Coastal Starlight Train Adventure

I know, I know…..I’m really behind finishing up the posts from my West Coast Adventure from the last week in March and first week in April! I’ve been busy…..including going on yet another adventure – that I still need to blog about – to Washington DC! But, as they say, better late than never! This post is next to the last for this particular adventure…..the train ride from San Francisco to Seattle!

When I booked the Coastal California Cruise, I knew I wanted to spend a few extra days in San Francisco after the cruise…..why fly all that way just for a 7 day cruise…..why not take advantage of being on the opposite side of the country and see as much as I could???!!! But, the more I thought about it, I also wondered how I could manage to also get to see Oregon and Washington – two states that I still had to color in on my US map as states I have been to! I considered renting a car in San Francisco, spending a could days there, then drive along the coast through upper California, Oregon, and on to Seattle. It sounded like a great idea…..until I started to really look into it and saw how FAR that was to drive…..by myself…..and how long it would take. I scrapped that idea, but the thought of at least seeing Seattle while I was out there kept nagging at me! So, I considered flying to Seattle….but, that would mean I’d miss so much in between! So……one night while I was in bed trying to get to sleep my mind was racing with thoughts about the trip! Suddenly, I sat right up with a brilliant idea…..I wondered if there was a train that would take me from San Francisco to Seattle! It was about 2:00 am and I got up, went downstairs, and got on the computer to check it out! Sure enough, I discovered there was an Amtrak train called the Coastal Starlight Train that goes from Los Angeles along the coast with a stop in San Francisco and then on through Oregon and Washington to end in Seattle!!! The portion between San Francisco and Seattle is 22 hours…..I read all about the sleeper cars and the dining car and the observation car and the scenery and knew that was the experience I was looking for!!! I went back to bed and dreamed of an adventure right out of the old movies about the romantic side of train travel! The next day, I emailed my travel agent and asked about the cost and what she thought about the idea. And…..I booked it!!! And…..I LOVED IT!!! I would love to take it, again, sometime…..only next time, travel from beginning (in Los Angeles) to end (Seattle) to get the full experience…..the portion between Los Angeles and San Francisco is all along the coast with incredible ocean views! Plus, in hindsight, I would have loved to spend a few more days in Seattle – I didn’t really allow enough time and there was a lot more I wish I had more time to see!

So, I picked up an Amtrak bus from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco to the Amtrak station in Emeryville, CA and boarded the train.

As I sat waiting for my train, this message was one of several for my reading pleasure…..good advice!

The train was scheduled to leave at 9:30 pm – just in time to get settled in before bed time. I was greeted by the conductor who would be servicing the sleeper car I was assigned to. She was very pleasant and helpful. I had booked a “roomette” – the smaller of the two choices for sleeping accommodations. A roomette has two bunks – only one of which was made up because I was a single occupant – with no private bathroom. A regular sleeper has two bunks and a private bathroom and shower and a little more room to move around. I figured I was only going to be there one night, so a roomette was all I needed – I was happy to discover that the bathroom was just across the aisle from my roomette! There was barely enough room to turn around and get into my jammies when the bed was made up…..but, in the morning, the conductor turned the bed into two seats facing each other and it became a cozy room to sit in and read with a big window to view the scenery passing by. The bed and room was much more comfortable than I imagined it would be and I slept like a baby!

The conductor explained the perks of having sleeper accommodations: all meals are included in the sleeper fares and someone came by to take our preference for meal time reservations in the dining car, sleeper ticket holders have access to a private observation lounge that is most comfortable, snacks and drinks (except alcoholic) are free in the private observation lounge, and sleeper ticket holders are invited to a private wine tasting event for just $7.50 in the lounge! Cool! I felt like a celebrity!!! 😀

My roomette after it was made up for day travel:

Not long after I dozed off, I felt the train stop….I sat up to look out and saw we were picking up other passengers in Sacramento! I spent a few days in Sacramento visiting a friend about 17 years ago or so. Seeing the station sign made me remember that trip…..I laid back down and slept through the rest of the night.

The observation lounge reserved for sleeper ticket holders only:

I spent some time sitting in the comfortable swivel chairs in the quiet observation lounge, but found I actually preferred to sit in my roomette most of the time.

The meals were excellent and the dining car was very comfortable! There were several options on the menu for each meal. For breakfast, I had scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast, juice, and tea. For lunch I had a steak burger and fries with a coke. And for dinner, I had a ribeye steak, baked potato, fresh veggie medley, rolls, and a glass of wine. All cooked beautifully and very delicious!

Here are just some of the photos I took of the scenery in Oregon and Washington…..it is difficult to get good photos on a train while speeding by the things you want to take a photo of! But, I got a few good ones and the rest of the scenery is filed away in my memory!

I particularly loved the scenery through Oregon…..what a beautiful state…..and we traveled through heavily wooded areas with lots of lakes, streams, waterfalls, mountains, and small rural communities. Simply breathtaking! Washington was very nice, too, just different!

It was an amazing experience and a truly grand adventure! I am so grateful that I thought to look into it and for the opportunity to experience it! I would not hesitate to travel long distance by train, again…..it is a relaxing way to see the country……and, the extra cost to get a sleeper – rather than sitting up and sleeping in a coach seat – is well worth it – not only for comfort, but also for all the extras that are included in the sleeper fares (although, if I plan to be on trains more than one night, I will definitely pay just a bit more for a regular sleeper room with a private bath and shower!).

Next up…..Lord only knows when – hahaha……is my Seattle Adventure post!

2 Comments on “Coastal Starlight Train Adventure

Please feel free to leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: