In our fast paced world everything seems to happen at the speed of light. Information is available in seconds via smart phones, we balance home, work and a personal life and we want things now rather than later. Taking ones time is almost an act of rebellion. When I received a transfer from my company to California, I decided to slow things down and take the scenic route.
Since I had the time I decided to travel on the Coast Starlite Amtrak train from Seattle to Los Angeles. Purchasing a ticket can be done easily via an app on your smart phone. No ticket is necessary as a bar code may be scanned from your phone. My train arrived on time and I was assigned a seat with more leg room than on an airplane. Each seat comes with a fold down table and the seats recline almost all the way back.
Three meals a day are available in the dining car which is set up like a restaurant. The seating is shared, giving one the opportunity to meet others traveling on the train. The food was good and the service excellent. For those not wanting formal dining a snack car offering everything from pizza to bloody marys is also available. Selected items can also be delivered right to your seat.
If one is lucky enough to have obtained a window seat, sight seeing is a good way to spend the time. We left Seattle and traveled through the rural areas of Washington state, through the city of Portland and were once again traveling through the farmlands of Oregon and California until reaching the Bay Area. Shortly after leaving Jack London Square in Oakland, the train begins to travel along the coast. Breath taking views are right out ones window. If you do not have a window seat, an observation car with comfortable seating, tables and large windows is available.
The trip took a little over a day and a half. I spent my time catching up on some reading, completing some sketches and enjoying the sights and my down time. I met a lot of nice people, each with a unique story about where they were going and why they were traveling by train. We pulled into Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and at a taxi stand in front of the station I caught a cab to my hotel. Traveling by plane may be fast, but nothing compares to the enjoyment of slowing things down and traveling by train.