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@Gold leader Yes, but I'm introverted and shy and really hate making small talk with strangers. I love having a quiet place to hide where I don't have to talk to people. :)
That's what great about trains. If you're social, you can ride in coach and sit in the lounge and make all kinds of new friends. If you're shy and introverted, you can sit in peace and quiet and not talk to anyone (unless you go to the dining car, but even then, you have the option of having meals served to your room).
It's wonderful. :)
1 month ago on What to Bring on an Overnight Train Ride
I'm going from Chicago to Seattle on the Empire Builder, Seattle to San Francisco on the Coast Starlight, and San Francisco to Chicago on the California Zephyr. It's going to be a fun circle trip, with 1-2 days to explore each city.
50 degrees is going to feel like 90 compared to Michigan's weather right now. :)
1 month ago on Five Spring Break Destinations
@surferpam51 The California Zephyr doesn't, but the Southwest Chief does through a small portion of IL and then parts of NM, AZ, and CA.
1 month ago on Revenge of the #NerdTrain 2014
@SamLopez @Aldaway Toiletries are not provided by Amtrak. They provide soap for the shower and hand sinks, and that's it. You have to bring your own shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, etc. Luckily, you can bring full-size bottles, unlike the airlines.
If a car attendant hasn't put your room into "nighttime" mode yet, you can press the call button. Most car attendants will either ask when you'd like it put down or will make an announcement that they're coming around to put the beds down. I'm sorry you ended up with a lazy attendant. They seem to be the exception rather than the norm, thankfully.
@Burgess_Jct @fangedcupcake I don't keep anything valuable or important in my suitcase. I bring all of that up to the room with me. If someone wants a couple pairs of jeans, a few shirts, some socks/underwear, and dirty laundry, they can have at it. ;) That backpack I bring up to the room has my laptop, medicine, a couple days' worth of clothes, socks/underwear, toiletries, etc.
I've traveled Amtrak dozens of times, and I've never had anything stolen. It helps to put your bag at the back of the luggage rack. As people board after you (and farther along the line), they'll stack their bags in front of yours. A bag in the back of the rack is going to be much less tempting to someone.
Plus, the luggage rack is in a high-traffic area right by the stairs and lower-level roomettes. It's pretty easy to notice someone rifling through bags, as so many people walk through that area.
To prevent someone from grabbing my bag by accident at a station stop, I use a bag that's not a standard color and tie a bright, polka-dot ribbon around the handle. I suppose you could lock the bag to the rack, but that makes it hard for people to move it if they need to put their bag on the rack. I would say a luggage lock would be sufficient.
When traveling alone, I bring it up to the roomette with me and set it on the other chair, but when I'm traveling with my boyfriend, there's simply not enough room to do that.
@Darlene From Oregon These are not my photos, but they'll give you an idea of what to expect.
The bathroom is "behind" the sink. The door is across from the chair.
@Darlene From Oregon The bedrooms are wonderful! We were able to put a suitcase and two large backpacks in ours and still had plenty of floor space for walking around. We liked having a private bathroom and shower too, not to mention a sink in the room.
The lower bunk is about the size of a twin bed, so it's not great for sharing unless you're tiny and/or like to cuddle while sleeping. We are not sleep-cuddlers, so my boyfriend slept in the (smaller) upper bunk and gave me the lower bunk.
When the lower bunk is in the "bed" position, you can still sit in the chair. It's nice if the beds haven't been moved back to the "daytime" position but you want to sip coffee and look out the window. My boyfriend sleeps later than I do, so he was able to continue sleeping up top while I took a shower and got ready.
Plus, with a bedroom, you get views out both sides of the train if you leave your door open. You'll have to step into the hall to take pictures out whichever side is opposite your room, but it's still pretty convenient.
The lower bunk is a couch during the day; it's great for relaxing. I'd compare it to a couch at home, if not better. It's pretty wide. I propped up a bunch of pillows and read/napped during the afternoon.
@Burgess_Jct Yes, but there is a luggage rack on the lower level. There's no need to carry a large bag upstairs. I put the stuff I'll need for one night in a small backpack or tote bag and leave my suitcase downstairs.
@GeorgeRoyall Seniors (age 62+) get 15% off. :)
1 year ago on 6 Tips for Cheap Amtrak Tickets
I would vote against heels on the train not just because the train is "a casual place", but also because they're simply unsafe. The train rocks, jolts, and rolls quite a bit, and it would be so easy to twist an ankle. It's also safer to have flat soles when moving between cars, as a sway can cause you to lose your footing if one foot is still on one car while the other foot is ahead on the other car. (Always hold onto the candy canes!)
1 year, 1 month ago on What to Bring on an Overnight Train Ride
@DanielLilly These are great suggestions. We always bring a tiny flashlight and a power strip. I also bring some binder clips just in case the velcro on the curtains isn't quite enough (or isn't fastening correctly). Oh, and earplugs. I'm a light sleeper.
@JoePower There's not enough room. Also, the new Viewliners don't have toilets in the roomettes anymore.
1 year, 1 month ago on Roomette with a View (or Two)
@RobertRegan @Jedling They don't take reservations for breakfast. It's first-come, first-served on every train. Since "quiet hours" don't end until 6:30, they usually provide the breakfast hours the night before so you can set your alarm appropriately. Some trains start serving at 6:00, but I've had to wait until 6:30 before since the cooks aren't quite ready.
1 year, 2 months ago on Roomette with a View (or Two)
@Evilkitty The seats are quite comfortable, just as soft and padded as Coach. They do recline (the lever is under the seat), and you can prop your feet up on the stairs to the upper bunk or the other person's seat.
Since the bottom seats form the bottom bunk, they are 28" wide. (You might want to let her know this if she is normally concerned about seat width - I carry my weight in my hips and thighs, so seats are a primary concern for me.)
When the bottom bunk is set up, it's 28" wide and 6'6" long. Also, the sleeping pad for it goes on top of the seats, so it has more padding in general. Since she is larger, she'll be much more comfortable on the bottom.
The top bunk is 24" wide and 6'2" long. It has a little less padding since it's just the bed roll, but it's still comfortable.
@Evilkitty I travel on the SWC all the time. It will be fine. I'm 5'6" and around 275 pounds, and my boyfriend is 5'8" and 180 pounds. We have enough leg room during the day, and the bunks are comfortable.
It's a bit of a twisty climb into the upper bunk, so you might want to take the top (unless you're claustrophobic). Even though I'm bigger, though, I don't have an issue climbing up and down. You could ask your sister-in-law to try it out first and then offer to take it if she can't make it up there.
If you feel a bit cramped, you can always sit in the lounge car too.