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West Coast Train Trip 2007!

ctishmanctishman Registered User
edited October 2007 in PAX Archive
WCTT.png


The Basics
Okay, so my resolve on "not running anything in '07" lasted all of four months, which is honestly longer than I thought it would. I took the train up from Eugene for the '04 expo, and we've bandied the idea about in both the '05 and '06 years.

This time, I've decided to take the train again, because I don't want to have to deal with a car in downtown Seattle. If you've driven in Seattle's traffic, you'll know what I mean. Thus, I'm organizing a train trip.


The train we'll be taking is the Coast Starlight, which makes daily runs from LAX to Seattle and back.


Why the train?

-It's cheap!
- It's a train!
- It's a train full of gamers!
- A train full of gamers that lets you drink and be merry! (if you're of age)
- Other gamers to play games with!
- Wake up and look out your window at Mount Shasta in the sunrise!
- No TSA nazis. In fact, there's no security at all! Whee!
- No need to worry about parking or driving in Seattle!
- You can bring your bicycle for easy urban transportation! ($5 charge)
- No need to pay for gas, car wrecks (you know who you are), seized engines (you also know who you are), new tires or any of that crap!
- Instead of driving through the night, you can sleep (or not! Your choice!)
- Hell, mix it up and take the train up, then fly back if you want!

Who's Coming?

San Diego
Bendery

Los Angeles
AltDelete
TNTrooper
Maccy
Synapse
Smilingmadman
RCars2
Lindygamer
Mr. White XD
Captain Cthulhu
Merrymoocow +1 tentative
Grath (tentative)
Soulfury (tentative)
November6 + Friends
PapaZeb + 3 Friends
Eelektrik
Darkblade_1

Salinas
neuroslice

Van Nuys
TimeCruiserMike + 1 Friend

Oxnard, CA
Clegger + 3 Friends

San Jose
Raiden333

San Francisco
Matahari + 1 Boyfriend
Nemaihne
Suiryu

Martinez
Qapf + 3 friends
Raslin

Davis
Prof. Pangloss
BurritoAlPastor

Sack-O-Tomatoes (Sacramento), CA
Megapuppy (tentative)
Mithross + 1 tentative
TerraFirma + 1 Friend + 1 tentative
Silverwisp
Galen Myth (tentative)

Klamath Falls
Vertigo

Chemult
Anexkahn + 3 Friends

Eugene*
Slacktron
Big Guy + 3 Friends

Salem*
Methos645
ChocoboXV
GreenGiant645
MrChoupon

Portland*
ViscountAlpha
Justio Von Awesome + 1 Friend
Magically_Stoopid
ZeroZero
munkyboy0930
Zyn
Tsavo
Cross.
Santeria64 + 3 Friends

unknown
Aberu

*Cities indicated are served by the 504/506 Cascades

What does it cost/when does it run?
All prices are round trip, and discounts for things like AAA, ISIC, Veteran's Advantage, etc. are available.

Departing From and Returning To:
- San Diego, CA (6:10 AM August 22nd): $194
- Los Angeles, CA (10:15 AM August 22nd): $184
- San Jose, CA (8:39 PM August 22nd): $180
- Emeryville/San Francisco, CA (10:02 PM August 22nd): $174
- Sacramento, CA (11:59 PM August 22nd): $156
- Redding, CA (3:14 AM August 23rd): $130
- Klamath Falls, OR (8:15 AM August 23rd): $100
- Eugene, OR (9:00 AM August 23rd): $84
- Salem, OR (10:12 AM August 23rd): $68
- Portland, OR (12:15 PM August 23rd): $56
- Arrive Seattle from Coast Starlight (LA-Klamath Falls): 8:45 PM August 23rd
- Arrive Seattle from Cascades (Eugene/PDX): 3:55 PM August 23rd

Like airfare, these prices have already started rising and will continue to rise as departure day approaches, so get your tickets ASAP.


How do I buy tickets?
-Tickets are available on Amtrak.Com.

-Departure date is August 22nd from anywhere in California, or 23rd from Oregon. Leave the "time" options where they are.

