Amtrak Coast Starlight 36-Hour Train Ride in Coach from Seattle to Los Angeles, May 8 & 9, 2015
After staying with families in Seattle for a week, it was time to go home. I thought it would be nice to take another train ride home. Our last train trip was 15 years ago and we had a private roommette that included all the meals in the dining car. It was certainly an enjoyable ride! This time we booked coach seats for the long ride home. We had spent enough money on this trip already, got to watch our budget. This train ride cost us about the same as plane tickets, $200 for both of us. If we book a roommette it will cost us $700. I think with the Amtrak tickets, the earlier you book the cheaper they are. So booking early is the way to go.
We planned on taking the commuter train from Everett to Seattle King Street Station but Jonny got up early and drove us there instead. This poor new dad didn't even have enough sleep himself but still graciously took care of us. Thanks, Jonny, for making our lives much easier!
Beautiful King Street Station in Seattle
We were a bit early and the train station was quite empty at that hour.
I had time to go around and admire this gorgeous station.
There was no signs or anything to tell people what to do. I found out that we need to check our bags inside the ticket office when I was walking around the station. I even talked to that same person earlier and he did not mention about the baggage check. Maybe I scared him when I walked in the first time while he was concentrating on his computer. He did not show any courtesy at all. Somehow, this was what my impression of most of the Amtrak staff. Cold, care less, and sometimes rude. I wonder why? We are the paying customers, it's not a free ride!
Even though we were first in line, when they started checking in, people just cut in shamelessly. Maybe because there's a big gap between the start of the line and the check-in counter. People just rushed toward the counter ignoring that big old line that was already formed. And the staff, of course, they couldn't care less. Oh well, I guess there's always some DYKWIA (Do you know who I am?) kind of people!
We found our seats in the last car. Spacious seats for the next 36 hours and off we went!
Lakeland, where we spent a few nights earlier at ET/AT's house.
One of the reasons that I wanted a train ride was to 'see things' along the route. It's much more interesting than flying on a plane.
There must be some history behind this one.
And the scenery...
Small cabin on the lower deck, mainly for disabled and families with small children.
Restrooms are all located on the lower deck, right outside of the small cabin.
A small station along the way.
First stop where we were able to get off for a stretch--Portland Union Station.
Most people were off the train either to get food, smoke, or just walk around a little.
Later on that evening, we were way up on the mountain tops in southern Oregon, and I must say that it was just gorgeous!
We brought food with us this time since we were not planning to eat in the dining car. After a simple dinner of PB sandwiches we were ready for bed. I thought it would be OK sleeping in those seats, but it turned out that it was a painful night. Several times I woke up with either neck or back pain, very uncomfortable! I promised myself that I will never take another overnight train ride again unless I can have a bed.
By early morning we arrived Sacramento, California.
I remember that building.
After our simple breakfast, we figured that it was time for us to try out the lounge car which was 3 cars up front. We had stayed in our seats the whole first day and the lounge car was so much better in sight seeing. The views were incredible and most of the time not crowded. We practically stayed here the whole second day until after Simi Valley, when they had to close that part of the train.
I believe this was Oakland Station.
Arrived at San Luis Obispo Station
After the stop at San Luis Obispo, the train route went along the California coastal region. Here is the sand dunes area near Oceano. We camped here in our RV a few years back and had a great time.
We did not see any whales on our week-long cruise, but on this day we had a few whale sightings near the coast. Just incredible!
Being in the lounge car really made this ride along the coast amazing.
Near Santa Barbara
After leaving Simi Valley station, we were told that we had to go back to our seats because they were closing down the lounge car. By then it was dark anyway and it was about time to get ready to leave the train. After confirming that no one will be getting off at the Burbank station, the train went straight to Union Station and we arrived before the schedule time of 9:00PM.
Taking the long walk through the 'tunnel'. They also had some golf carts transporting passengers from the train to the station.
Baggage Claim is to the right of this area.
After getting our bags, which they checked the claim tickets carefully, we walked through the waiting hall to the front of the station. We were in a hurry to meet MOR who was already waiting outside, barely had time to just snapped a few quick pictures.
The end of our two-week vacation!