Although we experienced a mostly uneventful summer, due to the pandemic with COVID-19, I managed to cross many locations off my bucket list. How I did that? By fulfilling an old wish of mine to travel through the beautiful West Coast of the United States by train and car.
My one week adventure started in Seattle, where I landed early from Chicago. I had carefully allowed two extra hours to move from Tacoma International Airport to the King Street Amtrak Train Station where I boarded the Amtrak Coast Starlight.
Widely regarded as one of the most spectacular routes in the States, the Coast Starlight offers stunning views of the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta, lush forests, fertile valleys, and long stretches of Pacific Ocean shoreline.
For accommodation, my travel partner and I chose to stay in a Roomette, but I would advise anyone who wants to take that ride to book a bedroom or Superliner Bedroom Suite. In any case, book any of the Superliner rooms, not the Viewliner – that will give you access to both levels on the train. Expectedly, I was most impressed with the observation car, which features floor-to-ceiling windows.
Here is what to expect on once you board the Amtrak Train:
- A large carry-on will be the perfect size luggage for such an experience because no matter how big of a room you have, and how many suitcases you check-in if you want to change the space is very concise.
- There is no Wi-Fi. Even though when I purchased the tickets, I was told there will be unlimited wi-fi, I hardly had reception through most of the ride. Download some music, e-books, and movies on your laptop and or simply enjoy the break from the internet.
- I traveled during the pandemic, and the cafe and the restaurant were only serving in plastic. If you want to perfect your experience, you can bring some fancy reusable wine glasses which you can bring with you to the sightseeing lounge.
The food on board is pretty good, and even if you are not happy, there is always another option in the cafe, like sandwiches or pizza. You can`t get bored because walking from the Sleeping Cars to the Sightseeing lounge, the restaurant, or the Cafe gives you enough space to move around. Every hour or so, you will hear an announcement for 15 or 20 minutes break – I got off in Portland to have a coffee near the station there.
After spending a whole day admiring the magnificence of the Pacific Ocean, I was stunned by the gorgeous valleys and forests part of the Crater Lake National Park, Olympic National Park, and the Cascade Range. I was impressed with the beautiful nature of Oregon.
Dinner is served early while crossing through the Three Sisters Mountains, which gives you just enough time to get comfortable in the Observation car for drinks at sunset.
The full route of the Coast Starlight is 35 hours from Seattle to Los Angeles, but I decided to do only 21 hours and get off in Sacramento (as early as 6:45 am ). We rented a car and drove for 45 minutes to discover the beautiful Napa Valley.