#1 9-5-2017 3:26 AM

nolan
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Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

After planning and visualizing the logistics of a Western USA roadtrip (see here => http://www.travbuddy.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=68179) I am considering a backup plan as many have cautioned me about driving in weather that may be unpredictable for December. So here is what I have thought of, which saves me the worries of driving as I will just focus on places and sights accessible by walking or public transport.

Amtrak 15 day Rail Pass ($469) https://www.amtrak.com/take-the-trains- … -rail-pass which allows for 8 segments/stops over a 15 day period.

https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobServer?blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobkey=id&blobcol=urldata&blobheader=image%2Fgif&blobwhere=1249314707721

So the possible routes are as follows:

Coast Starlight only from Los Angeles to Emeryville
https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobServer?blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobkey=id&blobcol=urldata&blobheader=image%2Fpng&blobwhere=1249390667227

California Zephyr
https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobServer?blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobkey=id&blobcol=urldata&blobheader=image%2Fpng&blobwhere=1249390667712

Texas Eagle
https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobServer?blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobkey=id&blobcol=urldata&blobheader=image%2Fpng&blobwhere=1249390667600

I can also take the Southwest Chief instead of the Texas Eagle.

Start date is November 27, 2017 Monday and end date is Friday, December 8, 2017.

I won't post my planned stops yet as these aren't final and I'd like to study the recommendations TravBuddies may have for the number of nights at each of the stops. And if some know the additional cost for getting Roomettes instead of reserved Coach class seats, that would be great (and of course, which segments I should use them on). I haven't decided which to go first, but maybe taking the California Zephyr before it snows in the Colorado Rockies would be a better option.

Finally, I intend to have TravBuddy meetups in Los Angeles, Phoenix/Tucson, mini-meetups in Denver, Dallas, maybe Chicago with TravBuddy friends.

 

#2 9-5-2017 5:07 AM

katzgar
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

switching to amtrak would be a mistake. Certainly the weather can be wintery in winter but you will miss a lot on the train as you will be constrained by what is close to the right of way.  amtrak goes to way fewer places than highways go.

 

#3 9-5-2017 7:00 AM

grandmar
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

I don't think you need to worry about driving in inclement weather on the California segment on the coast, but it might be more relaxing not to be driving. 

Most of the time in the east, we don't really get the big snowstorms until January.  But of course at higher elevations it gets cold and inclement earlier. 

I have been on a train from NY to Cleveland (many years ago - I think it was 1958) when there was a lot of snow so the train could not go.  I spend the night somewhere in Pennsylvania swaddled in my coat sleeping in my seat, and I was two days late getting back to school.  But I was young enough then that sleeping sitting up wasn't really a problem for me.

 

#4 9-5-2017 7:32 AM

shavy
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

For the price of train that is reasonable, rental car will cost you more than 469$ for a week, plus insurance and gas. If there are other people with you who can share the expenses car is better, but if you are alone go for train

Last edited by shavy (9-5-2017 7:36 AM)

 

#5 9-5-2017 7:53 AM

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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

Yellowstone is extraordinary in winter and hard to get to from the train..    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQDs9pJXBqA&t=1009s

 

#6 9-9-2017 4:26 AM

nolan
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

katzgar wrote:

switching to amtrak would be a mistake. Certainly the weather can be wintery in winter but you will miss a lot on the train as you will be constrained by what is close to the right of way.  amtrak goes to way fewer places than highways go.

And what makes you say that such is a mistake if I prefer to ride rather than drive? I already know the limitations of time and route, I was expecting you could have given better advice like why you think it is a mistake to take the train rather than make these sweeping pronouncements.

katzgar wrote:

Yellowstone is extraordinary in winter and hard to get to from the train..    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQDs9pJXBqA&t=1009s

Looks like somebody hasn't followed the thread properly. I am not interested in animals during the winter. I suggest you reread the whole original post. You in fact were one of those who successfully dissuaded me from going to Yellowstone, and now you troll this post trying to say why Yellowstone is beautiful in the winter tongue

 

#7 9-9-2017 4:46 AM

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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

suggest you reread my post 3, 22 and 45 in your original thread all of which tout yellowstone.  Embarrassing.


