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West Coast Train Trip 2007!

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Posts

  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Well, there's shitty hotels that cost a lot, good hotels that cost a shit ton, and my house, which costs nothing at all, and offers free taxi service, continental breakfast and internet access. The choice is yours.


    In other words, as it was last year, my house is open to anybody who wants to crash there for the night for whatever reason. Just give me some heads-up and I'll come do pickups.

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  • AltDeleteAltDelete Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Sweet. I was dying to go 2006, but classes started the same week, not to mention being in Arizona made the trip a bit more expensive. But I'll be moving to LA area in the Summer and I graduate college in the sping, so count me in.

    Great idea. Trains are neat.

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  • slacktronslacktron Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I love to ride the rails.

    Any ideas how hard it would be to bring my PC? I've been BYOC every year, and simply cannot change.

    Not even on a train.

    Incidentally, the schedule seems to point to:

    Friday, August 24th
    500 Cascades: Eugene, OR - Seattle, WA
    Departs (EUG) 5:45 am
    Arrives (SEA) 12:15 pm
    Trip length 6h 30m

    Given that the schedule for PAX 07 is Friday, August 24, 2007 2:00 PM - Sunday, August 26, 2007 6:00 PM Pacific Time Zone.

    That gives me an hour and fourty five minutes to get my hotel room, lunch, and a place in line. Pretty optimal.

    The way home isn't perfect, because you'll have to miss the final round of the Omegathon:
    Sunday, August 26th
    509 Cascades: Seattle, WA -Eugene, OR
    Departs (SEA) 5:25 pm
    Arrives (EUG) 11:40 pm
    Trip length 6h 15m

    slacktron on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Well, for the trip upwards, most of us from Eugene and northwards are gonna be on the 504 (which transfers to the 506 in Portland), the one that leaves at 9:00 AM, so we don't have to get up quite so early. We'll still get there roundabout 5:00 PM, leaving room for day 0 festivities.


    Also, we were planning to leave on the morning Coast Starlight Monday, so we can have one last hurrah with everyone on the way down. That train, unlike the northbound Starlight, stops in Eugene.

    Oh, and I wouldn't miss once-a-year Omegathon Prime for the world, much less so I could get up Monday morning and do the shit job I hold day-to-day.

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  • Mr. White XDMr. White XD Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I've got a few more questions

    How long can I put off buying the ticket for the train you guys are all taking?

    And also, how are the hotels with web access? Is it free if you get a room, or do you have to pay? The last hotel I stayed at for a journalism competition at CSUF was hell, Just one high speed line with no router. My roomie and I were clawing at each other for that cord the whole weekend.

    Mr. White XD on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I've got a few more questions

    How long can I put off buying the ticket for the train you guys are all taking?

    Well, I'd buy the ticket as soon as you can, because the prices will keep climbing until the day we leave. As regards hotels, no official deals have yet been announced, so I don't know what sort of facilities will be available.

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  • MisteriosoMisterioso Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    By the way, anyone know about how long it stays stopped at each station?

    I assume you ask because you are a smoker. You typically get time at big stops for a few smokes or two (20-30min) but otherwise you will just have to wait. Stops at the smaller stations are very short (~5 min) and personel doesn't like smokers trying to get a few puffs in-between.

    Grab some nic-gum or slap on a patch if you can't go w/out for four hours. They will shut the doors and leave w/out you, no joke.

    Misterioso on
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  • Bendery It Like BeckhamBendery It Like Beckham Hopeless Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Now what about us unlucky cunts in San diego?

    What if I want to take ze train?

    when do I get on?

    Bendery It Like Beckham on
  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Unlucky cunts like you take Train #763 Pacific Surfliner from San Diego to Los Angeles at 6:15 in the goddamn AM on the 22nd, arriving at LAX approximately 8:50 AM.

    Once there, transfer to the Coast Starlight which leaves at 10:15 with everyone else from LA.

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  • Bendery It Like BeckhamBendery It Like Beckham Hopeless Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    coo

    Can we like, exchange phone numbers when the time comes?

    Bendery It Like Beckham on
  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Sure, but be aware that I won't be on the same train as all of you from CA. Everyone from Eugene north is on the 504/506 Cascades the whole way.

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  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Right Here, Right Now Drives a BuickModerator mod
    edited February 2007
    GET ON THE PAX TRAIN!!

    ....I've wanted to say that all day.

    Moe Fwacky on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Well, I hope you're satisfied!

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  • ThrashThrash Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I rarely, if ever, visit the PA forums, but I was curious what the latest was on PAX this year and noticed this thread. Just wanted to share my experiences with this as I made this trek last year for PAX '06. A little background first...

