Amtrak Experience – Houston to San Francisco (Emeryville) Day 3 of 3

Last Travel Day

Rick and I traveled together to LAX, onto a bus for 2 hours to Bakersfield, CA and to the final train from Bakersfield to Emeryville. Eric’s stop was before mine, but it was nice to have someone around the final bit of the trip. It’s much easier to leave bags to go to the bathroom or get food when there’s someone you trust to watch them. Both the bus and the last train had free wifi, which was a pleasant surprise.

At LAX, I had a 2 hour layover and then a 2 hour bus ride to Bakersfield. The bus was an Amtrak bus and just like a Greyhound bus. It was a short ride so the fact that it was uncomfortable made no difference. Rick, the pastor wanted to sit together, otherwise I would have had a full row to myself as the bus wasn’t even half full.

Once we got to Bakersfield, we stepped right onto the last train and headed upstairs. This was my first experience with coach and it was better than I expect. The bottom level is for people with disabilities and issues walking upstairs. It was also where the bathroom was. One per car and it was huge. You could probably fit 10 people in it. The upstairs had a small luggage rack and overhead compartments for carry-ons. Luggage is not allowed on the seats so they go there, the luggage rack or have to be checked. I checked my large bag since I didn’t need my clothes or toiletry bag for the rest of the trip.

Rick was still with me so we picked a 4 person table top seat to sit at and I set up my camera and laptop. Again, it worked out traveling with someone because one of us could go get food while the other watched all of our bags and stuff. I let the pastor go first. The concession area was located one car over in car 3 and it was a girl behind the counter with a microwave, a toaster oven and various snack and drinks. After Rick got back with his hotdog, salad and drink, I went and stood in line for some food. The main food options were hamburgers, sandwiches, hotdogs, salads, chips, french fries, and other various snacks and candies. Drinks were coffee, sodas, water and alcohol. I decided on a Cuban sandwich, chips, a diet soda and a large cookie for dessert.

The train ride from Bakersfield to Emeryville took about 7 hours, but having wifi and large area to setup my laptop kept me busy and made the time go by quickly.

Last Train

Overall the train experience was a positive one and I would travel this way again. I think if I were to do it again I would get the full room with the bathroom and shower. Having the bathroom would allow me to sleep better because it took some time for me to fall back asleep after the hike to the bathroom each time. The full rooms also have a couch that folds out to a double bed and more room for storage. The rooms are still smaller than what I’m used to offshore, but there’s plenty of other places to visit on the train and I never really felt cramped or claustrophobic, but then again, I don’t really have a fear of small spaces. The only real complaint I have is the lack of wifi on the 36 hour portion of the trip. I had some work I would have done with all the time I had, but it was also nice to be disconnected for a bit and get some reading and writing done.

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