You state  "I was expecting you could have given better advice like why you think it is a mistake to take the train rather than make these sweeping pronouncements". you must not have read my post.  What didnt you understand about why taking the train is a mistake.  My reasoning was very clear.  I explained...
" switching to amtrak would be a mistake. Certainly the weather can be wintery in winter but you will miss a lot on the train as you will be constrained by what is close to the right of way.  amtrak goes to way fewer places than highways go."   You arent being rational so I'll just go away now.

 

#8 9-17-2017 8:49 PM

nolan
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

katzgar wrote:

suggest you reread my post 3, 22 and 45 in your original thread all of which tout yellowstone.  Embarrassing.


You state  "I was expecting you could have given better advice like why you think it is a mistake to take the train rather than make these sweeping pronouncements". you must not have read my post.  What didnt you understand about why taking the train is a mistake.  My reasoning was very clear.  I explained...
" switching to amtrak would be a mistake. Certainly the weather can be wintery in winter but you will miss a lot on the train as you will be constrained by what is close to the right of way.  amtrak goes to way fewer places than highways go."   You arent being rational so I'll just go away now.

You also should have read somewhere that I decided not to go to Yellowstone anymore. I don't need to explain my reasons to you, but you're obviously a TROLL who has nothing better to do but to promote Yellowstone.

PATHETIC. I'll visit Yellowstone on my next trip next year, but won't need advice from you unless it's useful. Until then, it's good that you'd go away, as you said. big_smile

 

#9 9-17-2017 8:50 PM

nolan
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

Back to regular programming ...

So what routes on the Amtrak do you people recommend? I already have my ideas, but still appreciate advice, except for those from obvious trolls.

 

#10 9-18-2017 1:30 PM

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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

My preference would be California Zephyr, but the concern would be the weather and delays caused by that. However, it must be much better option than driving if weather conditions are bad around those regions. If the schedule works for you, then go for it and have a relaxing trip!

 

#11 9-18-2017 5:05 PM

grandmar
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

If you were going to get off and sight-see periodically,  I think the western part of the California Zephyr the scenery would be great and there would be more places I might like to stop - Denver, Grand Junction,Salt Lake, Reno, and Sacramento are all on the western half.  The eastern part from Chicago to Denver isn't as interesting to me. If you wanted to after you got to Sacramento or San Francisco, you might take the Coast Starlight up to Seattle. (Klamath Falls, Eugene, and Portland) 

The Texas Eagle is a longer route and would be less susceptible to bad weather and stops could include Pontiac, St. Louis,  Little Rock and Fort Worth on the first part and San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson, Yuma, and Palm Springs before you get to LA.  This has more TravelBuddy stops on it - only missing on the Denver one

Last edited by grandmar (9-18-2017 5:07 PM)

 

#12 9-18-2017 5:37 PM

katzgar
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

nolan wrote:

katzgar wrote:

suggest you reread my post 3, 22 and 45 in your original thread all of which tout yellowstone.  Embarrassing.


You state  "I was expecting you could have given better advice like why you think it is a mistake to take the train rather than make these sweeping pronouncements". you must not have read my post.  What didnt you understand about why taking the train is a mistake.  My reasoning was very clear.  I explained...
" switching to amtrak would be a mistake. Certainly the weather can be wintery in winter but you will miss a lot on the train as you will be constrained by what is close to the right of way.  amtrak goes to way fewer places than highways go."   You arent being rational so I'll just go away now.

You also should have read somewhere that I decided not to go to Yellowstone anymore. I don't need to explain my reasons to you, but you're obviously a TROLL who has nothing better to do but to promote Yellowstone.

PATHETIC. I'll visit Yellowstone on my next trip next year, but won't need advice from you unless it's useful. Until then, it's good that you'd go away, as you said. big_smile

your defining a troll as being someone giving advice is...bizarre.  You caught me promoting Yellowstone, I own a 24% share so profit when you go there.  You should try to be better socialized.

 

#13 9-20-2017 2:49 AM

nolan
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

katzgar wrote:

nolan wrote:

katzgar wrote:

suggest you reread my post 3, 22 and 45 in your original thread all of which tout yellowstone.  Embarrassing.


You state  "I was expecting you could have given better advice like why you think it is a mistake to take the train rather than make these sweeping pronouncements". you must not have read my post.  What didnt you understand about why taking the train is a mistake.  My reasoning was very clear.  I explained...
" switching to amtrak would be a mistake. Certainly the weather can be wintery in winter but you will miss a lot on the train as you will be constrained by what is close to the right of way.  amtrak goes to way fewer places than highways go."   You arent being rational so I'll just go away now.

You also should have read somewhere that I decided not to go to Yellowstone anymore. I don't need to explain my reasons to you, but you're obviously a TROLL who has nothing better to do but to promote Yellowstone.

PATHETIC. I'll visit Yellowstone on my next trip next year, but won't need advice from you unless it's useful. Until then, it's good that you'd go away, as you said. big_smile

your defining a troll as being someone giving advice is...bizarre.  You caught me promoting Yellowstone, I own a 24% share so profit when you go there.  You should try to be better socialized.

No wonder, you're not only a troll, but also a SPAMMER!

Keep to topic, I don't really need your advice on Amtrak. Maybe for Yellowstone I will take your advice and if you're a real person (not just a spammer profile), we can meet over a drink.

And mind you, I am far more socialized than you are. I personally know the people whose posts you've been trolling. Get a life, please.

 

#14 9-20-2017 2:54 AM

nolan
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

tour_guy wrote:

My preference would be California Zephyr, but the concern would be the weather and delays caused by that. However, it must be much better option than driving if weather conditions are bad around those regions. If the schedule works for you, then go for it and have a relaxing trip!

Yes the weather delays may be a concern. I rang up Amtrak customer service, and they said that it's very rare for train rides to be canceled in early December - January and February might be more of an issue.

And yes, most people said driving carries a much bigger risk even in autumn - hence the Amtrak plan.

 

#15 9-20-2017 3:03 AM

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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

grandmar wrote:

If you were going to get off and sight-see periodically,  I think the western part of the California Zephyr the scenery would be great and there would be more places I might like to stop - Denver, Grand Junction,Salt Lake, Reno, and Sacramento are all on the western half.  The eastern part from Chicago to Denver isn't as interesting to me. If you wanted to after you got to Sacramento or San Francisco, you might take the Coast Starlight up to Seattle. (Klamath Falls, Eugene, and Portland) 

The Texas Eagle is a longer route and would be less susceptible to bad weather and stops could include Pontiac, St. Louis,  Little Rock and Fort Worth on the first part and San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson, Yuma, and Palm Springs before you get to LA.  This has more TravelBuddy stops on it - only missing on the Denver one

Thanks, Rosalie Ann for the advice. I am considering a stop in Denver for sure - there are a few TravBuddies in that area.

Regarding eastward from Denver - is Omaha, NE worth a stop? The one thing going for it is that arrival early in the morning (although a bit too early at 459AM). The other options before Chicago are Osceola, IA (for Des Moines) or maybe one of the stops in Illinois nearer to Champaign, assuming Chicago isn't the nearest.

The plan was to stop in St. Louis, MO but there are protests now in Ferguson. Hopefully that won't be an issue anymore in the coming weeks.

I'll probably take the Coast Starlight on another journey (which may involve Canada), we will be driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco so that means missing the Pacific Coast while riding on the train.

 

#16 9-20-2017 4:54 AM

grandmar
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

When I went west by train it was a long time ago, and I was too young to remember much about it- I was only 4 or 5 years old at the time.

I have only driven west from Chicago once and that was in 1964 in a 1932 Plymouth. I remember going through Des Moines, but we were in a hurry (relatively speaking) and did not stop.  It looked interesting.  I don't know anything about Omaha.  Most of the time when we were driving, we did the southern route although we did drive west through Kansas once in December (in a snowstorm).   I do think the southern route is more interesting before you get to the mountains.  If there is a big early snowstorm, it may not be just the highway that will be impacted - the trains may also be stalled.

There is no way of predicting whether there will be a problem around Ferguson this far in advance.  And I wouldn't change my route because of that.