    First of all, I live in Knoxville, Tennessee. "Yee-haw, that's a long way away!" you say? Damn right. I flew into Los Angeles at the beginning of August and spent about a week there... I then hopped on the Coast Starlight #14 and headed north. Next stop--San Francisco. Here are a few pictures I took along the way [Los Angeles-San Francisco]; nothing real impressive, but enough to at least show you what you can expect as far as the train is concerned as well as what scenery you'll be looking at for most of the ride.

    I spent a week in San Francisco before heading inland to Sacramento, where I spent the night. Nothing real exciting in Sacramento, but if you have time to spare, San Fran is a really neat place to stop. Next, I was off to Albany and Portland, OR, then finally to Seattle. Again, more photos of the train ride: [San Francisco - Albany], [Albany-Seattle: CASCADES TRAIN]. (Obviously not all of these pictures are applicable, but you get the idea.)

    One thing I want to emphasize which someone else mentioned earlier is the huge difference between the Coast Starlight train (which I rode up to Albany), and the Cascades train (which I took from Albany to Seattle). It's seriously like night and day. There's nothing glamorous about the Coast Starlight, but the Cascades more than makes up for it. If you have the option (and you should when you buy your tickets), pick up the Cascades train as soon as it is available on your route. It's faster, newer, moves faster, has more power outlets, smells better, shakes less, goes faster, is more comfortable, is much more modern, and moves a lot faster. You won't regret the switch. (INSIDER TIP: To recline the seat, press the button and scoot FORWARD. ;-) )

    Also when you buy your tickets, a lot of times you will have the opportunity to spend a short layover in the cities you pass through since there are multiple trains going to your final destination...just don't get stuck on a bus. I took the opportunity to spend several hours in Portland on my way up and had a really good time seeing the city.

    General travel tips:

    For long legs of the trip, you are definitely going to want to have the window seat. The leg between Sacramento and Portland is killer because it's 18 hours of nothing. And it starts at midnight, so having the wall of the train to lean against is a Godsend. If you're extra-nice to the conductor or the stewardess in your car, you can probably convince them to not assign anyone to the seat next to you if you want some extra space, too, which makes it even easier to sleep. It is also very easy to get your seat switched to a different row or car if necessary. There's plenty of leg room, so you won't have any trouble stretching out even if you're tall (I'm 6'2" and was able to sprawl out all over the place).

    Earplugs and something to cover your eyes with are a must if you have any trouble sleeping with distractions... The trains never really get very dark and they are always loud. The air-conditioning is always cranking too, so bring a light jacket so you don't get cold overnight. Pillows are available, but they are as puny as those you would get on an airplane--bring your own if you can manage it.

    Finally, PLAN FOR DELAYS. Each major leg of the trip between L.A. and Portland had a delay of several hours, which apparently is very normal. Be advised and plan things with room to spare. The train can be very slow, or even stop for a pretty good length of time for no apparent reason at all. I vividly remember riding next to an interstate for a little while and watching cars zip past us like we weren't even moving at all...

    Power Outlets:

    YES, they are available. NO, there are not very many of them. There are a few on the outer wall of the train on the upper deck in the in the passenger areas, likely tucked behind a seat and hard to see. I think at the most, there is one every few rows...it's a gamble as to whether you'll be close to one and even more of a gamble as to whether it will be blocked by a seat. There are also outlets that are easily accessible on the lower decks of most of the cars near the doors where you enter the train. I don't think there's any problem hanging out down there for a while, but there's really nothing to sit on except the hard metal floor. There are also outlets in the restrooms, but I'm sure you don't want to hang out in the restroom for a few hours while you charge your laptop, either. Finally, there are outlets in an out-of-use drink counter on the upper deck in the observation car (or it might have been the lounge car...can't remember--you'll know it when you see it). These outlets are behind the counter, but easy to find if you do a little looking around. Be advised that these outlets are the easiest to access and are usually in high demand. As far as I know, the conductor doesn't object to your using any of these as long as you don't get in the way. Also, keep your eyes open--you might find more outlets that I didn't mention (I think there might be some near the stairs...).

    What I DO suggest is that you bring an extension cord with plenty of sockets on it and has a right-angle plug that sits flush against the wall when you plug it in. The right-angle will help if you decide to use an outlet in the seating area and the plug is tucked behind a seat or something else and the several sockets will allow you to plug all your goodies in. Having an outlet multiplier of some kind to plug into the wall is very helpful as well, since if you're going to be tying up the thing for hours at a time, you might as well share the love (especially at the drink counter). I saw lots of people charging their cell-phones on the drink counter in the lounge car, so the more outlets you have, the better (like I said above--high demand). Plug the multiplier into the wall plug, then attach your extension to that so nobody can get on your case about hogging the thing. Get at least a 6'-8' cord. That way you should have enough length to be able to sit fairly comfortably in just about any seat close by.


