Northbound 12/29/89The (Seattle-bound) Coast Starlight is on time chirped the face-less place-less 800-number and a cheery thanks for traveling Amtrak. We rushed by bus across the bridge to Oakland. The earthquake-shaken depot was shut for safety so we sipped icy sodas under cold December stars while some ass's sedan blocked the tracks a mile south. We small-talked for over an hour trying not to shiver. The crew-abandoned coach was close and overheated and the crappers didn't work and we crawled along through a day of gassy cuisine and farty catnaps. We were three hours late creeping north from Portland. The night-benighted train had just begun its homestretch above the Columbia when it braked and backed up over and from a bum who had bolted from a boxcar. We bore one hour more before they found a coroner. The Seattle-arrived Starlight lumbered lambent rails at less than three mph the last half hour; we, languishing, laid our lost time on that lousy ass in Oakland. Still, We lost less time than had the bum in Vancouver.