Monday, December 12, 2011

On a Journey. . .riding the rails

IMG_0528As you know Gary & I are fulltime RVers whose primary mode of traveling is a GMC truck which tows our Escalade 5th wheel home.2007 Escalade DSC07097

But for the past three months, every three weeks I have been making a round trip from Salinas to Oxnard  on the AMRAK Coast Starlight train to be with my sister Micki.

AND. . .I have fallen in love with this new, for me anyway, mode of transportation! This leisurely relaxing way to travel makes me imagine that I have gone back in time to an earlier more simple era.  (Yes, it does take longer-about 6 1/2 hours vs 4 1/2 driving time for the 269 mile trip.) 

The Coast Starlight runs from Los Angeles to Seattle. coaststarlight-map

I grew up in Minot, North Dakota (see far right top of map) and was always fascinated by, but never had a chance to ride, the Empire Builder which stopped in our town.

Me and my friends Danny, Evie, Sandy and Bonnie at the Minot Depot.  We were seeing Bonnie off to live in far away California.station girlsI took this picture from my window.  As the train winds up and through California’s Santa Inez mountains the tracks make a huge curve.   I can see the engine and first few cars of the train.DSCN6611Listening to the click of the steel wheels against the steel rails is soothing.  Take a look at the seat size and legroom compared to the total lack of on a plane.  Also, NO 3 oz. restrictions on liquids, sharp objects such as nail files, NO security lines, NO body scans, NO pat-down searches (I ALWAYS get chosen for these.)  You can get up and stretch your legs, walk to the Lounge Car, make reservations for lunch and/or dinner in the full-service Dining Car, buy snacks in the CafĂ© or Snack Car.DSCN6587One of the train stations along the route is El Paso de Robles --- “The Pass of the Oaks”.DSCN6597We have traveled Highway 101 for years where only the not-so attractive back side of 1797 Mission San Miguel Arcangel is visible.  We’ve also visited almost all of of the 21 missions that comprise California's Historic Mission Trail but not San Miguel.  It is now on our list!DSCN6590A caboose!  Don’t see them very often anymore.DSCN6632Pacific Ocean sunsets taken through my window.DSCN6444


Me, waiting for the Coast Starlight train.


P.S. After all of my talk about loving to ride the rails, I have to tell you that it was 45” late on this day!  Still love it!


  1. That does look like a great ride - and I know you enjoy seeing your sister - hope she is getting better. sandie

  2. Great photos! The kids and I have taken the train a couple of times. It was always late. And the one from Chicago to San Antonio seemed like it would never, ever end. 36 hours! Never again! 6-1/2 I could handle. :) Thanks for stopping by my corner of the world. Best wishes, Tammy

  3. It is almost a lost way to travel it seems (at least in the U.S.) When I was younger, my family rode thre train across the whole country and I had a sleeper car all to myself. I felt like I was in a movie!

  4. Dixie & I traveled to Minot, ND from Ohio a few years back. Except for the Ohio connection and Chicago, it was a great trip! We had a small room on the Empire Builder and were plenty comfortable. Meals were included in that class. Shower was in a car following.

    The Ohio connection was in Sandusky, Ohio, about 1 1/2 hours or so from home, and was a 6:00am departure for Chicago. Motel overnight for that one. The return at 2:30am arrival was worse! And the motel managed to charge me double on my AmEx, which was fixed by AmEx.

    Union station in Chicago is almost nightmarish.

    But still, we had a great time and I'd do it again.


  5. Your RV is undeniably extravagant. I wouldn’t bother to ask why you love taking numerous trips with it. It’s simply gorgeous, it makes traveling easier, and I can tell that it can provide you anything you need at anytime. =) With regards to your journey, I would like to congratulate you for having that really unforgettable experience. You really do deserve it. =)

    Rosalinda Rudloff