    Oh, and one more thing--bring plenty of booze. 8-)

    Let me know if you have any questions that I didn't address here... I'm not sure what else to post, but there are a lot of other things to say if you're curious. I'll try to check this thread fairly regularly.

    Thrash on
  • LindygamerLindygamer Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    New guy to the forums. To my surprise I find exactly what I needed to in 15 seconds. I was wondering how many people I can expect are planning to take the 14 starlight up on the 22nd. Also I would like to know how much I should plan on paying for food on the way there if Im planning on eating only from what amtrak provides. Anything else you can think of would be helpful.

    Lindygamer on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    The simple and practical answer is to bring your own food. Dried stuff, nonperishables, that sort of thing. Food on the train is expensive, like anywhere with a captive audience. Not airline expensive (what is it with airline food, anyhow?), but still pretty pricey. Average about $15 per meal in the dining car, and snacks go for between $3 and $8 in the snackbar at the bottom of the lounge car.

    As for an attendant list, I'll count everyone up and put it in the main post.

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  • AnexkahnAnexkahn Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    If you're making a count +4 from Chemult northbound on 14

    Anexkahn on
  • LindygamerLindygamer Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Was thinking it over and I realize Sandwhiches are probably my food of choice. Good thing I make good ones, should satisfy me for two days.

    So of the people going, is it cool if I bring munchkin?

    Lindygamer on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    If by munchkin you mean:

    a) A sandwich, it's cool so long as it doesn't contain meat. Refrigeration is not readily available on the train, and you don't want to have food poisoning for PAX.

    b) A young human of some sort, so long as you're not abducting him and/or her as part of some sort of bizarre fetish involving train travel, gaming expos and possibly food poisoning.

    c) If you mean the fae folk, I'd prefer you didn't. They tend to get motion sick. You can't find where they threw up except by the light of every third full moon, but you can smell it constantly.

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  • LindygamerLindygamer Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Well umm good to know about the meat part. However I meant

    d) The card game www.sjgames.com/munchkin/game/

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  • AnexkahnAnexkahn Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    a) A sandwich, it's cool so long as it doesn't contain meat. Refrigeration is not readily available on the train, and you don't want to have food poisoning for PAX.

    last time i road coast starlight they had no problem with me bringing on a smallish cooler, so you could ice down anything parishable.

    as for munchkin, yes yes yes! we are bringing a few decks as well.

    Anexkahn on
  • phamtqphamtq Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Sign me up!!

    I'm enter Chiropractic school at the end of September and I need something exciting to do before I have to buckle down for 4 more years (on top of my 6 :P ). I was also thinking of signing up as a volunteer (Yep, I'm doing the whole 9). Do you know if that conflicts with the schedule you've outlined in anyway?

    I used to live in the apartments right next to Union Station. It'll be nice to finally take one of the trains that used to keep me up at night. :P

    Guess the only thing left is to find out where I'm staying in Seattle. :D

    phamtq on
  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I dunno. What date does your school start?

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  • phamtqphamtq Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    ctishman wrote: »
    I dunno. What date does your school start?

    Errr.... I meant the volunteering. But it looks like they're limiting it to local people to help out so disregard the question. :D

    phamtq on
  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    okie

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  • MisteriosoMisterioso Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    On the Cascades train, you can get sandwiches for about $6. Soda, bag of chips, water, is about $1.50 each I think. You can bring your own food and coolers are fine.

    BRING HEADPHONES. They typically show movies that are just about to be released on DVD.

    a smoke-stop in Portland and that's it. If the train isn't running too late, you may be able to run inside the station and buy some different snacks. The train will leave without you so pay attention to whats going on.

    Misterioso on
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  • b0wserb0wser PAX HHL Deputy Manager CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Lindygamer wrote: »
    Well umm good to know about the meat part. However I meant

    d) The card game www.sjgames.com/munchkin/game/

    I just bought Munchkin yesterday! I'm not on the WCTT, but I was thinking of bringing it anyway.

    b0wser on
  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    ctishman wrote: »
    Well, there's shitty hotels that cost a lot, good hotels that cost a shit ton, and my house, which costs nothing at all, and offers free taxi service, continental breakfast and internet access. The choice is yours.


    In other words, as it was last year, my house is open to anybody who wants to crash there for the night for whatever reason. Just give me some heads-up and I'll come do pickups.

