2010 Amtrak Vacation


California Zephyr

Southwest Chief

San Francisco, CA

Laughlin, NV

The Coast Starlight Amtrak Train Route


     Leaving San Francisco we will be heading to Los Angeles aboard the Coast Starlight.  Our journey is just over 12 hours long, so we have booked Coach seats for this part of the trip.   The Coast Starlight Route runs daily from Seatle, WA to Los Angeles, CA a 35 hour Journey.   
     The scenery along the Coast Starlight route is unsurpassed. The dramatic snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta, lush forests, fertile valleys and long stretches of Pacific Ocean shoreline provide a stunning backdrop for your journey.

Amtrak Links
Amtraks Coast Starlight web page


Train Schedule

Our Trip

   After spending a wonderful 2 days in San Francisco we took an early morning taxi ride to the Amtrak building for a short bus ride to Oakland CA to pick up the Coast Starlight Train to Los Angeles.  The train departed at 9am as scheduled.
We settled into our reserved coach seats after leaving the bulk of our luggage downstairs.  Of course I brought the camera and computer with me to our very roomy and comfy seats.   Train seats are nothing like Plane and bus seats as there is close to 3 feet of leg room and plenty of overhead room for bags.

The first portion of the trip after getting out of the city was farm land and mountains.   I spent a lot of time in the observation care taking pictures and talking to fellow travelers.   The train was running late which meant we would not get much sun light for the ocean part of the trip.   We did however make up the time and arrived in Los Angeles on time.
Though we enjoyed the trip immensely, the lush green farms and mountain views nothing stands out as a highlight.
 We only had a few hours of viewing the Pacific ocean, but we enjoyed what we got.

We had planned ahead and had half a sub each, The Philly Cheese Steak's from Jake's Steaks........Yummy.

We where lucky enough to have a train historian sitting right in front of us to narrate our trip.   Of course that is open to opinion as to whether or not we where Lucky.   Though his narration was better then his daughters.   I will say they where very friendly and helpful, though maybe long winded.

Decides the snack bar attended the crew was friendly and pleasant.   Though it is amazing how a grumpy person can suddenly become happy and joyful at quitting time, or should we say when the train gets to the station and he is free at last.

If we take the Amtrak Coast Starlight trip again or should I say when, we will go in the reverse order and leave from
Los Angeles and head north so we can view the ocean portion in daylight.   I would like to take it all the way to Seattle some day, then take Amtrak's Empire Builder Route back to Chicago.   Having now ridden 2 segments of the train portion of the vacation, we both have decided it is a great way to travel.  Sure it takes more time but it's the Journey that is the trip.

Los Angeles Union Station

As I stated earlier we made up time and arrived at the station on time.  I knew are hotel was just a block away but being after dark and lots of luggage I splurged or a taxi ride.   It seemed sort of silly but we did not know the area.   When we told the taxi driver where we where going he laughed.   It had been a slow night and he had waited 3 hours for a $3.75 fare.
  He was nice about it all, maybe a little sarcastic, I think I gave him $8 for his trouble.

We only spent the night in Los Angeles.   We headed to Vegas by Bus at 10:30 am  the next morning.   We then spent just one night in Vegas before heading to Laughlin Nevada for a 4 day stay.   This portion of the trip was planned to simplify travel.   First we did not want to spend time  in Los Angeles and the train would not have left till night and arrive in Kingman Arizona till 2 in the morning.   Something about getting off the train at that time did not appeal to me.   So the bus to Vegas in the morning worked out nice.   I got to play poker with my friend Greg in Vegas then He drove us to Laughlin the next day and we played some more poker at the Colorado Belle before he headed back home. 

Next portion of trip

Coast Starlight Photo Page