2010 Amtrak Vacation


California Zephyr

Coast Starlight

San Francisco, CA

Laughlin, NV

The Southwest Chief Amtrak Train Route


   The Southwest Chief runs from Chicago to Los Angeles in both directions daily.   We will be picking it up in Kingman Arizona at 2am bus a bus trip from Laughlin Nevada.

   Scenic sights along the way will mesmerize you by this region's beauty and allure. We'll take you across the mighty Mississippi through eight states—past wheat fields and ranches, missions and pueblos, mountains and deserts. Carving through curving canyon passages only a few feet wider than the train itself, you'll see spectacular landscapes and pristine vistas not visible from interstate highways.

Amtrak Links
Amtraks Southwest Chief web page



Train Schedule

Our Trip

This portion of our trip started at 11:50 Thursday night as we left our room with are rolling luggage.   The Amtrak Bus stop was across the street at the Tropicana Express Casino in Laughlin.   We arrive early along with 5 others and we headed to Kingman Arizona by way of a 10 passenger bus.  It was a 45 minute ride to Kingman where we waited in a small Amtrak waiting room till the train arrived.   We had added a roomette sleeper to this portion of the trip along the way, which was very nice to have the room made up for sleeping when we boarded.   We settled into the room and proceeded to fall alseep in no time.  During the night we had traveled thru Arizona and where now in New Mexico.

Woke up about 8:50 and thought I heard last call for breakfast and I was dress and gone.  JoAnn ask me to bring something back for her.   After breakfast and 3 cups of coffee I surprised JoAnn with a complete breakfast with potatoes and real silverware and a cloth napkin


After spending a little time in the room and converting it back to seating, I headed back to the observation car for more pictures and small talk.   We scheduled a late lunch and ate somewhere near Albuquerque  where we where seat with some young girls traveling I believe to somewhere near Kansas City.   Conversation was sorta flat.  I prefer sitting with older folks and listening to travel stories.

People boarding a sleeper car

Dinner was in somewhere between Raton, NM and Trinidad, Co with a couple maybe 15 years older.   He was a Veitnam Vet and had conservative political views much like mine.   Much better conversation had at dinner.   It was funny though when we sat down with them....as I sensed something from him, I think he was not so sure of us.  He soon seemed at ease.

The second day on the train was going to be our last, as the train was scheduled to get into Chicago at 3:20pm.   The only pictures I got that day where of crossing the Mississippi River I do believe.   Someone had told me that this train is usually late arriving into chicago and we where running about  30 minutes late already.   Thankfully we made up the time and arrived early in chicago allowing me to change our next portion of the trip.   We had been scheduled to take a later train & bus to Flint, MI.   Amtrak would not let us book the early one because it was to close in time.   Having got in at about 3pm I was able to book the 4:20pm train that went all the way to flint........Not having to transfer over to a bus was so much better as the train is just so much more comfy.   Not all was perfect though as we got to sit a seat over from some drunken redneck and his girlfriend fighting about her kids.   I really thought JoAnn was going to get me into trouble there, but all went well and he finally fell asleep and we had peace on the train.

My dad and Sue picked us up at the train station and we went back to there house in Holly and spent a few days visiting.

The End

This was, I would say, was our best vacation ever.    Not having to drive and be able to sit back and enjoy the ride is very relaxing.   Being able to walk around and both be able to see the sights, plus get away from each other on occasion makes traveling by Amtrak a must do vacation.   Plan ahead, plan for delays and keep you train travel portions to a 3 day max.
  If your budget allows book a roomette on any portion of your trip that you spend more the one night on the train.  If you shop carefully and book early you do not have to spend a fortune.

Thanks again to Dad and Sue for everything and for dad getting us to the train station in the snow storm.  To Jim and Mary, JoAnns brother and his wife in California for letting us stay the night and do laundry and added thanks to Mary for being our San Fransisco guide the first day there.   Thanks Greg for the lift to Laughlin, much appreciated .
Thanks everyone for helping make a great vacation.   
Matt & JoAnn

Southwest Chief Photo Page