Skip to main content

Amtrak Adventures

07/25/2017 11:00AM ● Published by Gwen Lawler Tough

Riding the Rails

August 2017
By Gwen Lawler Tough
Photo by Evan Morrison

Dusk was falling and so was snow. Blanketing the forest of firs for as far as the eye could see, it was stunningly beautiful. It happened on the #11 train traveling through Oregon in March 2016. 

There are plenty of other memorable moments on Amtrak. Taking the Coast Starlight from Redding opens doors to travel to Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, B.C. Or, going southbound: San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, San Diego. The seats are 23 inches wide, recline and offer tons of legroom: utter luxury compared to airline seats. Comparisons don’t stop there: you get to bring two 50-pound bags onboard as well as personal items. Bring lots of snacks. You can get up and move around between cars. You may even bring a small dog of 25 lbs. or less that can stay put beneath your seat. On some trains, you can bring your bike.

The middle-of-the-night departure times from Redding’s downtown station can be a challenge. Northbound trains are scheduled to arrive in Redding at 3:06 am, southbound trains at 2:21 am, but there are often delays.  How do you arrive in time, without spending too much time in the parking lot instead of in your bed sleeping?  Here are some tricks of the train, garnered from personal experience.

1. The inside of the Redding station is closed, and there is no bathroom facility. But the parking lot and boarding areas are very well lit. Get to the station 30 minutes before the train is scheduled to arrive according to real-time schedules. All trains are now tracked with global positioning and you can see exactly where they are.  

2. Download the free Amtrak app. Touch “Train Status” and enter the Redding station and the number of train #14 northbound or #11 southbound, leaving the following morning.  Before you go to bed, check again for the expected time of arrival. This info is updated about every four minutes. Remember, the train arrives the next day.

3. Put your smartphone assistant to work! Set your alarm for 12:15 am. Check the train’s arrival time again, then re-set your alarm for your departure. Northbound #14 will almost always be running more than an hour late. You can also go online and check www.asm.transitdocs.com. Click on your train number to see where it is located. The good news with late trains is that with daybreak you can see the incredible scenery you will immediately enter: the Sacramento River and Lake Shasta. 

4. Roomettes, or tiny sleeping rooms, are not worth the extra price. They include meals but don’t include what’s more important: a bathroom. I have never used one, even traveling from Chicago to Martinez. There is something about the train’s motion which seems to put everyone to sleep. 

5. Travel with a friend. Coach seats come in pairs and it ensures you will be sitting/sleeping next to each other on a crowded train. It makes the trip much more fun. Or bring your grandkids and they’ll be talking about your trip the rest of their lives.

The fun thing about trains is that you can stop and get off. It breaks up the trip and allows you to explore. For example, going north, get off at Klamath Falls, Ore., and take a bus or rent a car to Crater Lake, 60 miles from Klamath Falls.  Treat yourself to a night at the Crater Lake Lodge (early reservations are a must) and remember 6,500 feet is nippy even in the summer. The stunning turquoise lake is a hidden gem. Or, taking the #11 train to Los Angeles, get off in Salinas and take an Amtrak connecting bus (or rent a car) to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. When making tricky connections, I find it’s better to use the Amtrak phone representative. 

Amtrak now features vacation packages, including trips to Glacier and Grand Canyon National Parks, but they can be pricey. Less expensive: Plan your trip way in advance to get the best train and hotel prices. Seniors and students get discounts and an adult can bring two children up to 12 years at half price. Train travel is a great value.

Here’s the trip I want to take: Get on the train to Seattle. Spend several days with my family there, and then get on the “fast” Cascades Train to Vancouver, B.C. Then I’ll connect to a bus going to Victoria, Vancouver Island to visit Butchart Gardens. These gardens rival Holland’s Keukenhof, with no overseas travel required.  I’ll use Uber to get around Victoria.

The Coast Starlight may be on the Congressional budget chopping block. Now is the time to take the trip you have always wanted.


In Print, Life+Leisure, Today Amtrak
  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/25/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/28/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/28/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • The Pastor as PR Director

    09/28/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Tozer Seminary, Redding, invites pastors and nonprofit directors to a free, no-registration works...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Honored Elders Dinner

    09/28/2017
    05:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join us September 28, 2017 at 5:30 at Win River Resort in the Event Center for the Princess Brav...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Fundraiser

    09/28/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Grape Escape is hosting a fund raiser for Riverfront Playhouse. September 28 from 6–9 pm.Join...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/29/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/29/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Hayfork Farmers' Market

    09/29/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Come listen to live music, shop for local goods and produce and cultivate community! The Farmers'...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    09/29/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/29/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/30/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Ono Grange Community Yard Sale

    09/30/2017
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    Community Yard Sale at the Ono Grange. Find your next treasure and more at the sale. Horse tack, ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/30/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • A Royal Tea Party

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Magically encounter your favorite storybook characters, delight in a show fit for a King and snac...


  • Historic Hawes Farms

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    It’s a whole new season of Fall Harvest Festival fun on the farm, with hayrides, pumpkin patch, l...