-On the next page, select your schedule. If you're coming from Klamath Falls or southwards, your train will be the #14 Coast Starlight. If from Eugene or points north, you'll be taking the #504/506 Cascades.

-For the return trip, the Coast Starlight (Southbound) is Train #11, and leaves Seattle at 9:45 AM on the 27th of August.

-Pay attention to your schedules! Amtrak's scheduler likes to throw crazy "are you paying attention?" wrenches into the works every so often, like selecting not the direct-shot Coast Starlight, but the Starlight to San Jose, then transferring five times to various busses and commuter trains, then getting back on the next day's Starlight, so be sure to select the right train!

-Enter your discounts! There are lots of opportunities for discounts when riding Amtrak, so be sure to examine that Passenger Discounts pulldown!

Who can get a discount:
-AAA members!
-Seniors! (lol)
-International Student Identification Card holders! (it's just a discount club)
-Members of Veterans' Advantage! (another discount club)
-Current Military! (a discount club with awesome guns & stuff)


Okay, what do I need to bring?
- A backpack with snack food and plenty of water. They have a full-service restaurant on board as well as a snack bar (that sells hard liquor), but those are expensive.
- Twenty bucks or so in cash for onboard sundries and cab fare.
- A book or two.
- Earplugs/Eyemask if you have trouble sleeping.
- Headphones for any electronic devices you're carrying.

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«13456713

Posts

  • Captain CthulhuCaptain Cthulhu Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    As of right now I should be living out in LA come time for PAX 07 and I'd very much like to hop on the ol' Chugga Chug.
    Drinking and playing DS games and carrying on, all on the way too and from PAX sounds like loads and loads of fun.

    Captain Cthulhu on
  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Any chance of getting those of us in Arizona in the party this time?

    TNTrooper on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Well, the easiest way would be to fly somewhere along the line, and join us. As with train fare, all these figures are round trip.

    - You could jump in at LAX and do the long haul if you like. Flights from Sky Harbor to there are $118.60 airfare plus $178 for the train, round trip via Southwest. ($296 total). If you want the whole shebang, do this. (Southwest Air)

    - You could also fly to/from Portland and just do the last day on the train with us. That would be $218.60 airfare, plus $56 for the train. ($274.60 total). This is probably the best option, and the least exhausting. (Horizon Air)

    ctishman on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited December 2006
    I just read up on alcoholic beverages onboard. Here's the rules:
    Beverage service
    We serve alcoholic beverages aboard Amtrak in most Dining, Lounge and Cafe Cars.

    Private stock
    You also may bring aboard your own private stock of alcoholic beverages and consume such beverages subject to the following limitations:

    * You may consume private stock alcoholic beverages only in Sleeping Car accommodations for which you have a valid ticket.
    * You may not consume private stock alcoholic beverages in any public areas.

    In other words, drink our alcohol, or not at all. I have one (non)word to say to this:

    LOL.

    Everyone got a flask?

    ctishman on
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  • TimeCruiserMikeTimeCruiserMike Past Organizer of the West Coast Train Trip San Fernando ValleyRegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    well speaking as the one with the seized engine . . . i'd say this is a good idea. last year's trip permanently left me without a car. :P

    besides everyone knows that a train full of drunk gamers is good times :D

    TimeCruiserMike on
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  • ViscountalphaViscountalpha Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Im so in. If there is a need to help people from pdx to the train, I will help make that happen. Im sure theres atleast a few people who might want to fly up to pdx and take the train the rest of the to save on expense.

    It seems easy enough, Get on the red line train to the old town china town stop and walk to the train stop (about 1/2 mile)

    It should be an experince when we have more details and can plan this all out. This should take some of the worry about hauling this lcd tv for sunday night street fighter/snes games.

    I from now on, make that a tradition in my hotel room. And snacks.. Not as much as last year ( i went overboard)

    A+ idea Ctishman.

    Viscountalpha on
  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    If anyone in LA wants to pick me up at the airport I can prolly give you a good deal on sharing a room. Also how long are we going to be on this train?

