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Coast Starlight (train travel)

Rose Pink

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Any experiences to share with this travel from LA to Seattle?

How about the Pacific Surfliner? It goes from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.

We are thinking of going from San Diego to Seattle early next fall. Wanting to know if driving a car would be bettter--it's more flexible with sightseeing but not having to drive and stop at motels along the way would also be nice.
 

kapish

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Glad you are doing the research now...

I am looking for the story that ran on the San Jose Mercury News about the Coast Starlight that was days late. I have heard this train is SO slow, and always late!

While I am looking for that article, check out this blog.Look for the story about the train about midway down the page titled: "Are We There Yet, Mommy?"
 

swift

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We have taken the train several times from the Bay Area to Santa Barbara. We really enjoy it. It is a nice relaxing way to travel. The kids always make friends and they enjoy not being tied to a seat for hours. The only thing is you have to take it with the mind set that you are not in a hurry to get any where. I always plan my arrival date at least 1 day ahead from when I want to check into my timeshare. Most of the time even 2 days. When we arrive at Santa Barbara we rent a car, get a hotel and enjoy that area a little bit. Then drive down further South to Carlsbad or San Diego.
 

Rose Pink

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Thanks for the heads up about tardiness. I'm not overly concerned about that but Kapish's link had other negatives such as smells (indicating a lack of cleanliness in my mind) and poor service. I think taking our own car would be better.
 

rhonda

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I've taken the Surfliner between San Diego and Santa Barbara a couple times. The ride takes longer than driving ... but is pleasant. I've found the rail cars to be clean, comfortable ... and laptop ready (table/power).
 

DaveNV

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I think taking our own car would be better.


Driving from San Diego to Seattle is a phenomenal trip, if you can plan ahead, and stay on the Coast. Up the California coastline gives you access to everything you already know is cool: Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, San Simeon, Big Sur, Monterey Peninsula, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, then up through Sonoma County on 101, and through the northern California coast redwoods, on the way through Eureka and Crescent City.

And then the Oregon Coast brings even more cool places and things to see: Brookings, Bandon, Florence, Newport, Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Astoria, among a lot of other great towns.

Cross over into Washington, and you can explore the southeast coastline, Cape Disappointment (named by Lewis and Clark, for obvious reasons), then through the Long Beach peninsula, cut over through Raymond to Grays Harbor, and head East to find I-5 in the Olympia area, then up to Seattle. From Seattle you're only a couple of hours to Vancouver, BC, the San Juan Islands, the Olympic Peninsula, up over Snoqualmie Pass to some extraordinary scenery in Eastern Washington.

On your return trip, stick to I-5 to save time, and you can still see Mt. St. Helens, Portland, Mt. Hood, the Willamette Valley in Oregon, cool places like Ashland and Grants Pass, by the Rogue River, then Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff and Redding, down through the California Gold Rush country, down the San Jaoquin Valley with its miles of farmland, up over the Grapevine, through the maze of L.A. freeways, (side trip to Beverly Hills?), and further South, back to San Diego.

An excellent vacation, and LOTS more to see and do than you'll ever be able to take in on one trip. Man, I'm tried just talking about it! LOL! :hysterical:

Dave
 

rachel1998

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We have taken the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle a number of times. The first time it was wonderful. A couple years later we did it again and it was very late and the service was terrible. Then we rode it again a little over a year ago and it was wonderful again. They are trying to improve their service and such. We were early arriving the last time. I love the trip up to Seattle.
 

Luanne

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We took it once (roundtrip) from the Bay Area to Seattle. It was enjoyable, but about one night on the train was all I could take as I did not sleep well at all. The food was better than expected and it was nice for both of us to be able to relax and enjoy the scenery. Yes, it ran late, but we had been expecting that.
 

Rose Pink

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Driving from San Diego to Seattle is a phenomenal trip, Dave

Even more phenomenal (or ridiculous depending on one's persepective) since we will be starting from SLC. One son lives in San Diego and the other will be living in Bremerton. DH and I talked about going to visit San Diego son and wife and then driving up to see the other son and family. It was the San Diego son who suggested we all take the train.

At this point, I am considering flying into San Diego, riding in DS's car up the coast and then flying home from Seattle--DS/wife can drive back to San Diego. Don't know if he'll go for all that driving but he's younger than we are. :D I really don't want to drive all the way back to San Diego and then back to SLC. The only way not to do that if we are driving is for DH and I to take our car and DS/wife to take their car separately. We wanted to travel together. If DH and I take our car, we will head back to SLC from Seattle without going back through California.

Wanted to add that DH and I have driven up the coast before. It's been awhile but we enjoyed it.
 
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Rose Pink

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We took it once (roundtrip) from the Bay Area to Seattle. It was enjoyable, but about one night on the train was all I could take as I did not sleep well at all. The food was better than expected and it was nice for both of us to be able to relax and enjoy the scenery. Yes, it ran late, but we had been expecting that.

Did you get a sleeping room or just sleep in your seat? I remember as a youngster taking the Portland Rose to Chicago to visit relatives. It seems like it was a three day trip. We couldn't afford a sleeper car so we had to sleep on the benches. It was miserable then--don't think I could do that now.
 

Rose Pink

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We have taken the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle a number of times. The first time it was wonderful. A couple years later we did it again and it was very late and the service was terrible. Then we rode it again a little over a year ago and it was wonderful again. They are trying to improve their service and such. We were early arriving the last time. I love the trip up to Seattle.

Sounds like it's a gamble on whether or not we'll get acceptable service.
 

rachel1998

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We have always gotten a sleeping car. It you get the regular sleeping compartment it is something like sleeping in a phone booth. The bedroom is much larger and very comfortable. The price of both sleepers includes all meals. I think everyone should try it once. It is very relaxing.
 

Luanne

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Did you get a sleeping room or just sleep in your seat? I remember as a youngster taking the Portland Rose to Chicago to visit relatives. It seems like it was a three day trip. We couldn't afford a sleeper car so we had to sleep on the benches. It was miserable then--don't think I could do that now.

We had the Family sleeping car. That gave us 4 "bunks". Our older dd was already a little bit too long for her bunk. We spent very little time in the sleeping car, preferred to spend our time in the observation car.

Years and years ago my family took a trip from Los Angeles to Chicago. I remember it as being wonderful. We had a family car as well that had a bathroom in the sleeping car. The Family car we had on the Coast Starlight had a communal bathroom, not a private one.
 

rachel1998

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The regular bedrooms not the family bedrooms have private bathrooms. They are very nice but very expensive.
 

Luanne

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The regular bedrooms not the family bedrooms have private bathrooms. They are very nice but very expensive.

Hmmm, I thought on the train we went on none of the bedrooms had private bathrooms. Maybe it's changed since we went.
 

rachel1998

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No, I have been on the train many times and the regular bedrooms, not the economy bedrooms have bathroom. They are very small but they are right in the room.
 

Rose Pink

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Thank you for your replies and the information. This is going to take some serious decision-making.
 

Luanne

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No, I have been on the train many times and the regular bedrooms, not the economy bedrooms have bathroom. They are very small but they are right in the room.

On the Coast Starlight? I'm going to go and double check the Amtrak website as I am 99.9% sure they were no private bathrooms. And the family sleeper was certainly not what I would consider an economy bedroom.

Okay, I checked the website. The Superliner Bedroom Suite does have its own bathroom. So, I stand corrected. I don't know whether this wasn't available when we went, or if it was less expensive for the four of us to have the Family Sleeper. Anyway, for one night it wasn't too bad using the communal bathroom.
 
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