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Rail Travel in and Around California by Wizzle - San Diego Station
Coast Starlight Maps and Links

Amtrak's official Coast Starlight homepage has an excellent route map  with descriptions of and maps for every station along the route. And the on-board magazine, Coast Starlight Tourist, can now be enjoyed on the web as well.  The links here will provide additional information so that you can plan an outing to one or more of the cities along the route.  More information will be added periodically as I travel along this route or find interesting websites, so check back.

Coast Starlight Travelogues
Traveler Link Comments
Steve Grande Steve Grande's US Travelogue Page Great travelogues with detailed information about the trains and their equipment plus hints for a satisfying trip
Steve Reynolds Steve is a railfan who lives right on the Coast Starlight/San Diegan route in Santa Barbara and has lots of good trips to share
Wizzle Coming Soon! Trip from LAX to Seattle planned for 2/27/99 but day trips from LAX to ??? are in the works

Stop by Stop Information (North to south along the route)
Stop Links Comments/Recommendations
Seattle, WA Seattle City Website Best city website on the internet!!  There is detailed information on just about EVERYTHING including transportation, lodging, what to do, etc. Included are plenty of maps, too so anyone unfamiliar with the city ought to have a very easy time finding required services.
Rail Travel in Washington By WA Department of Transportation - describes the Amtrak trains supported by WA's DOT
Tacoma Visitor's Bureau Includes directory, events and maps
Olympia-Lacey Olympia On Line Commercial site
City of Olympia Includes a nice photo gallery of this pretty town which is the state capitol of Washington.  The capitol area is beautiful.
Centralia Destination Centralia Has a steam train ride! And even an Amtrak special for shopping! Nice website.
Kelso-Longview City of Longview Nice set of photos of the town and the squirrel bridge (now how many places have a squirrel bridge?)
Vancouver City of Vancouver Mostly political 
Portland, OR Visitor's Association Portland is a lovely city with excellent public transportation including a fare-free zone in downtown.  Don't miss Powell's Books! Most hotels will tell you how to get there as it's HUGE and an attraction. There are lots of great mini-breweries which are definetly for anyone with a yen for good beer.  With 37 inches average rainfall per year don't forget to bring an umbrella! Nearby in the Willamette valley are some very nice wineries which remind me of Napa in the 1960's. If I  can find the pics of my Portland visit in 1989 I'll post them. 
Salem Salem On-Line The capitol of Oregon.  The website offers a virtual tour of the city's riverside park among other useful information. 
River City Railroad Yipee!! A "new" narrow gauge railroad in the works. Great photos of work in progress as the trains are being restored. 
Visitor's Bureau Well put together website
Albany Visitor's Bureau I like the graphics of this website.  Albany has three nationally registered historic districts and lots of special Christmas events. 
Welcome to Albany Another nice website. Information about the many covered bridges in the area.
Eugene Welcome to Eugene Eugene is home of the University of Oregon - how did a bunch of ducks get into the PAC 10????? (Quack)
Business Pages Commercial website
Chemult ?? No website - maybe it doesn't exist
Klammath Falls Yahoo: Klammath Falls KF is located on a Huge lake.  Too bad it doesn't have a decent website to show it off. 
Dunsmuir, CA Chamber of Commerce A mecca for railfans with a historic district.  Check out the webcam. I'm planning a trip to Dunsmuir in December, so return to see the pics. A Railfair is scheduled for Oct 17, 1998.
Mount Shasta  Nearby town and this website gives an excellent idea of things to do in the area. Check out the webcam of Mount Shasta too. 
Mount Shasta Ski Park Dunsmuir is the closest station for this new resort
Redding Virtual Redding I didn't think much of any of the websites in Redding. Actually, I don't much like Redding either.  However, it has some really good places to see nearby......Shasta Dam, Mount Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park are readily accessible from Redding. The dam is particularly impressive (2nd biggest after Hoover Dam but taller) and there are many places to camp around Lake Shasta. Be warned that it is HOT and airless in the summer. 
Chico Chico is another college town and they all seem to have good websites. Take a look at the photos and you may agree that Chico looks like an interesting destination.
Marysville Marysville Now By the same people who did the Chico website. From Marysville to Stockton are the stations closest to California's gold rush country which is along state route 49.  If you don't want to rent a car, no problem, since Amtrak buses go to many of the best destinations.  My own favorites are Nevada City and Grass Valley. Be sure to visit the Empire Mine.  The AAA used to have a special map and brochure devoted to Gold Country. It's a wonderful vacation destination any time but especialy from 1998 - 2000 when many of the Gold Rush towns have special sesquitenial events planned.  I strongly suggest you email for the California System Timetable available from Caltrans. This schedule brochure will give you the best information about connections up to Gold Country both from the Coast Starlight and from the San Joaquin trains. 
Placer County Right in the heart of the gold rush area
Nevada County More great destinations in the gold rush area. Keep in mind that Gold Rush country is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The scenery is spectacular and there are many places to camp and hike between visits to the Gold Rush towns. The fall colors in the Sierras are awesome.A reminder.......while days in spring and fall may be warm, night temperature in the mountains is likely to get cool quickly.  Bring appropriate clothing. 
Sacramento Tour Vision Capitol of California and  the place where the 1848 gold rush started.  Sacramento has one of the great rail museums in the country and a charming Old Town district.  There are also excellent connections for Amtrak's Capitol, San Joaquin and California Zephyr trains. I'm planning a trip over the Thanksgiving week end so check back for photos.
Old Sacramento Detailed information about the Old Town area
Yolo County Buses Bus service to neighboring communities including Woodland for the Steam Train (see below)
Davis Downtown Davis Home of another UC campus.  See all that hay in everyone's hair? This is UC's aggie school .........UC Davis is actually pretty cool and who can quibble with a town that is willing to build a tunnel so the local froggies stay happy and don't have to cross a highway? No kidding! The good people of Davis had a tunnel built under a highway just for the frogs (ribbit).  Personally I'd worry about wearing my mink coat here. But hey.......hug a tree and be happy! Is Davis in the PAC 10? Davis and vicinity are very bicyle friendly. 
Yolo Shortline Railroad In nearby Woodland there is a  STEAM TRAIN to ride! You can get to Woodland either from the Davis Station or from Sacramento by using the Yolo County bus.
Yolo County Buses Daily service but may be limited on Sunday so plan accordingly. The routemaps are very good and schedules are posted. 
Martinez Contra Costa Net Commercial website - about the best I could do for Martinez proper whose main function is to serve as an Amtrak hub in Northern California. Only our brethern to the north could figure out such a drecky place to use for a hub, but I guess it will have to do until Sacramento gets hooked to the San Joaquins. Almost all connecting service buses run through  Martinez. By careful planning you can avoid this place.  Note that the Amtrak reservation system will often route you through Martinez rather than through a more interesting (and possibly cheaper) destination in which to wait for a connection. Ask your travel agent or study the schedules and maybe you can wait in Sacramento, Berkely or Oakland instead. 
Bay Area Transit Information Terrific Website for transportation information about the WHOLE BAY AREA!!!! Applicable to Oakland, Emeryville, Davis, Oakland, San Jose  and San Francisco.  Also has information for transportation in Wine Country (Sonoma, Napa, etc.). If you want public transportation in the Bay Area, look here first. 
Emeryville Emeryville Online Emeryville is the station Amtrak uses to connect passengers with San Francisco via the Amtrak buses. 
Emeryville Shuttle Free and it goes near both the Amtrak and BART stations. The website has an excellent routemap and schedules.
Emeryville Net Additional information and pictures of Emeryville - well organized and complete website
Oakland Oakland Information The trains coming into Oakland go right up the street! Steve Grande has several travelogues which feature Oakland
Jack London Square Looks like lots of fun.
San Jose Steve Grande's Station Review Lots of pictures and detailed directions from the Amtrak station to hotels, downtown and attractions 
Visitor's Bureau Thorough 
Downtown Information Nice review of public transportation in the area and good maps
Points of Interest Good to find  a particular place or category
Salinas Montery - Salinas Transit Salinas was Steinbeck's home town. Amtrak buses are available from Salinas to Carmel and Montery.  Check with Amtrak or ask to get the California System Timetable from Caltrans
Carmel The ever-popular, quintessential artsy fartsy cutsy town. Crowded with tourists in the summer who clog all the quaint shops, galleries and restaurants. There is never enough parking but the weather is usually great for strolling. Make SURE you have reservations for lodging. The galleries are wonderful, if expensive, and the buildings are genuine fake-antique (except the mission). 
Monterey Montery is a really nice town. The Jazz Festival is famous but there is usually something interesting going on at other times. The scenery in the area is wonderful as is the climate. Monterey was a seat of government during the Spanish times and there are lots of adobes and other good historical stuff. Cannery Row was made famous by Steinbeck and today's version is more tourist than historical but good fun. Monterey has become very popular so lodging reservations are a good idea. Big Sur is nice too and the public buses will get you there (see above)
Paso Robles Paso Robles Paso Robles has become home to many fine wineries and a wine festival.  It's on my list of places to visit. See SLO below for links to buses.
Chamber of Commerce
San Luis Obispo SLO City Information SLO is a college town (hosting Cal Poly) and is the southern gateway to the fabulous sights along California's scenic Highway 1. There is a mission and lots to do in SLO proper.  The stretch of Highway 1 between SLO and Monterey is by far its most scenic portion so renting a car at SLO for the drive up could be the start of a great trip. Along the way stop at Hearst Castle, the artist community of Cambria and Santa Cruz, which boasts a few redwoods, a steam excursion train and one of the campuses of the University of California (great courses in basket weaving and hemp utilization, I understand). Wizzle and the Prince both went (or are going) to UCLA.....a "real" UC campus. Amtrak runs buses from Monterey back to the give this some serious consideration as a vacation.......train up from LA to a car and drop it off in Monterey (which is a great place) then hop on an Amtrak bus back to the train and return to LA. I'd allow at least 5 days for the coast portion.......1 day for Hearst Castle, 1 day for Cambria, 1 for Santa Cruz and 2 for Monterey/Carmel.   If you want to ride the steam train in Santa Cruz consider adding an extra day. 
SLO Vicinity Public Transport Maps and general information about buses and shuttles in SLO and area.....even has links to taxi service.  Very nice website.
SLO Net County website
SLO County Guide By the Visitor's and Conference Bureau
Santa Barbara Visitor's Bureau SB is a lovely town with what has to be the best climate in California.  Strict zoning laws keep the city to a Spanish motif and banish garish signs.  It's an easy walk to the beach and restaurants from the Amtrak station. Check back for photos and a travelogue. 
SB Metropolitan Transit Very thorough with lots of information to get around SB to Goleta
SB Guide Commercial website
Oxnard City Guide A trip up to Oxnard is the closest way for those living in LA to get to "the country." Oxnard has a wonderful Strawberry Festival in the spring and a great marina.  I'm planning a train trip to explore how to get from the Amtrak station to the marina.  Check back
City and Harbor Guide By the Tourism Bureau
Simi Valley Nice commercial website
Glendale City of Glendale Another good city website - and Glendale is a nice town with a really fabulous shopping mall, the Glendale Galleria.  The area around the Galleria has many nice restaurants and galleries  Amtrak's station there is currently under rennovation but is open, if unstaffed.
Los Angeles Union Station Wizzlog Photos and detailed station information plus maps of the area and local transportation information

If you want to travel down to San Diego after getting off the Coast Starlight, real life connections are available at LAX Union Station.  Virtual connections are right here at Wizzle Tours San Diegan pages.

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Updated: Tuesday, August 18, 1998