Want a chance to vacation in Vancouver, B.C. — for free? Now through October 29, Seattle-based Sightline Institute is sponsoring a Great Escapes sweepstakes, which will send one lucky winner (and guest) to Vancouver for a two-night, car-free getaway. All you have to do is sign up for Sightline’s daily email and/or weekly blog and news roundup. That’s it.

The package: Two Amtrak tix (Seattle to Vancouver), two nights at the artsy Listel Hotel, and dinner at both Chambar and Wild Rice (Green Table restaurants, of course). Plus, Sightline has “lined up some of our favorite car-free activities for you, such as biking in Stanley Park, visiting the Museum of Anthropology, and a city tour led by urban planning expert (and Sightline board member) Gordon Price.” Hoo-ee!

The logic: You want to read environmental news anyhow, right? And, if you’re in Seattle or the surrounding area, you definitely want to keep up on local enviro issues, correct? Then this is a no brainer. Here’s the post. Here’s the sign-up form.

Good luck!

No, I don’t work for Amtrak. But, verily, I love el train for its (relative) energy efficiency.

So I’d like to share some Amtrak super-special deal news. Apparently, through August 8, Amtrak is running fare specials on several lines up and down the West coast. Get this: Seattle to Portland for $24 each way. Snap! I’m on it. You have to travel between September 2 and December 11 (no Labor Day or Xmas, peeps, and Thanksgiving is a blackout date), but there are plenty of days still up for grabs.

Check it out, trainheads.

Amtrak

Bon voyage to Mr. Living Small, who departs for Los Angeles via Amtrak this morning. It’s a 36-hour train trip, folks — that’s a lot of sustained silent reading — but he chose rails over airways for their lower environmental impact. Want some figures? Flit on over to this chart devised by the Sightline Institute (go, Seattle treehuggers!) on the subject of CO2 emissions according to transit type.

Have you ever long-hauled it on the railroad? How far did you go?

(And how late did you arrive?)

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