What it is like to take a 35-hour ride on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train

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  • TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

    The Coast Starlight lounge car or truck attributes floor-to-ceiling windows and lounge chairs exactly where all passengers can delight in the views.

It requires 35 hours to get from Los Angeles to Seattle on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train. Thirty-5. Hours.

Tasked with discovering out what it is like to ride a train for a day and a half, I armed myself with books and crosswords to combat boredom, an added hoodie to serve as blanket and pillow leverage, and a bag of toiletries to limit my personal contributions to the odors of the showerless.

I figured that even if I was cramped, cranky and wild with cabin fever by Hour eight, at least I’d be entertained and perfumed.

Here’s how it all went down.

10 a.m.

Hour 1 Place: Union Station, Los Angeles

I boarded with ease at Union Station a half-hour ahead of our 10 a.m. departure time the train was appropriate on time. On board I had my decision of seats, and stretched out into a surprisingly roomy seat that would be my workspace, bed and possibly my torment for the subsequent 35 hours.

IF YOU GO: COAST STARLIGHT
&gt&gt Ask your car or truck attendant which side of the train to sit on for the finest views.
&gt&gt Bring your personal snacks to save some cash and absolutely free your self from the mercy of the lounge-car or truck and dining-car or truck hours.

Prices
&gt&gt Coach, $58
&gt&gt Enterprise, $89 (consists of two bottles of water and Wi-Fi — even though it wasn’t functioning on my ride)
&gt&gt Sleeper, $254 (consists of meals in the dining car or truck)
* Prices differ, these are primarily based on 2018 prices from Rail Passenger Association

MEALS
&gt&gt Breakfast, $eight.50-$13.75
&gt&gt Lunch, $12.50-$14.50
&gt&gt Dinner, $16.50-$39 (children’s meals accessible)
&gt&gt Bar selections are accessible.

About the Coast Starlight
&gt&gt The Los Angeles to Seattle route is 1,377 miles.
&gt&gt 10.7% of Coast Starlight passengers take trips of 1,000 miles or much more.
&gt&gt The Los Angeles-­to-Seattle route is the second most preferred Coast Starlight route.
&gt&gt Extra information: Click right here

I settled into a virtually empty small business class car or truck (it was only $30 much more than a coach ticket), exactly where I was greeted by small business-class car or truck attendant Raymond Luna who reassured me when I told him Seattle was my location.

“Oh you are with me all the way?” he stated, “OK, I got you.”

11 a.m.

Hour two Place: Simi Valley, Calif.

The ocean views started in earnest and had been definitely spectacular. At occasions, the train ventured closer to the coast than the highway and provided glimpses of beaches so isolated they seemed like tiny desert islands.

In the lounge car or truck, passengers sit in swiveling chairs facing the floor-to-ceiling windows that run along each sides of the car or truck, some excitedly hold cellphone cameras to the glass, whilst other people just blend into the charming scene as they sip wine and study in the organic light as the countryside jogs previous.

A lot of of the views along the way are as outstanding as I’d imagined. In southern California, the sunny beaches and vast ocean views appear to stretch from appropriate below the wheels of the train all the way to the ends of the earth. In northern California and Oregon, the snowy landscape appears at occasions to press appropriate up against the train windows ahead of breaking open into vast valleys that actually sparkle as the sun gleams off the snow, streams and lakes.

Even the much more mundane scenes of everyday life captured the imagination as we passed by means of residential locations and caught momentary glimpses into backyards.

four p.m.

Hour six Place: San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Just just after the San Luis Obispo station we passed the tall, foreboding walls of the California Men’s Colony, a prison. From the train, I spied a little courtyard, exactly where a couple of prisoners wandered along the confined circular path. Such a sobering contrast to the privilege of my thousand-mile journey up the coast.

five p.m.

Hour 7 Place: Paso Robles, Calif.

I would have believed that seven hours of staring out the window may make me antsy to move about, but I had to tear my eyes away from the window to attempt to get some function completed. Unsuccessful, I nodded off and woke up to an announcement that the dining car or truck was accepting dinner reservations.

six-9 p.m.

Hours eight-11 Place: Salinas to Oakland, Calif.

The dining-car or truck expertise is fundamentally an awkward social experiment. If you are rolling solo like I was, the dining-car or truck attendants will seat you in a 4-particular person booth with 3 strangers and leave you to navigate conversational land mines.

My tablemates had been a father and son from Arizona and a teacher from the Bay Region. We dutifully produced conversation out of the menu selections. I chose the thyme roasted chicken breast ($18.50) and didn’t regret it. The mashed potatoes had the slightest taste of cardboard that indicated they possibly came from a box, but I was shocked to locate the chicken was tender, juicy and properly-seasoned.

Quickly we graduated to much more intriguing subjects. The father and son had also boarded in L.A. and had been Seattle-bound. They planned on jumping appropriate back on the train just after they arrived in Seattle to go straight back to L.A. They had been on a sort of father-son retreat, they stated.

10 p.m.

Hour 12 Place: Emeryville, Calif.

Back in my seat, I stayed awake, staring out the window till the lights from San Francisco shining across the bay disappeared and the views faded into pitch darkness. Luna handed out pillows, and generously provided me a second pillow with a appear that stated, “trust me, you will need to have it.”

11 p.m.-7 a.m.

Hours 13-21 Place: Martinez, Calif., to Klamath Falls, Ore.

I attempted the knee-hug, but swiftly abandoned it for a strong recline, which at some point morphed into a semi-upright fetal position across the two seats, happily unobstructed by an armrest. I didn’t sleep quite properly. But when I woke up to snow-covered evergreens of southern Oregon sweeping previous my window I swiftly forgot about the cramp in my neck.

9 a.m.

Hour 23 Place: Chemult, Ore.

This time I had a table to myself in the dining car or truck, accompanied by a book and a coffee, and a cozy wintry scene outdoors my window.

In spite of a disappointing breakfast, absolutely nothing could ruin the appeal of enjoying a cup of coffee with a snow mountainscape brushing previous the windows and an adorable couple sitting subsequent to every single other a handful of booths away hunting out at the snow.

three-six p.m.

Hours 29-32 Place: Portland, Ore., to Olympia-­Lacey

Hours passed ahead of I looked up from my book to locate the snowy landscape had turn into lush green. Luna announced more than the speakers that we had been nearing Portland and advised us to move to the left of the train if we wanted the finest views of Puget Sound en route to Seattle.

six-9 p.m.

Hours 33-35 Final location: Seattle

In the final hours of my trip, I felt like I was only just gaining a degree of fluency in train life. I’d discovered how to stroll a straightish line in rhythm with the jostling vehicles, and had new theories on sleeping positions I wanted to attempt.

A couple of hours just after sunset absconded with the Puget Sound views, the train employees started to bustle about the vehicles, generating preparations for arrival in Seattle.

I was shocked to locate that I wasn’t prepared for the trip to be more than! I’d just spent 35 hours on a train, and, regardless of the poor omelet and the awkward sleeping postures, I wanted much more time.

When I disembarked at King Street Station, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and turned to locate the father and son I’d met in the dining car or truck.

We shared a ride from the station, and I sent them off with properly wishes and a bit of envy that they’d be back on the train the subsequent day. Back at house, the envy and nostalgia waned just after a hot shower and a superior night’s rest in my personal bed.

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