Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-22-2011, 11:25 AM   #21
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
happy2bretired's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 1,337
My daughter and I had a roomette when traveling between Berlin and Vienna. I couldn't sleep very well the first night since I was too dumb to figure out how to close the window blind on my lower bunk. So every time we stopped the lights from the stations would shine in on me. The return trip went much better since my so-smart daughter showed me how to close the blind.

I was very grateful we were right next to the bathroom since I used it twice each night. My daughter was not happy with that location since she complained of the noise, with people like, me using the bathroom during the night. It sometimes pays to be hard of hearing.

My main concern with train travel, by myself, is getting a hotel and other transportation when needed. Amtrak comes through my town and that's great, but, it comes through very late at night and very early in the morning. The station is only open for about an hour after the train leaves and we don't have good taxi service and walking, by myself, that late, is out of the question.

I've toyed with the idea of flying to Chicago then taking a train.... Probably kind of an expensive way to travel but....
__________________

__________________
happy2bretired is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 08-22-2011, 12:02 PM   #22
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 11
Four years ago we flew to Denver and took the one-day Amtrak trip up through the Rocky Mountains to Salt Lake City -- a 16-hour trip that we still reminisce about. On this California Zephyr train, the seats are on the second story for great views; they were as comfortable as our recliners at home and the window was huge.

What a thrill to see Denver down in the valley as we rode the switchbacks up the mountains! I had no idea that the OTHER side of Colorado was more desert than mountains. And the small ranches we passed with horses corralled in the back.

I admit that we brought snacks rather than buy the food on the train (which I thought was overpriced and probably not so good). So after eating peanuts and apples all day, we were hungry for a good Vegas meal the next morning after we flew there from Salt Lake City to continue our vacation.

This was my only up-close view of the Rockies and this Ohio girl highly recommends it. And the best part -- we only paid $65/person.
__________________

__________________
American-Canadian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2011, 12:03 PM   #23
Recycles dryer sheets
Hobo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2bretired View Post
My main concern with train travel, by myself, is getting a hotel and other transportation when needed. Amtrak comes through my town and that's great, but, it comes through very late at night and very early in the morning. The station is only open for about an hour after the train leaves and we don't have good taxi service and walking, by myself, that late, is out of the question.

I've toyed with the idea of flying to Chicago then taking a train.... Probably kind of an expensive way to travel but....
I usually planned my stops at big cities at big cities, like Chicago, New Orleans, or Seattle. I stayed at the Wisconsin Dells one time, because it holds memories for me as a kid. Its pretty easy to make hotel arrangements for a town like that - and they were pleased to pick people at the train station any time, day or night. I imagine most small town hotels would be like that. Riding the train just for the fun is quite popular; so some hotels rely on train travelers for business.
__________________
Hobo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2011, 02:29 PM   #24
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
happy2bretired's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 1,337
I spent an hour or two on the trainwacko site that Hobo included in his post. Very interesting site. Taking only short day light train trips is a really a good idea for me. I could fly to Chicago for short train trips east and Denver for short trips west. The scenery to Chicago probably isn't that great, but Chicago is fun....then on to the east coast. I like what American-Can did. Something to think about.
__________________
happy2bretired is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2011, 03:13 PM   #25
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
GregLee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Waimanalo, HI
Posts: 1,881
If you bring binoculars on a train trip to better enjoy the scenery, what power binoculars would be best?
__________________
Greg (retired in 2010 at age 68, state pension)
GregLee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2011, 03:30 PM   #26
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,913
Want to join us? Alki Tours - Trains Across Colorado
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2011, 07:14 PM   #27
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 746
Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2bretired View Post
My daughter and I had a roomette when traveling between Berlin and Vienna. I couldn't sleep very well the first night since I was too dumb to figure out how to close the window blind on my lower bunk. So every time we stopped the lights from the stations would shine in on me. The return trip went much better since my so-smart daughter showed me how to close the blind.
Except for the bathroom situation, did you find the roomette comfortable?
__________________
East Texas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2011, 07:21 PM   #28
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 746
For those of you who travel Amtrak a lot - there seems to be a considerable price difference in the "Bedroom" from day to day and week to week. Is there some trick to getting the bedroom at the lowest price? For instance, from Houston to LA the bedroom prices range from $630 to $1,082.

Since I'm not sure when the grandchild is making his/her entrance into this world, it's a bit difficult to make travel arrangements far in advance. I'll have an idea when to be there probably sometime in January for a late March trip.

What's the trick to getting the lowest price on the day I want to travel?
__________________
East Texas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2011, 07:33 PM   #29
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RunningBum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5,160
Years ago we went from Jaspar to Vancouver on VIA rail. The scenery was fantastic. I don't think we had an actual roomette, but the seats folded into a single bed for me and top bunk folded down for the kid. We sat next to a pleasant old couple from England, who we found were on the same Alaskan cruise we were going to, and were actually in the next cabin! If I was to take that trip again, I'd consider the Rocky Mountaineer, which travels during daylight only and overnights in hotels in Kamloops, to maximize seeing the sights.

We also did a 3 week Eurail trip 3 years ago, and I used Amtrak the last times I went to Boston and New York, and it was pretty relaxing and comfortable, though the train got pretty crowded between Washington and Connecticut last year.

