I booked a trip on the Empire Builder train, from Vancouver, WA to Whitefish, MT, this summer in July. I was going to meet with a few friends and relatives, from Santa Rosa, but I had to cancel the trip. The reason being some of the small group (not me) had health issues and decided they couldn't go.
I decided, as an alternative, to take the Coast Starlight to Seattle. I will be going alone. I hope that many or all of the Covid restrictions will be lessened by then. I will take the Starlight from Martinez to Seattle, then fly from Seattle to Bend, Oregon. I will have a rental car waiting in Bend for a 30 min. drive to Sisters, Oregon.
I spent a day in Sister 7-8 years ago. Sisters is sort of a "wild west" town. A lot of fun and beautiful surrounding areas. Two days in Sisters, one day in Bend, then a return to Seattle and the Starlight back to Martinez.
I found it a little strange that there aren't any flights from Portland to Bend. However, Alaska does have a 1 hr. flight from Seattle to Bend. I guess I could stop at Portland and take a bus or rent a car for the drive to Bend. However, I'm old and I don't like long auto drives. It's about 3+ hours from Portland to Bend. Another thing I don't like is getting off at the Portland Amtrak station. There is or has been a problem with homeless and vagrant people in and around the Portland Union station. A homeless camp nearby and a heroin clinic nearby. I don't want to get "hit up" for money to or from the station.
A little off subject. I will be tossing my Canon digital camera into my backpack, before boarding the train. I don't think of a cell phone as a camera. A camera is a Leica, Hasselblad, Nikon, or Canon.
But, I'm from the old school. I'm also thinking of taking along my old Canon 35 mm camera. I haven't used it in decades. However, are there any photo shops, around the country, which still sell and develop 35 mm film? I watched an interesting movie, last night, called "Kodachrome" and available on Netflix. It stars Ed Harris. Harris had the role of an elderly and dying photographer. He always used Kodachrome slide film, but found out that the only shop, left in America, which would sell and develop 35 mm film into slides was in Kansas. So, he, his son, and his nurse drove from the east coast to Kansas to develop his last rolls of 35 mm film.
Back to the Coast Starlight. I haven't taken the Starlight in many years. Do they have updated equipment, rolling stock, etc.? I hope the meals served, on board, are palatable.
They are starting to do a refresh on the Superliner equipment - mainly surface work new carpets, cushions, etc. youíll at least most likely have the new bedding which I prefer to the old. Luck of the draw whether you get a refreshed sleeper with the new seat cushions. As for food I personally find the relaunched traditional dining food service in the west a decent step above what they served pre-pandemic both in taste and presentation - the cafe is the same old same old. I started riding in mid 2010s so I donít have a frame of reference to how it was over the years, but most trip reviews Iíve seen recently also speak favorably about the food.
Posts: 6 | Registered: Jan 2022
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Thanks for the info. I really miss the old CS Pacific Parlor Car. And the cheese plate and wine, although I really didn't care for the Oregon and Washington wines that they served. I'm not a wine snob, but I favor Calif wines. I did like, however, the Columbia Crest wines out of Washington.
I do hope I will have a favorable impression regarding the food on board.