Travel the rails this holiday season!


blog pix 1Winter travels are abound. I’m taking my first train trip in five years on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight to Portland, Oregon. Twenty years ago, I used to make monthly or bi-weekly train trips aboard Amtrak to Tacoma, Washington, to work with my brother in his security investigation agency.

The six hour train ride between Eugene and Tacoma was always refreshing to see the land and prairies of the great Pacific Northwest – today, many of those prairies, I once saw on my trips to Washington likely have changed through the years. The railroad still lives in it’s prime as it once did back in the days when traveling by railroad was the primary means of transportation around the country, other than by horseback or stage coach, which was far and beyond the railroad to major locales along the hollowed railroad lines of the Pacific West Coast- the stagecoach was the secondary means of travel versus riding on horseback.

amtrak map westThe Amtrak Coast Starlight runs from Seattle, Washington all the way south to Southern California with stops in Portland, Eugene, Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles along the way. I’ve only ridden the northern tier of the Coast Starlight, but have never road the entire route from Seattle to Los Angeles or from Eugene to Los Angeles or vise versa – however, that’s likely another blog for another time and trip somewhere or sometime in the near future onboard the Amtrak.

Getting your tickets is easier nowadays than it was in the past, when you had to hoof it to the train station and buy your ticket to your desired destination. Now, it’s completely the opposite with today’s technology, you can get your train ticket online while using Amtrak’s website at Amtrak.com which will also give you the number of your train, arrival and departure times as well as the trains selective schedule as well.

Amtrak eticket mobileWhile getting your tickets online you can also have them emailed to you with a PDF attachment of your train e-ticket and print it out on your computer before you leave for your train trip and come with a barcode to have your ticket wirelessly scanned on your phone via email with the PDF attachment without having a papered version of your ticket from an Amtrak ticket agent at the train station or from an Amtrak ticket kiosk which is also available at designated Amtrak Train Stations across the country.

Amtrak eticketAdding the Amtrak mobile application via the Google Play Store or your iPhone app store is simple as it can be to download the app to your smartphone, computer or laptop to keep track of train times and more, including your e-tickets at the convenience of your palm in the way of a laptop computer, ipad or smartphone, which makes traveling in the twenty-first century a snap at the fingers at the finger tips of smart electronics.

“How awesome can that be, I tell myself aloud?” – as I prepare and plan for my latest train trip aboard the Amtrak Coast Starlight train from Eugene to Portland, Oregon, before the heaviest surge of holiday travelers hit the world of “trains, planes and automobiles,” for the holidays to enjoy Christmas with their families and more.

Traveling by train is an awesome and pleasure seeking experience, not to mention, I’ve flown the “friendly skies,” in the past – but, find taking the train is a more leisurely experience and convenience than traveling by airline – at least it’s cheaper in the long run, as well. It may take a bit longer to get to from Point A to Point B, but that’s okay because there’s lots of time to travel and see parts of the country or the valley’s you’ve never seen by railroad. It’s quite a big difference, while flying thousands of feet above the ground across the friendly skies than it is by rail.

My theory of traveling is let it be, “traveling pants and enjoyable” – no matter what other’s say, it’s your traveling pleasure that wants the best possible cause and the best possible price for your traveling wallet, rather, it be seating in cramped quarters down the majestic isles of the friendly skies or traveling by railroad to a more secluded environment where everyone is in the enjoyable mood of seeing the country, valley’s and prairies by railroad.

5th StSo this holiday season, take the train and enjoy the view while your at it – you’ll be glad you did, while saving time and money, you won’t have to wait in line as much as you would at a cramped airport while a nor’easter takes out the friendly skies to a screeching halt and more – getting stranded at the airport is a nightmare, traveling by train is likely the remedy you need before you get that ugly airport ulcer your mother warned you about days ago!

Travel safe and enjoy the view, while traveling by railroad!

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