  • Recovery Happens

    09/30/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    Free BBQ, live music and family fun


  • Tent Peg Village

    09/30/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    Free carnival-type event for kids of all ages. We will have free face painting, puppet shows, ga...


  • 2017 SUNRISE ROTARY MUD MASH

    09/30/2017
    01:00PM — 11:00PM

    COME JOIN THE FUN AT THE ANNUAL REDDING SUNRISE ROTARY MUD MASH ON THE NASH RANCH AT 10925 OLD OR...


  • Come enjoy all the sights and sounds of our farm while taking a stand against domestic abuse. 100...


  • Mud Mash

    09/30/2017
    02:00PM

    Be sure to bring your buddies and family to watch as you are challenged by the creeks, hills, fie...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    09/30/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Whisperin' Bill Anderson

    09/30/2017
    07:00PM

    There’s an old saying, “If you want someone’s attention, whisper” Bill Anderson has been using...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/30/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • The Stone Hearts rock Gallery After Dark!

    09/30/2017
    09:00PM — 11:30PM

    Join us for our Gallery after Dark series with THE STONE HEARTS , as they play some Awesome music...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/25/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/26/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/26/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • The Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber Certified Farmers' Markets open June 3rd! All farmers and ve...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/27/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/27/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    09/27/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Weaverville Farmers' Market

    09/27/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Weaverville Farmers' Market is held on Wednesdays from 4-7 pm from May through October! tr...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/28/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/28/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • The Pastor as PR Director

    09/28/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Tozer Seminary, Redding, invites pastors and nonprofit directors to a free, no-registration works...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Honored Elders Dinner

    09/28/2017
    05:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join us September 28, 2017 at 5:30 at Win River Resort in the Event Center for the Princess Brav...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Fundraiser

    09/28/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Grape Escape is hosting a fund raiser for Riverfront Playhouse. September 28 from 6–9 pm.Join...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/29/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/29/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Hayfork Farmers' Market

    09/29/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Come listen to live music, shop for local goods and produce and cultivate community! The Farmers'...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    09/29/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/29/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/30/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Ono Grange Community Yard Sale

    09/30/2017
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    Community Yard Sale at the Ono Grange. Find your next treasure and more at the sale. Horse tack, ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/30/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • A Royal Tea Party

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Magically encounter your favorite storybook characters, delight in a show fit for a King and snac...


  • Historic Hawes Farms

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    It’s a whole new season of Fall Harvest Festival fun on the farm, with hayrides, pumpkin patch, l...


  • Recovery Happens

    09/30/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    Free BBQ, live music and family fun


  • Tent Peg Village

    09/30/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    Free carnival-type event for kids of all ages. We will have free face painting, puppet shows, ga...


  • 2017 SUNRISE ROTARY MUD MASH

    09/30/2017
    01:00PM — 11:00PM

    COME JOIN THE FUN AT THE ANNUAL REDDING SUNRISE ROTARY MUD MASH ON THE NASH RANCH AT 10925 OLD OR...


  • Come enjoy all the sights and sounds of our farm while taking a stand against domestic abuse. 100...


  • Mud Mash

    09/30/2017
    02:00PM

    Be sure to bring your buddies and family to watch as you are challenged by the creeks, hills, fie...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    09/30/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Whisperin' Bill Anderson

    09/30/2017
    07:00PM

    There’s an old saying, “If you want someone’s attention, whisper” Bill Anderson has been using...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/30/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • The Stone Hearts rock Gallery After Dark!

    09/30/2017
    09:00PM — 11:30PM

    Join us for our Gallery after Dark series with THE STONE HEARTS , as they play some Awesome music...


  • Whitmore Trail and Poker Ride

    10/01/2017
    08:00AM — 03:00PM

    The Whitmore Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. is sponsoring their annual WHITMORE TRAIL AND POKER RID...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/01/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • A Royal Tea Party

    10/01/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Magically encounter your favorite storybook characters, delight in a show fit for a King and snac...


  • Jewelry Making Classes for All Levels

    10/01/2017
    12:30PM — 03:30PM

    The Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir will once again offer a jewelry making class with Mt. Shasta...


  • B--Monthly Free Concert & Open Mic

    10/01/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Redding - California State Old Time Fiddles Association, District 6 Free Old Time Fiddle, Bluegra...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    10/01/2017
    02:00PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Music by the Mountain 2017 Fall Festival

    10/01/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Music by the Mountain is thrilled to once again host the St. Petersburg based Rimsky-Korsakov Str...


  • SAM Welcomes Redding's Charles Valona Trio

    10/01/2017
    04:00PM — 06:00AM

    The Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir is very excited to participate in Dunsmuir California’s 6th ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/02/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/03/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/04/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    10/04/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/05/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Open Mic Event

    10/05/2017
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    Fall 2017 Open Mic Afternoons Calling all poets and spoken words artists! Students, faculty, ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Vinyl Night

    10/05/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Vinyl Night! Join us downtown the first and third Thursday of every month. We are going to ditch ...


  • Michael Carbonaro LIVE

    10/05/2017
    07:30PM

    Ever wondered what it feels like to be on the other side of magician Michael Carbonaro as he work...


Enter to Win!

 
Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors