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Portland, OR To Los Angeles, CA On Amtrak's Coast Starlight
Fall Amtrak Vacation Trip 2006
Portland, OR To Los Angeles, CA
On Amtrak's Coast Starlight
Wednesday-Thursday, September 27th-28th, 2006

Amtrak Train #11 - The Coast Starlight taking a break at
Oakland-Jack London Square, CA On Thursday Morning, September 28th, 2006

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006:

   After settling into my coach seat, we departed Portland, ON TIME at 2:25pm! Our conductor made a brief safety announcement and our Dining Car attendant announced they would be coming by to take reservations for dinner. I was seated in Superliner I Coach #34030. The consist for today's train is shown at the bottom of this page. One of the first things I noticed is that this train has no Pacific Parlor Car for the sleeper passengers. It has been rumored now for awhile that this car was to be eliminated, the rumors are sad and highly unfortunate, I certainly hope they aren't true, we shall see! The car featured a library, lounge area for sleeper passengers along with beverage service and wine tasting. We arrived early at our next stop of Salem, OR and departed once again on time. An announcement was made that all sleeping car passengers should come to the Dining Car for wine & cheese tasting. This was originally done on the Pacific Parlor Car and now I’m beginning to think it might be eliminated also in due time. I felt rather privileged in this coach as this was the only one of the 3 coaches that had AC outlets in it!
   We left our next stop in Albany, OR just 3 minutes late at 4:13pm. An announcement was made that the next smoking break would be in Eugene, OR at the Eugene-Springfield, OR station stop. We had one freight to wait for just outside the station at Eugene. I stepped off the train in Eugene, took some slides and walked around. The temperature must have been in the mid 80’s because it was very warm. I was told by another passenger near me that it’s normal for Eugene to be warmer than Portland due to geographic location. We left Eugene at 5:10pm on time. I chatted with a couple passengers seated near me and enjoyed the scenery as we wouldn’t be stopping again until Chemult, OR which was nearly 3 hours (according to the schedule) away. I had a dinner reservation for 7:45pm, as I took in views of the impressive Cascade Mountains. It was at this point I began thinking about the possibility of upgrading to a sleeper. The last time I did this was in 2003 and it didn’t go very smoothly, but that was 2003 and this is 2006 and I’m also on a different train in a different time zone no less!
   I walked through the train and found the Assistant Conductor in the Sightseer Lounge and he radioed the Conductor to inquire about a price for an upgrade from Klamath Falls, OR to Los Angeles. The price for a Roomette tonight was $113.00. I told the AC that I would get back to him as I had a 7:45pm dinner reservation. He had no problem with my request to get back to him so I headed to the Dining Car and was seated with a woman from Montana along with another passenger who didn’t talk much. I decided to have “This Evening’s Special” which was Chicken Fried Steak. I had this before on the Lake Shore Limited a couple years ago and remember it being very good so I figured I’d try it again. I had Mashed Potatoes and Rice Pilaf along with a Dinner Salad and roll, with a Diet Pepsi to drink and the Mississippi Mud Pie with whipped cream on it for dessert. Total cost for dinner was $19.25 and all the food was delicious.
    After dinner, I was directed to one of the sleepers to find the Conductor who took my credit card and started doing the necessary paperwork while I made 2 trips back to my coach seat to pick up my baggage and walked through the train with it to the “1131 Sleeper”. The Conductor gave me an actual ticket that I had to sign and showed me only one copy of the ticket had my credit card number on it for their billing department. This was my second onboard upgrade in all of my Amtrak travel and this time it was done right! In 2003, when I last attempted this, I was told later on that the money I paid may have been stolen since I was never issued a ticket on that trip for the upgrade (I also paid cash for the upgrade on that trip). I was assigned to Room #11 on the lower level of refurbished Superliner I Sleeper # 32013. This car was actually refurbished for the Empire Builder but somehow ended up on this train. The Sleeper Attendant tonight took care of setting up the room for sleeping right away as I arrived. I took some pictures of it all set up for sleeping. At our next stop in Klamath Falls (where I now officially became a Sleeping Car Passenger), I stepped off the train to get some air. I do indeed believe we left Klamath Falls close to on time. I then took a shower but had to use the shower in the next sleeper since the shower in my car was only trickling out water. Afterwards, I went into the lounge car and called my Aunt whose house I’ll be staying at once I get to my final destination to let her know we were on time. I then went to bed for the first night in a real bed since last Sunday in Sandusky, OH!
Thursday, September 28th, 2006:
