The rail route from Renton to Woodinville is sorta gritty. The rail route from Tacoma to Lake Kapowsin is sorta pretty.
Why didn't they do this sooner?
I'm still digesting last night's ride on The Spirit of Washington Dinner Train, on the inaugural run of the train's new route. (Look for my dinner train dining review in next week's GO section.)
I was in good spirits from the moment we rolled out past the Almond Roca factory until we returned to Freighthouse Square.
I saw some concrete, graffiti and unattractive industry, but I also saw llamas and horses and pigs and bulls and a cool sculpture garden/bicycle graveyard.
I squeezed past galley kitchens. I careened my way down the rocking aisles of seven dining cars. I didn't have to share a table with strangers.
The Renton-to-Woodinville route afforded views of million-dollar back yards along Lake Washington. There was a stop at the Columbia Winery at intermission.
I didn't miss 'em. Sure, the train's new route goes through Midland and past the Boeing plant in Frederickson, but we also rode through horse country and down long and lush, if somewhat littered, corridors that intensified the intimacy of the train.
The train stopped at Lake Kapowsin. Evergreens reflected off the water, and one diner approached me to announce that he's 84 years old and pulled his share of bass and trout out of that lake.
I let my wife finish my glass of Dr. Burklin-Wolf Riesling and I forced myself to be content with just a few sips of nectary ice wine for dessert.
So I was sober when I wobbled and zig-zagged the length of the moving train, made my way to the open-air section of the Ste. Michelle car and leaned over the railing as the Spirit crossed over Highway 512.
This was no DiCaprio-king-of-the-world moment. But if you heard a strange Doppler effect near Midland last night, that was me: