I took the Coast Starlight from Albany, OR to Salinas, CA (and the Amtrak bus to Monterey) on August 5th to pick up my parents and drive them back to Corvallis, OR for my dad’s 90th birthday celebration. I have put my parents on the train in the past, but they are now too frail to handle moving around for bathroom trips and food on the train. Also, my mom makes my dad climb into the upper bunk for the sleeping part of the trip and that is very difficult for him (she doesn’t think there is enough room for both of them in the lower bunk of a deluxe bedroom…)
On my trip to Monterey, I got a coach seat and met a nice older man traveling to Sacramento. The train was three hours late getting into Albany (for a maintenance issue). We both slept pretty decently in the large, comfortable coach seats before arriving in Sacramento, and I let him use my cellphone to notify his wife that he would be late.
In Monterey, I rented a minivan and drove my folks back to Corvallis –
After our family reunion and celebration, I rented another minivan and my wife and I drove my parents from Corvallis to Monterey. The next day we boarded the Amtrak bus at the Hyatt Monterey where there were all kinds of exotic cars parked for the concours d’elegance starting the next day. It was interesting to see the Amtrak bus negotiate the trick-out Rolls, Bentleys and Maseratis as it wound through the parking lot.
The train was about an hour late, so we ate some dinner at Olivias (a great mexican restaurant near the Amtrak station) and boarded the train. Our sleeper attendant, Jay Etz, was very attentive and cheerful. We enjoyed the trip, especially through southern Oregon and Klamath lake with all the migrating birds. Our breakfast was very pleasant with a 70ish woman from California (Dee) who was taking her bike to Oregon for a touring trip – most inspirational!
What have your Coast Starlight experiences been like?
Casprail Chief Advocate – Larry