   I only woke up maybe once or twice overnight as the bed was quite comfortable, even for a big guy like myself (I’m 6’2”) and around 6:30am, I woke up while we were sitting in the station at Sacramento, CA. We got there early and I got up, grabbed a glass of orange juice out of one of the unoccupied rooms where the crew left us pop, juice, milk and snacks. I got some air on the platform and at around 6:35am, we left once again on time from Sacramento. I then got a phone call from a buddy in Atlanta, GA who forgot I was 3 hours behind him when he called but I was up so no biggie! I tried to get a little more sleep then at 7:30am, the first call for breakfast in the Dining Car was made as I walked to the car. I was seated with a passenger from Seattle who was getting off in Emeryville, CA as well as a passenger who I was seated with on the Empire Builder two nights before who was on his way home to Saratoga, CA! I had the French Toast with Pork Sausage Patties with Orange Juice to drink, total cost, NADA! Based on when I upgraded to a sleeper, I should be getting 3 Complimentary Dining Car meals out of this deal, incredible!
   We stopped at Emeryville which is the San Francisco connection stop while I was eating breakfast. Our next stop was Oakland-Jack London Square. It was another smoking break for the train so I got off there and took a few slides of the train. I also had a brief chat with an Amtrak manager who handled the stations all the way to somewhere in Colorado. We left Oakland once again on time! The only delays we incurred thus far were just before San Jose as we had to wait for 2 other trains to pass, but not freight trains, nope, they both were passenger trains! At San Jose, our Conductor said it’s possible we may get to Los Angeles EARLY!!! We left San Jose around 10:18am still only running maybe 11 minutes late. The Sleeper Attendant came by and switched my bed back to regular seating in the sleeper and I set up the laptop and continued writing this travelogue.
   We rode through Salinas, CA and stopped there as well. This seems to be the salad bowl capital of the known universe as far as for miles and miles, there were huge farms growing everything from lettuce to radishes to things I couldn’t even identify! I had lunch while we were in the Salinas area. Today, I had the Angus Beef Burger with Potato Chips with a Diet Pepsi and the Mississippi Mud Pie, all very good. I was seated with a passenger on her way to California to visit family. We eventually stopped in Paso Robles, CA running a little late but no big deal. An announcement was made for all Sleeping Car passengers to come to the Dining Car for wine and cheese tasting! I’ve never done this before so this was another first on this trip for me! I tried 3 glasses of wine, all from California wineries, I know about as much about wine as most people do about astrophysics, but the overall sentiment in the car was that all of the wine was very good. All of the wines we sampled were decent. They also had cheese and cracker plates set up for us as well. The scenery just north of San Luis Obispo was incredible, huge valleys and lots of winding turns and tunnels on the railroad.
    At San Luis Obispo, we ended up leaving on time and eventually met up with the Pacific Ocean! My dinner reservation was set for 4:45pm as the Dining Car was doing a short dinner period since we were on time this whole way. I had the Chicken Fried Steak again with a Baked Potato and Rice Pilaf with a Diet Pepsi and Mississippi Mud Pie for dessert, all very good. I was seated with 2 passengers on their way to visit family in Fullerton, CA. After dinner, we arrived at 5:40pm in Santa Barbara, CA, our next stop, we got there way too early so we stayed there until our scheduled departure at 6:17pm. I took one final photo of the train there and after we left, still on time, I took a nice photo of the sunset and continued this travelogue. I spent some more time just relaxing in my sleeper car as we stopped in Oxnard, CA when I called my cousin who lives in North Hollywood. She told me she was 10 minutes from where I was when I called her! Our next two stops were to drop off passengers only, they were at Simi Valley, CA and Van Nuys, CA. I spent a little time in the Sightseer Lounge at the end of this trip and had a quick chat with another passenger before going back to the sleeper one last time. Our Sleeper Attendant was getting all of our luggage together and shortly after the train crew’s farewell announcement, we arrived at Los Angeles at 8:32pm, 28 MINUTES EARLY!!!!!
   I picked up my bags on the platform and headed for the station. After waiting in the waiting room and calling home, I requested some change to use the vending machine. The ticket agent who gave me the change as well as myself started laughing when she thought I was an Amtrak Employee since I had a blue Amtrak baseball cap on, we both chuckled since I told her that no, I don't work for Amtrak but give them all kinds of free advertising! So much so I had to pay Amtrak for the hat I was wearing! (I bought it from Amtrak's online store for $11.00). I picked up a bottle of Diet Pepsi and made the long walk out to the platform where I would board my next train. And now, check out the link below for the exciting photos taken on the Coast Starlight. For a quick little report on my 32 minute ride to Fullerton, CA, also click below...
Amtrak's Coast Starlight - Wednesday, September 27th, 2006 - 48 Axles
Car/Engine Type:
Heritage Baggage
Baggage Car (Converted From Coach)
Superliner II Transition Sleeper
Crew Sleeper
Superliner I Sleeper
Sleeping Car
Superliner I Sleeper
Sleeping Car (My Sleeping Car)
Superliner I Sleeper
Sleeping Car
Superliner II Diner
Dining Car
Superliner I Sightseer Lounge
Cafe/Lounge Car
Superliner I Coach
Superliner I Coach/Baggage
Superliner I Coach