Last edited by grandmar (9-20-2017 4:59 AM)

 

#17 9-20-2017 9:55 AM

grandmar
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

If you wanted to include Denver but do the southern route, you could fly from LAX to Denver and then fly to Chicago and take the Texas Eagle back to LAX

 

#18 9-21-2017 1:52 AM

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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

grandmar wrote:

If you wanted to include Denver but do the southern route, you could fly from LAX to Denver and then fly to Chicago and take the Texas Eagle back to LAX

Thanks although I would prefer to avoid flying ... I'll be on a 12+ hour nonstop flight to LAX to start this trip, so I wouldn't be looking forward to seeing the vast expense of America 30,000 feet above in an aluminum and carbon composite tube!

I heard from my friend who did the California Zephyr a few months ago that the best views are coming from Lake Tahoe to Denver. That's why I want to do that route before the Texas Eagle - later in December might have potential issues with weather in the Rockies.

 

#19 9-22-2017 9:59 AM

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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

"Keep to topic, I don't really need your advice on Amtrak. Maybe for Yellowstone I will take your advice and if you're a real person (not just a spammer profile), we can meet over a drink."

suggest you read the topic of the thread,  seems to indeed involve Amtrak.  Trying to assert that I am spaming Yellowstone is just nuts, the place is owned by the feds. You arent rational. Your lack of social skills rules out any sort of sit down with you.

 

#20 9-22-2017 11:39 AM

grandmar
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

nolan wrote:

grandmar wrote:

If you wanted to include Denver but do the southern route, you could fly from LAX to Denver and then fly to Chicago and take the Texas Eagle back to LAX

Thanks although I would prefer to avoid flying ... I'll be on a 12+ hour nonstop flight to LAX to start this trip, so I wouldn't be looking forward to seeing the vast expense of America 30,000 feet above in an aluminum and carbon composite tube!

I heard from my friend who did the California Zephyr a few months ago that the best views are coming from Lake Tahoe to Denver. That's why I want to do that route before the Texas Eagle - later in December might have potential issues with weather in the Rockies.

So Fly in to LAX, and take the California Zepher to Denver first.  Then fly to Chicago and finish up on the Texas Eagle back to LAX

 

#21 9-24-2017 6:43 PM

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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

katzgar wrote:

"Keep to topic, I don't really need your advice on Amtrak. Maybe for Yellowstone I will take your advice and if you're a real person (not just a spammer profile), we can meet over a drink."

suggest you read the topic of the thread,  seems to indeed involve Amtrak.  Trying to assert that I am spaming Yellowstone is just nuts, the place is owned by the feds. You arent rational. Your lack of social skills rules out any sort of sit down with you.

Somebody simply doesn't understand English. You've totally lost your credibility, troll. Not only are you fake, you aren't even man enough to meet me in person should I decide to go to Yellowstone.

There is no Amtrak train that goes to Yellowstone, just bus connections. I'm too smart for your antics. tongue

 

#22 9-24-2017 6:49 PM

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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

grandmar wrote:

nolan wrote:

grandmar wrote:

If you wanted to include Denver but do the southern route, you could fly from LAX to Denver and then fly to Chicago and take the Texas Eagle back to LAX

Thanks although I would prefer to avoid flying ... I'll be on a 12+ hour nonstop flight to LAX to start this trip, so I wouldn't be looking forward to seeing the vast expense of America 30,000 feet above in an aluminum and carbon composite tube!

I heard from my friend who did the California Zephyr a few months ago that the best views are coming from Lake Tahoe to Denver. That's why I want to do that route before the Texas Eagle - later in December might have potential issues with weather in the Rockies.

So Fly in to LAX, and take the California Zepher to Denver first.  Then fly to Chicago and finish up on the Texas Eagle back to LAX

That's the plan. But still not too keen on flying to Chicago from Denver. Most of the journey after Denver is through flatlands.

 

#23 9-25-2017 8:19 AM

grandmar
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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

It may not be as flat as you think.  Kansas is flat but Des Moines in particular is up on a bluff.

 

#24 9-27-2017 1:43 AM

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Re: Amtrak 15 Day Rail Pass after Thanksgiving - West Coast to Midwest

grandmar wrote:

It may not be as flat as you think.  Kansas is flat but Des Moines in particular is up on a bluff.

Would have loved to check out Des Moines, but the nearest Amtrak station for the California Zephyr is in Osceola. I've sort of figured the stops and dates already, but now I feel pressed for time that I will probably skip stopping in Iowa.

 

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