Michael A. Goorjian - The Official Website | Writing Ritual #2 – Amtrak
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Writing Ritual #2 – Amtrak

07 Sep Writing Ritual #2 – Amtrak

Most people laugh at me when I tell them I take the train when I travel between Los Angeles and the Bay Area. “Why do you take the train? Flying is so much faster.” Exactly. The Coast Starlight, which travels along the California coast, takes about 10 hours to get you from one city to the other. The idea that the best means of travel is always based on how fast one can get from A to B is, in my opinion, silly. The experience of traveling can be just as important. So instead of the high anxiety of airports, TSA strip-searches, and screaming babies during take-off, I spend the day riding the train and getting my work done.

Here are some of the additional benefits of traveling by train:

1. Someone else is driving you.
2. There is a constant moving landscape of the California coast right outside your window. Rolling grass valleys, ocean cliffs, small coastal towns make for great for day dreaming as well as inspiration.
3. Comfort. Basic Travel – There is no taking off half your clothing to get on, no crazy extra charges for luggage. There is a Dining Car that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, an Observation Car which is all windows, and a Parlor Car with wine and cheese tasting.  Mike G.’s Method of Travel – I most always reserve a small roomette in the Sleeper Cars. It has two chairs facing each other, a fold out table, an outlet to plug my laptop into, and a bed that folds down from the ceiling if I want to take a nap (sleeping on a train is very relaxing.) Also, there is fresh coffee, juice and fruit waiting for you on every sleeper car. And with the roomette you also get all of your meals in the dining car for free!
4. Cost. A basic ticket in coach is usually around $50. To get a roomette it’s an extra $100 (that includes the 3 free meals), so $150 total, which is not to much different than the cost of flying. Also if you are traveling  with someone you only pay for the room once, meaning you would buy 2 basic tickets at $50 plus the room at $100.
5. Most important benefit… Traveling by train is romantic.
  • Sharone
    Posted at 11:31h, 07 September


  • myprettycabinet
    Posted at 01:44h, 21 December

    I agree 100% about trains. I did a lot of traveling by train in Europe – which can be, unfortunately, prohibitively expensive. I reckon they know the modern benefits of trains & charge accordingly, whereas a lot of Americans seem to think Amtrak is defunct or almost completely useless.

    I took Amtrak from San Jose to San Luis Obispo (The Coast Starlight), and then San Luis Obispo to Anaheim (the Pacific Surfliner). It really was just so relaxing, and gorgeous, and you forgot the benefit of no carsickness! I can’t be driven by other people, but trains don’t effect me.

    Ah, thanks for this article, it allowed me to reminisce! 😀

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