    TNTrooper on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited December 2006
    From L.A. it takes two days, which is why I suggest doing the Portland flight.

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  • ViscountalphaViscountalpha Registered User
    edited January 2007
    ctishman wrote:
    From L.A. it takes two days, which is why I suggest doing the Portland flight.


    Its one of those things where flights have become really screwy with pricing so getting off at pdx might be better costwise then flying somewhere else. There is a higher chance of lost/misplaced luggage so I don't recommend it for anything more then a carryon luggage item.

    Viscountalpha on
  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2007
    As regards the Portland Airport/Train transfer, let me just say that I've done it with a couple of big duffles over my shoulder, and it's easy. That from me, and I'm not what any sane person would call even slightly fit.

    ctishman on
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  • MegapuppyMegapuppy Registered User
    edited January 2007
    I've never been on an American train, so forgive the dumb question.

    Do they have electrical outlets we can use for laptops, etc?

    Megapuppy on
  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Megapuppy wrote:
    I've never been on an American train, so forgive the dumb question.

    Do they have electrical outlets we can use for laptops, etc?

    They better, cause I don't see my DS's battery lasting through 2 days with some crazy drunken antics on Mario Kart.

    TNTrooper on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Okay, did some research, and found out some interesting news about the trains:

    The Problem
    Apparently, while the Coast Starlight (LAX-Seattle) passes through Eugene (where I live), it no longer stops here to pick up passengers. The better, faster and more awesome Cascades commuter train originates here, but does so at 5:45 AM, a good six to eight hours before the Starlight makes a whistle stop here.


    What I'm gonna Do
    Thus, I think the wisest choice here is to split it into two trips. The first is the aforementioned Coast Starlight overnighter, which is exactly as described in the initial post. Everyone joining the trip anywhere south of Eugene will go on this train.

    The second train will be those coming from Eugene and points north (mostly Portland). We'll be on the Cascades commuter train. All the prices I posted are still good.


    As regards electrical outlets, the Cascades has plenty of them, but the Coast Starlight only has them in the private cabins, along with a few in the seats for the cleaning people.

    ctishman on
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  • Etherus CrosswindEtherus Crosswind Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Hey there everyone,
    I noticed you guys had your prices for the LAX trip, but I'm wondering if it would be the same (doing research as I speak) for a montana to PAX trip. More importantly I was wondering if there are any PAX goers from Montana?

    Cheers

    Etherus Crosswind on
  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Well, I've done Montana to Seattle by train. It's an overnight trip, and you'll most likely hit Seattle around noon. However, there's a much, much, much badder ass option.

    Simply put, Bozeman's right on the route of the Cross Country Supertrip. I'm confident they'd be willing to make a waypoint stop there, as it's right in the middle of a ridiculously long stretch of boring night driving. Thus, head to Their Website and talk em up!

    ctishman on
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  • delrolanddelroland Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Just an FYI, the Coast Starlight seldomly runs on time, at least between Los Angeles and Emeryville (San Francisco, essentially). I ride this train on a somewhat off-and-on basis, and it has always been late, usually by two or three hours, though in one case, the train was eight hours late.

    My suggestion: take the train a day earlier so that you arrive the day before the convention. That way, if it DOES arrive eight hours late, you won't miss anything, except perhaps sleeping on the bed (floor) of your hotel room and taking a shower before the con.

    BTW, is it alright to call PAX a con? Because "expo" has always sounded a little snobbish to me, as though someone should be eating foie gras or something while in attendance.

    delroland on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Oh yeah, I know that the train is late. Once we get con dates, we're gonna be arriving the day before

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  • TimeCruiserMikeTimeCruiserMike Past Organizer of the West Coast Train Trip San Fernando ValleyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    from another thread
    DJBreslin wrote:
    The WSCTC website has it as August 24-26, 2007.
    http://www.wsctc.com/about_us/calendar.aspx

    seems about right . . last weekend in august

    TimeCruiserMike on
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  • MisteriosoMisterioso Registered User
    edited January 2007
    I've taken both trains, Coast Starlight and Cascades commuter several times.

