BootsnAll Travel Network

April Update

Lisa and I spent our Spring Break in Los Angeles.  I cashed in my frequent flier miles to get a roundtrip Roomette on the Coach Starlight from Portland to LA.  Here’s a quick run down of our trip….

Portland Union Station

The Coast Starlight makes its way from Seattle, WA to Los Angeles, CA.  Our train was to depart from Portland at 2:15 pm and arrive into LA at 9:00pm the next day.  Because Amtrak does not own most of the track it runs on, service delays are to be expected.  Such was the case with our trip.

Our roomette was small but comfortable.  The two seats facing each other turns into a single bed, and a single bunk bed is folded up above.  There is a little bit of room for some pieces of luggage, but for our larger packs there is a holding area close to the room.

Our Roommette

The roomette costs quite a bit more than just getting a standard coach seat.  But for the extra dough, you do get privacy and the chance to lay down flat on the bed.  You also get other perks as well….

– Afternoon wine and cheese tasting

– All meals.  That means breakfast, lunch and dinner.  With beverage and dessert.  The food was a pleasant surprise.  There was plenty of variety and everything tasted good.  Not gourmet fantastic, but certainly satisfying.  Service is in the dining car.  A few hours before meal time, our attendant would ask us what time we wanted to eat.  At that time, we would go to the dining car and we would be seated at a table for 4 with 2 other passengers.  Which was great to meet other people on board.  We met a couple taking the train across the country, and another fellow who had just quit his job to do a bunch of traveling.

– Parlor car.  Our own special lounge car for sightseeing.  Board games like Scrabble, Sorry and Checkers were available.  Pastries, juice and coffee too.


– Our ride down was beautiful.  We faced west, but we didn’t get to the Coastal part of the trip until evening fell.  This shot was taken in Oregon.  By the time we woke up the next morning near Sacramento, we were 3 hours behind schedule.  We didn’t arrive into LA until 1:30AM, more than 4 hours late.

Still, if you are in no rush like we were, it was a minor annoyance.  We had plenty of magazines and books to keep us occupied, as well as games and great scenery just outside.


Universal Studios, Terminator 3-D


Too many people to catch a glimpse of Will Ferrel

THE place to go for cheap eats– tomatoes 5 pounds for a dollar, a pint of strawberries for 50 cents, Mangos 3 for a Buck!

Once in LA, we played tourist.  We decided to forgo renting a car, and relied exclusively on public transportation.  Our hotels were very close to the bus lines and to the Metro Rail system, which we used to tour Universal Studios, City Walk, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.   We took self-guided walking tours through Chinatown and El Pueblo de Historico Los Angeles.  We visited Japantown, strolled around the Fashion District, spent an afternoon at the Natural History Museum and Science Center.  We made it to Santa Monica and walked the Boardwalk to Venice Beach.  We attended a taping of the Showbiz Show with David Spade, caught the red carpet premiere of “Blades of Glory” at Mann’s Chinese Theater, and ate at the overrated “The Original Pantry”, where breakfast is more about quantity over quality.  It was a great trip without a car, and then it was time to head back home.

Enough with the text.  Here are the photos of our journey home…






We left LA at 10:15AM, and were supposed to arrive back in Portland at 3:40PM.  Instead, we were 5 hours behind schedule.  We expected it.  All in all a very relaxing and pleasurable trip, we are definitely train fans and we’ll do it again!

P.S.  I just bought another $600 car for my next Road Trip.  Destination:  Alaska

Date:  June-July 2007

Details to follow in my next post…

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