I wrote to you several months ago to let you know that in large part
because of your very informative web pages, I had scheduled a 13 day (with
stops) Amtrak trip with my 13 year old son, Alex. It was going to be our
first Amtrak trip. We returned last week, and had a wonderful time.
Your information was invaluable. I had printed up the older Amtrak route
guides and placed them in a small binder, along with maps of the routes,
and descriptions of your trips on these routes.
We took the Coast Starlight from SF/Oakland at the new Jack London Square
station up to Seattle, stayed over one night in Seattle, and then doubled
back on the Starlight to Portland, to catch the Empire Builder (we wanted
to see the Columbia River Gorge). The Metropolitan Lounge in Portland was
all that you said it was, and if you hadn't mentioned it, I'd never have
known about it, as Amtrak wasn't too up on current information like that!
We stayed on the Empire Builder until St. Cloud, MN, where we got off to
visit friends for 4 nights, and then got back on in St. Cloud for the
remainder of the trip to Chicago.
We stayed with more friends for 3 nights who live outside of Chicago, and
then took the California Zephyr all the way back home to Oakland/SF. I
went to see Grandpa's Store in Denver, thanks to you, and was put on the
mailing list. I bought some film and a T-shirt in Grand Junction, CO,
thanks to your suggestion about the train model store.
I do plan on writing Amtrak praising much of the trip and what we enjoyed
about it, and mentioning only a few things that I think should be checked
into, but overall it was a wonderful trip, and I am very glad we went.
The Starlight is clearly the most upscale of all three trains, and the
Parlor Car helps to make that the difference. We rarely could even get
into the Lounge Car on the other two trains, despite the repeated
announcements by the Chief that the seats were for short periods only!
There should be a parlor car on every train for the first class passengers,
and I believe every train should be a No Smoking train.
I could go on and on, but I did want to thank you for all your help. Your
writings were very helpful and made interesting reading while going along
the same route ourselves, later.
Thanks so much for encouraging us to give this vacation a try.
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