    If you don't need a sleeping car, the cascades train is much nicer. It is faster and less rocky. They have monitors in each car to watch free movies from your seat (MAKE SURE YOU BRING STANDARD HEADPHONES but they do sell cheapies for $4 if you forget) and also have electrical outlets next to the seats.

    The viewing/dining car did NOT have electrical outlets which was a bummer.

    I haven't taken the Starlight in a long time but they offered movies as well, you just had to go sit in a general car. It wasn't as comfortable. I can't remember if they had outlets by the seats.

    The train station is quick 10 min. cab ride (or bus it for cheap) to the Convention center.

    You can use the King Country Metro trip planner to plan your bus trips.
    http://tripplanner.metrokc.gov/cgi-bin/itin_page.pl?resptype=U

    Misterioso on
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  • dyaballikldyaballikl PAX Main Theatre House & Security Manager • PAX Community Cartographer Gold Coast QLD AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    delroland wrote:

    BTW, is it alright to call PAX a con? Because "expo" has always sounded a little snobbish to me, as though someone should be eating foie gras or something while in attendance.
    i don't like "cons", i like expos. expo just sounds like more fun! (argue with that logic!)

    dyaballikl on
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  • AberuAberu Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Details are up, updating is in order!

    Aberu on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Updating with ticketing info complete!

    ctishman on
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  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited January 2007
    this sounds like a fucking awesome time

    if I wasn't easily within driving distance to PAX, I would be all over this

    have a good time, dudes, this sounds like shitloads of fun

    Rankenphile on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2007
    If I wasn't easily within driving distance to PAX, I would be all over this

    Location: Fuckawesome, Wisconsin :?:

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  • Mr. White XDMr. White XD Registered User
    edited January 2007
    I'm thinking about taking this, would we eventually get our shit together and determine the same line to take so we don't get split up into 7 different trains?

    I'm in no hurry of course, We've got till august, I'm just trying to figure out my options.

    Mr. White XD on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Well, there's only one train per day, so if we all catch the Coast Starlight on the 22nd in CA or the 23rd in Oregon, we'll be together. Actually, I'll post some times with the rates in the post above to give a general idea of the schedule.

    ctishman on
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  • Mr. White XDMr. White XD Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Sweet, I strongly dislike figuring out public transportation schedules :-P

    Mr. White XD on
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  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ice
    With advanced notice, we can supply ice for your cooler to keep medication cool.

    Alcohol is medication.

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  • AberuAberu Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    For me it said from LA to Seattle was #14 Starlight train. Did I do something wrong?

    Aberu on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2007
    Yep, you got the right train! The Coast Starlight (Train #14)!

    ctishman on
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  • xeroismygodxeroismygod Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I would like to add I have taken the Starlight train route and it is very enjoyable all the way to Seattle.

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  • eelektrikeelektrik Southern CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Me and my friends had been kicking around the idea of driving up this year, now that one of my friends is back home from the army and looking for anything fun to do... I had suggested driving as I had the Supertrip in mind, but if you're going by train then I may have to bring that up. Being able to travel and drink is always a plus.

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  • AberuAberu Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Just make it a silent policy to wear a P-A shirt that way we can tell if you are one of us or not :lol:

    Aberu on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2007
    You will most likely be able to walk through a car, yell "WOOT PAX!" and see who puts down their DS long enough to pump a fist in the air.

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  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ticket purchased. See you guys in San Jose.

    By the way, anyone know about how long it stays stopped at each station?

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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2007
    About 20-30 minutes for long stops, and around 5-10 the further north you go.

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  • TimeCruiserMikeTimeCruiserMike Past Organizer of the West Coast Train Trip San Fernando ValleyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    just purchased train tickets for my brother and myself.

    TimeCruiserMike on
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  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2007
    woot woot!

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  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    ctishman wrote:
    About 20-30 minutes for long stops, and around 5-10 the further north you go.

    Thank god. A man has his habits, and it looks like this train is habit-free.

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  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Just wondering but where is the nearest place to stay over night near the Eugene station?

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