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Author Topic: Coast Starlight
smitty195
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Thinking about taking a trip on #14 up to Seattle again. I liked it so much last time (after a 3/12 year self-imposed hiatus), I might just book another trip later this week. Depart from EMY so that I can just park my car there, or.....fly to LAX, spend the night, and go the for the whole gusto to see the coast? Decisions, decisions....I wouldn't normally post my thoughts, but I just wanted to see a different name in the "Topic Starter" category for a change of pace. [Wink]

Oh, and if I go for the gusto, that's going to cost me airfare from SFO to SEA, and one night's hotel in Los Angeles. Ugh...what to do! (Although this could give me an opportunity to try one of the new hotels in the GORGEOUS high-rise located adjacent to LA Live. Has anyone stayed there yet?).

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George Harris
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Why fly to LA? Take the last San Joaquin south - leaves Emeryville at 6:00pm, connecting bus out of Bakersfield gets you to LA at 2:20am. Then you can just find a chair or corner to be semi-comatose until time to get up for breakfast and the Starlight.
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yukon11
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Smitty:

Do you have a safe & secure place to park if you drive up to Emeryville? What about driving over to San Jose and catching the Starlight. I believe you can get fairly secure parking downtown, or possibly park at a long-term parking lot at the San Jose airport. An advantage, with San Jose, is that the Starlight gets in at a much more reasonable time. Another possibility would be to drive up to Martinez and catch the CS there, although there may not be any secure parking in Martinez. Also, the CS doesn't get to Martinez until nearly 11 PM.

Richard

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notelvis
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Good for you Smitty........ mix the whole topic starter thing up a bit!

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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palmland
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Goodness, Smitty. Why not just take the Oakland section of the Lark. It'll have you in LAUPT by 8:00am.

Or, if you must fly, how about an $85 Southwest flight Oakland to the friendly Burbank airport - and save the LA shuffle - then a Surfliner to Santa Barbara for the night. Or it's possible to do a same day connection there to the Starlight, if you don't mind an early am flight from Oakland.

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smitty195
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Well, to answer some of the questions and to clarify:

There are two main reasons why I'm debating where to leave from (LAX or EMY):

1) If I leave from LAX, I get the gorgeous views along the coast. Miles and miles of beaches and oceans. It's so gorgeous--I've never grown tired of it, even though I have the whole thing memorized.

2) If I leave from EMY (which I have done before), if the train is on-time, then when I board the train it will be almost 10PM. By that time on the train, all beds are down and the diner is closed. I feel funny getting on a train ready for a trip, and all I do is get on and go to sleep. When I get on an LD train, I'm ready to see some sights or something!

So, those are the reasons why I am considering leaving from LA.

George: I've considered that in the past, but I'm not a kid any more. I really have no desire to sleep on a chair in the Amtrak Los Angeles waiting room in the middle of the night. Now if I could go directly to my sleeper, that would be an entirely different story. [Smile]

Yukon: Actually, the very closest Amtrak station to me is Martinez. I could easily park long-term there. However, that goes back to my idea of not wanting to miss the coast that we see south of Oxnard. BTW, a note about parking long-term at EMY. If anyone is concerned about parking in Amtrak's long-term and non-secure lot, you can park in the secured parking garage (located left of the depot). Go the garage where the gate is, and follow the instructions. I think you get a ticket and then pay once you return (into a machine). But it is open for Amtrak passengers, but it is not advertised.

palmland: No, no, no on the Lark. Heh heh...If I'm going to take a long distance train, I want to sleep and experience the whole deal. When I've done EMY-LAX on #11 in the past, my room is dirty because the attendant was too lazy to clean it before I got there (from the other passengers who had it before me, somewhere between Seattle and EMY). And then as far as real meals in the diner, I would get lunch and I think an abbreviated dinner. I could do this trip, but I would be missing so much-----I have to go north. Now the $85 flight to BUR, Surfliner to SBA (meet Frank maybe?), and then 14 the next day----that's a possibility. Hadn't thought of that one before. Let me look into that to see how do-able that would be.

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HopefulRailUser
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Great idea Smitty, meet Frank in SBA. Do this all on July 1st and you can travel with me and Art. We will be in a roomette just for the day, getting off in Oakland for the SF transfer and our cruise.

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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Gilbert B Norman
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One of the more memorable moments from my train riding, i.e. joyride, days was riding Southward on The Lark during December 1963. My Roomette was on Engineer side and I opened the shade somewhere near Vandberg AFB, the weather was crystal clear.....the view....what can I say.

Breakfast was in the triple-unit Lark Club descending Santa Susana Pass. All I can say, if the SP hated passenger trains, it sure wasn't manifested upon the three hundred or so passengers (200+ Pullman) aboard The Lark that day.

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RR4me
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Smitty, I haven't taken the CS since 2005, but IMHO, I think you should fly to LA. I think the route along the ocean is a treat never to be missed if one has the opportunity.
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George Harris
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Smitty:

Then I would be inclined, budget and time permitting, to avoid the bus/chair night to ride down the valley earlier and spend the night in a bed in LA.

We have a kid in Fresno so have done the trains down the valley between Emeryville and Fresno several times. The reliability of these trains both in performance and services can really spoil you.

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smitty195
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Okay, I think it has been decided. I will of course fly down on Virgin America, and then spend the night in one of the new "LA Live" hotels. Not sure which properties are there, but I'll do some Googling to find out. I stayed at the Omni (my usual) a few months ago, and WOW has that hotel changed. They did a very nice refurbishment of the entire property (it was badly needed). So if the LA Live hotels are sold out, then I'll just hit up the Omni again (they have free Town Car service to Union Station).

As for the date, that's gonna be a toughie. I've got to to some schedule bending to try to figure this one out. I saw your message, Vicki. That would be really neat if I could do that!

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Railroad Bob
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
One of the more memorable moments from my train riding, i.e. joyride, days was riding Southward on The Lark during December 1963. My Roomette was on Engineer side and I opened the shade somewhere near Vandberg AFB, the weather was crystal clear.....the view....what can I say.

"Southward" for the SP was actually "eastward,"
wasn't it, Gil? Any train going toward Market Street was a Westbound, IIRC...just an SP curiosity. Still a great memory to relate; there were even some Amtrak psgrs and crew who got to see the view you describe-- those lucky ones who managed to get a trip on the mysterious and short-lived "Spirit of California" Amtrak night train LAX-SAC-LAX. I believe it departed 8:30 PM daily from each end. You'd get that fabulous sunrise right about where the Lark did; going "easterly." You could actually smell the sharp salt spray while crossing between the Heritage sleeper (usually a 10/6) and the adjoining Amfleet car. This was early mid 80s, then it was gone to visit the Lark-- That sunrise over the Pacific was truly incredible; what a way to start your day, along with a steaming cup of fresh coffee from the porter-- [Wink]

Enjoy your trip - Smitty~~

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Gilbert B Norman
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Timetable East - quite correct RR Bob, and I should know better.

The Octopus extended its tentacles from 65 Market East to Portland, Ogden, and New Orleans.

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