic turnout at their Roosevelt County Public Library, and another in Cut Bank at the Glacier County Library. A woman at Cut Bank, Anne Stevens, very kindly volunteered to give us a private tour of East Glacier National Park the next day. We got close up and personal with the leading edge of the Rocky Mountains that day! It seemed around every curve we were presented with another postcard-perfect view. We saw lots of wild life, including big horn mountain sheep, elk, an impertinent prairie dog who kept coming up to bark at us, and even a grizzly bear who had the audacity to go loping across the big and beautiful, flower-bed-ornamented front lawn of a historic old lodge where, half an hour earlier I had gone strolling.

We had better luck with turnout in Spokane last night, with well over fifty in the audience. Auntie’s Bookstore, a Spokane legend, came to sell books and I signed quite a few. My talk was well received, which is always gratifying. The staff did a super job of promoting and running the event. Special thanks to Pat!

As I am writing this, we have come out of the magnificent Cascade Mountains to Everett, Washington, which is on Puget Sound. A bald eagle was perched on a rock barely bigger than he is along the shore, looking for fish to catch. The tide is out, exposing an acre or two of seaweed with lots of seagulls poking around in it. In the background of the immense sound are snowy mountains. What a great time we are having!

As I am writing this later, we are in Seattle, and it is evening. I did a signing a the famous Seattle Mystery Bookshop and did a little shopping for books. Then we explored historic downtown Seattle, ate seafood at Ivar’s down on the sound -- their clam chowder was very delicious, but I saved the little oyster crackers to feed to the greedy, noisy seagulls standing on a railing alongside the restaurant. These are the seagoing seagulls, the big variety.

Having a lovely time, I cannot highly enough recommend train travel.


Anonymous said...

Your trip sounds lovely. I haven't been on that particular run, but I've ridden from Portland to LA and then LA to Austin. The coast train is really, really nice. Great scenery where you're located. Good luck with the rest of your trip!

Linda O. Johnston said...

What a wonderful-sounding, ongoing trip, Monica! I especially like your description of the wildlife at East Glacier National Park. I hope your journey continues to go well for you.

Debi Feyh, Nordic Needle said...

Nordic Needle in Fargo was honored to be the first stop on your incredible train tour!! People are still talking about the time they were able to spend with you.

Thanks for spending your day with your Fargo friends!!

Betty Hechtman said...

I love reading about your adventures.

Monica Ferris said...

You should have seen the rave I sent out about how wonderful Nordic Needle is. Great turnout, the people worked really hard to make it a success. Thank you, Debi!