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Leg Three - Jan 9th - 10th 2009: The Coast Starlight
andy anderson klamath falls stop image

A very cold stop in Klamath Fall, Oregon, gives the passengers a chance to stretch their legs, and (if they are so inclined) have a smoke

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All Aboard the Coastal Starlight... Again

Well here I am, doing the return trip from Portland down to Sacramento. We board about 30-minutes before departing and Robin (my car attendant), and Alan (the Parlour Car attendant) were happily surprised to see me (I hope). We departed Portland about 5 minutes behind schedule; however since I have a 4-hour layover in Sacramento, I'm not all that concerned. The nice thing about my connection onto the California Zephyr is that I won't have to spend the night in a hotel. It's off the Coast Starlight, a couple of hours in Sacramento, and then all aboard for Chicago.

Alan is one of the best Amtrak attendants I've been around. He sticks to the rules of Amtrak and train travel, but he's witty and fun. As a matter of fact, we had one passenger on board (both going north, and back south), that really liked to hit the bottle, and Alan matter-of-factly just told him he was cut off. Then, he called the lounge car attendant and told him that he was cut off... Way To Go Alan.

Anyway, there were several people that were with me on the northern trip up to Seattle (of course, we never made it), and they were on the southern return trip as well. We spend most of the first day in the Parlour Car, talking, joking, and just relaxing, as our train, quickly moved us though the early evening. I wish every Amtrak route had a first class Parlour Car, but alas only the Coast Starlight has one of these babies.

andy anderson coast starlight parlour car image
The Parlour car is an excellent place to hang out, meet new friends, or just check out the awesome scenery

Alan served just the four of us dinner in the dining car (scallops or baby-back ribs), and it was excellent. As a matter of fact, I had some of both. Then we sat around and talked until 11:00PM. Since I exit the Coast Starlight at 6:30AM, I said my good-byes to everyone, and headed for my cabin. Although I've never had an unpleasant trip with Amtrak, I believe that this two-way trip on the Coast Starlight has been one of the most enjoyable. If you're ever on the Coast Starlight and you see Alan, or Robin, tell them I said hello.

As usual, I get up around 4:00AM, and sit down to catch up on my travel journal. As I'm writing this, Robin comes by my bedroom, and tells me that we'll be in Sacramento at about 6:10AM... 20-minutes early. Way to go, Amtrak. That leaves me about 20 minutes to pack up my room, so I'll say good-bye. If Sacramento has a wireless connection, I'll throw this out on the blog.

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Andy Anderson