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Train Tours
Old 08-09-2011, 09:15 PM   #1
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Train Tours

Hi Group,
Have any of you, ever taken the train tours throughout the Utah/mountainous areas and national parks? Some trips seem to tour several different parks and cover a lot of territory.
I've always thought those might be great trips.
Steve
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:06 PM   #2
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I did a round trip sleeper car from the midwest to LA. Almost 2 days in the train each way. In hindsight, I would only take the train one way and / or go coach but get off the train to sleep.

Seeing the country by train is really cool. Train food and train sleeping are quite unpleasant.
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:11 PM   #3
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DH and I are taking a train tour out of Denver in September. Booked it through Alki Tours in Seattle. We have previously taken a Copper Canyon (Mexico) with them and enjoyed it immensely.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:29 PM   #4
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X2 for Copper Canyon Mexico. Last time I ate on a train was in the 70's in France & Spain. Good country to see, good food, adventure all around.
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Old 08-10-2011, 03:22 AM   #5
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Hi Steve - I took this trip a few years ago :

Grand Canyon Discovery Tour

and really enjoyed it. One of my best trips. I am thinking of doing more of these once I retire next year (hopefully).
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:27 AM   #6
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I haven't, but have heard the trans-canadian run is quite beautiful and may do that when we retire, especially since my grand parents were Canadian.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:18 AM   #7
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We took the train from Vancouver to Banff for a ski trip one year. To sit in the observation car and watch the train's headlight reflect off the snow at night was worth the trip all by itself.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:20 AM   #8
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When we researched Copper Canyon trips we discovered west to east was rated best.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:35 AM   #9
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I enjoy eating in a train while watching the scenery go by. Also, in a real sleeper compartment, I sleep great. I did Michigan to San Diego once. It can get a little long.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:18 PM   #10
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I did a midwest to Cal. round trip not long ago. If I ever do it again, I'll upgrade from a roomette to a full bedroom sleeper. I found the prices very affordable. The scenery was great as you get to see things not normally seen from the highways. The food was ok, but nothing to brag about. I slept fine for the most part. The walk from the sleeper to the diner was always interesting unless the train happened to be stopped. Reminded me of an amusement park ride.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:10 PM   #11
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Just checked Amtrak.

Emeryville, CA to Salt Lake City

$111 per person plus $475 for a room.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:40 PM   #12
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Looks like most everyone enjoyed the train trips.
The suggestions (tours) you all made look like they would be fun.
Must remember to up grade to a sleeper car, seems to be the main rule.

Thanks for all the reply's and tips,
Steve
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:48 PM   #13
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Steve, there are several versions of 'sleepers'. Get the one that's a click up from the roomette.
Visit the Amtrak site.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pimpmyretirement View Post
I did a round trip sleeper car from the midwest to LA. Almost 2 days in the train each way. In hindsight, I would only take the train one way and / or go coach but get off the train to sleep.

Seeing the country by train is really cool. Train food and train sleeping are quite unpleasant.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalon View Post
I did a midwest to Cal. round trip not long ago. If I ever do it again, I'll upgrade from a roomette to a full bedroom sleeper. I found the prices very affordable. The scenery was great as you get to see things not normally seen from the highways. The food was ok, but nothing to brag about. I slept fine for the most part.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I enjoy eating in a train while watching the scenery go by. Also, in a real sleeper compartment, I sleep great. I did Michigan to San Diego once. It can get a little long.
Different strokes, obviously.

DW is interested in one of these trips. I think I might enjoy it one way, but would probably go out of my mind on the return trip. I get antsy, can't just sit, read and enjoy scenery for more than an hour.

Is it feasible to get off and stay in a hotel, and then catch up the next day? IIRC many of these are scheduled just one per day, the same time each day, so if you got off at 6PM, you'd just be getting back on at 6PM the next day, and facing the same sleeping situation.

If we do it, I'll probably plan on flying back, but DW will not get on a plane.

-ERD50
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:52 AM   #15
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The two-day, private tour train through the National Parks or a wine-tasting trip is usually kept quite comfortable for the high-class clientele it serves.

On a long-trip, say from Chicago to San Francisco, a lot will depend on how you plan for it, and what you expect. If you think it is a cheap alternative to an airplane, then it will be a long trip. I have traveled on Amtrak many times, sometimes 30-days for a circular route around the country. Amtrak offers special deals at certain times.

The trick to long train travel is being prepared. With lots of time on your hands, it is a good time organize your laptop (and a couple external hard drives), read a few novels, and other activities. I whittle small figures from wood as a hobby. On a train I was free to work undisturbed for hours.

The seats on trains are much larger and way more comfortable than on an airplane. Often the seat next to you is unoccupied. If you bring along two or three pillows and a blanket, you can really set yourself up like a king. There is no limit to carry-on baggage. You can bring plenty of stuff to make yourself comfortable. Consider your wardrobe to make sure you bring your most comfortable clothes.

I was comfortable sleeping in my seat; the back tilts back far. With a blanket and the rocking motion of the train I slept fine. I talked to many old-timers who said they were more comfortable in a vibrating, rocking train than at home... kind of soothes the little aches and pains of old age.

The travel package I took usually allowed for 4 opportunities to get off the train and get a hotel for a couple of days anywhere along the route. The train stops at many locations, so you can stop in little back-woods town somewhere, or get off in downtown Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta and do things you normally would never take the time to do on a normal vacation.

I love it, but good planning and the right attitude is essential to make the trip pleasurable.
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:12 PM   #16
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The better half and I have been discussing the train trips.
Is there a preferred time of the year for these?
Hope to make the best of it should we go.
Steve
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:24 PM   #17
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Have any of you stayed in the "roomette"? What did you think about it?
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:57 PM   #18
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Have any of you stayed in the "roomette"? What did you think about it?
The roomette I traveled in was quite comfy, both for seating and sleeping. The upper bunk was a little cramped, but not too bad. What you don't get with the roomette is private facilities. Roomette passengers share a small restroom at one end of the car and a small shower on the lower deck.
I'll opt for the bedroom on my next trip. It's a bit larger and has private facilities. This link shows the differences.
Amtrak - Sleeping Accommodations
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:05 PM   #19
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The better half and I have been discussing the train trips.
Is there a preferred time of the year for these?
Hope to make the best of it should we go.
Steve
Steve, there's an Amtrak forum that may help answer your question.

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:02 PM   #20
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The better half and I have been discussing the train trips.
Is there a preferred time of the year for these?
Hope to make the best of it should we go.
Steve
I don't like cold weather, but a train trip in the winter is really fun (for me). I can take in the cold weather from the cozy warmth of a train car. Amtrak (http://www.amtrak.com) has many packaged deals which are like tours - everything is planned for you. Or multi-stop tickets for 10 days or 30 days where you are free to plan your travel route and where to get off and visit some town or city.

Amtrak has trains that go almost everywhere. Some people like Glacier National Park in the winter, some in the summer. You really have to pick what kind of trip, and to where, that you would like.

Here is a link to a man who really loves trains: http://www.trainwacko.com He and I traveled for many days together on the train. He is kind of a deep thinker and has his philosophy on train travel. Plus stories and other miscellaneous information you might find useful. Make sure you sign his guest book and tell him that Hobo sent you
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