I looked at taking the train back to Nebraska from Virginia for Thanksgiving, thinking that would be a pleasant way to travel. No airport hassles, no interstate traffic, get my own roomette and close off the world if I want. To get a roomette for the overnight 20 hour trek between Virginia and Chicago each way, and just a coach seat to/from Nebraska, is $968! The roomette is $332 each way. I'd be traveling alone so that roomette cost could be split if my kid were going, but that's still pretty pricey. And it gets in at midnight, and the return leaves at 3:45am, with 30 hours of train travel and a few hours layover in Chicago each way.
__________________
RunningBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2011, 07:35 PM   #30
Recycles dryer sheets
Hobo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregLee View Post
If you bring binoculars on a train trip to better enjoy the scenery, what power binoculars would be best?
I never thought of that idea, but it is a good one. I don't know what power, but I love to look at the small towns the train passes by. Many of this towns you would never see in a lifetime, unless had a reason to go there. Old mining towns are particularly interesting.
__________________
Retired in the year 2000 @ age 53; Primary residence in Bali, Indonesia - frequently return to US and travel.
Hobo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2011, 07:43 PM   #31
Recycles dryer sheets
Avalon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 424
Some useful tips can be found here:
Amtrak : Best Kept Secrets - Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum
__________________

...open up your mind and see like me...
Avalon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2011, 08:00 AM   #32
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
happy2bretired's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 1,337
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalon View Post
I found that forum yesterday while doing some research. Already found someone from my town on that forum that I'm asking questions of about parking, etc.

East Texas, yes I thought the roomettes were comfortable enough. You had more privacy than you would in coach and little cubby holes for holding some of your carry-ons. The one thing that was kind of different if I remember right was the rocking of the train. The ships that I've been on the rocking is horizontal when you are in bed but on the train, I believe I was rocking more vertically if that's possible. Anyway, I think that's what I remember. Probably is due to the direction of the train...hard telling.

We boarded about 10 p.m. from the starting point of that train so as soon as everyone boarded the passengers began making their beds. My daughter and I had to figure out how the beds worked but good ol' daughter figured it all out in no time. There were curtains to pull shut so you had some privacy.

It was fun watching everyone getting ready for bed. Some people were walking around in their pajamas and little kids running around in their pjs too. It was kinda like a big slumber party where no one knows each other. My daughter and I slept in our clothes though.
__________________
happy2bretired is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2011, 05:28 PM   #33
Recycles dryer sheets
Avalon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 424
Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2bretired View Post
The ships that I've been on the rocking is horizontal when you are in bed but on the train, I believe I was rocking more vertically if that's possible. Anyway, I think that's what I remember. Probably is due to the direction of the train...hard telling.
The rocking side to side and lunging forward and back (at the same time) made for some of the more humorous memories on my trip. Just walking to the diner and back can test your balance to a high degree. Everyone has some good chuckles, either at themselves or from watching others bounce from wall to wall in the aisles.
The sleeper room passengers on my trip kept their sliding doors open and curtains pulled for the most part during the day. This was on the upper deck.
On one of my trips to the diner, the train made a hard rock to one side. As I reached for something solid to steady myself, I ended up stumbling right through the curtains into someone's roomette. Without missing a beat I said 'hi, I'm your neighbor from down the hall, just thought I stop in and introduce myself'. We all had a good laugh, then I continued with my weaving course to the diner.
__________________

...open up your mind and see like me...
Avalon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2011, 06:12 PM   #34
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 746
So you're saying it's similar to being on a small ship going through the North Sea?
__________________
East Texas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2011, 06:17 PM   #35
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
bbbamI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas 'burb
Posts: 9,039
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalon View Post
On one of my trips to the diner, the train made a hard rock to one side. As I reached for something solid to steady myself, I ended up stumbling right through the curtains into someone's roomette. Without missing a beat I said 'hi, I'm your neighbor from down the hall, just thought I stop in and introduce myself'. We all had a good laugh, then I continued with my weaving course to the diner.
Did you tip yer hat?
__________________
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
bbbamI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2011, 06:30 PM   #36
Recycles dryer sheets
Avalon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 424
Quote:
Originally Posted by East Texas View Post
So you're saying it's similar to being on a small ship going through the North Sea?
Best I can tell, yeah.
__________________

...open up your mind and see like me...
Avalon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2011, 06:31 PM   #37
Recycles dryer sheets
Avalon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 424
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbamI View Post
Did you tip yer hat?
Umm....more like a full body tip.
__________________

...open up your mind and see like me...
Avalon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2011, 07:43 PM   #38
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 746
I'm assuming one tips the porters in the sleeping car. Is there a rule of thumb as to how much?
__________________
East Texas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2011, 05:56 PM   #39
Recycles dryer sheets
Avalon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 424
Quote:
Originally Posted by East Texas View Post
I'm assuming one tips the porters in the sleeping car. Is there a rule of thumb as to how much?
I don't know that there is a rule of thumb. Most folks I saw were tipping at the end of a leg or at final destination. From what I could tell, the crews worked a particular round trip route. You would see the same crew on your return trip so you got to know them. They take care of you pretty well. I noticed most people were tipping $20 at the end of the run so that's what I did.
In the diner I was tipping by the meal like the others. You're dining three times a day over several days so you get to know the waiters also. Being my first Amtrak trip, I was doing as the others did. Most were leaving $2 to $5 tips per meal.
I had read on the Amtrak forum that it was good to carry a pocket full of small bills for tipping.
__________________

__________________

...open up your mind and see like me...
Avalon is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:17 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.