    Alright got all my problems taken care of now. So yeah if your crazy enough to let me and a bunch of other nerds crash at your place for the night I will take you up on it just point me to the nearest airport. Like the guy before me asked, does this conflict with volunteering to being an Enforcer? Also is there a confirmed game of Munchkin on the #504/506 Cascades yet?

    TNTrooper on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I hate to say it, but I'm gonna have to withdraw that offer, as it looks like I'm moving up to Seattle this spring. Sorry, folks. There are, however, other forumers in Eugene. Ask around!

    ctishman on
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  • LindygamerLindygamer Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    For any of you who are doing the starlight train on any point of your trip. I was wondering what other games I should bring with me besides munchkin.

    Im a fan of anything remotely strategic and entertaining. I have risk, axis and allies, kingmaker, cranium and a few others I can remember at the moment. Also a friend of mine has a larger collection then I, and he maybe willing to let me borrow a few.

    Lindygamer on
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  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    ctishman wrote: »
    I hate to say it, but I'm gonna have to withdraw that offer, as it looks like I'm moving up to Seattle this spring. Sorry, folks. There are, however, other forumers in Eugene. Ask around!

    Grats on the move man! Do I hear house party?

    Alright someone got to have a couch for me to sleep on for a night and maybe a ride to and from the airport. Got a spare bad in the Crowne Plaza for you to crash on for a night or 2 for free if you need it. Hell on that subject I need some roomies Thursday night to Monday and I would rather get some WCTT people to make things more simple.

    TNTrooper on
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  • MegapuppyMegapuppy Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    phamtq wrote: »
    ctishman wrote: »
    I dunno. What date does your school start?

    Errr.... I meant the volunteering. But it looks like they're limiting it to local people to help out so disregard the question. :D

    They aren't limiting as far as I can tell. I live in the SF Bay Area and I'm gonna Enforce this year.

    As far as scheduling conflicts, they want people to help during setup but you can still Enforce on whatever days you can make it.

    Just make sure you are clear on what time you will arrive on your application.

    Megapuppy on
  • Samusman1Samusman1 Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Why couldn't you drive? it's only like 45 minutes an... oh, never mind. you people live in states that DONT have the penny arcade expo. sucks to be you?

    Samusman1 on
  • b0wserb0wser PAX HHL Deputy Manager CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    they've driven before.

    b0wser on
  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Yeah, this was an auto trip for '04, '05 and '06. We're trying the train this year. If it doesn't work out, we know we can always drive.

    ctishman on
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  • LindygamerLindygamer Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    TNTrooper wrote: »
    Hell on that subject I need some roomies Thursday night to Monday and I would rather get some WCTT people to make things more simple.

    I have a place to stay thursday-saturday nights but will need a place sunday night if you need a person.

    Lindygamer on
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  • pjarvipjarvi Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I'm taking a side trip after PAX to visit my grandparents burial place in Oregon, so I'm still going to be driving again this year. (I don't feel like taking the train up and renting a car to come back). I won't be able to drive anyone home, but if anyone needs a lift going up to PAX, let me know?

    I'm in the Bay Area, and will be going up 880 and cutting over to Scramento/I-5 near Davis again.

    I'll be happy to pick stragglers up anywhere along the way. I'll be getting a prepaid cellphone again for the trip, so I'll give out my number the week before in case anyone gets stuck somewhere.

    I'm going to be leaving earlier than we did last year, though. I'm hitting the road straight after work and staying on the road. I'm not sure what the timing will be, but I think that means I will be passing through Sacramento around 8PM Wednesday night. So, 4 hours ahead of last years schedule, or thereabouts. Don't know how well that matches up to the train schedule...

    pjarvi on
  • MaccyMaccy Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Hello there!

    I'm on a world tour this year, and it just so happens I'm in LA during PAX time, so this journey seems perfect for me, it'd be great to meet some people who are going before I get there.

    I'm looking for some accomodation too, I'll post over at the need-a-room thread, but I thought I'd mention it here because it'd be cool to stay with the people I'm travelling with if possible.

    In fact, if anyone wants to hang out in LA, that'd be cool too. I'm going to be on my own and lost. :)

    Maccy on
  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    OK Lindygamer I will get back to you soon I promise just need to wait on a PM sorry for taking so long. Maccy English people are fucking awesome you are so going to have be my roomie man.

    Now I just need to find some rides from airport to train station and maybe a place to crash on the way up.

    Edit: Can you put me down for looking for rides or a place to stay or something like that in the first post ctishman?

    TNTrooper on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Sure, why not! Are you flying into LAX or Portland?

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