Back east, I would travel down to Washington, DC from New York quite often. I saw a lot of famous political celebrities. There were times during which I was on same train as Laura Bush, Joe Biden, Al Fraken, Greta Van Susteran and Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Just to name a few. If you are a political junkie, as I used to be back then, Amtrak was a lot of “fun”. While it was fun, I did a lot of work on my Amtrak train down to DC and back up to NYC. I worked and worked and worked. I barely looked up. And I always rode the Acela, which is the express train. That’s the beauty of riding Amtrak up and down the east coast. It was a relaxing way to keep working while on travel.
Now that I am out on the west coast, I have only ridden the metrolink once which is the commuter train. And then this weekend, I got to ride Amtrak. See, train service is not that great out here. I know I compare west coast to east coast a lot. I often see the east coast more favorably. And why shouldn’t I? Now, here I will be split in my opinion.
It is hard to ride Amtrak out here. There are a lot of Amtrak buses to make up for “lapses” in the route. I get it, there are very mountainous areas and thus it is hard to carve out the routes. And there are just not that many places within California, that I have to travel to for business. But I did manage to finally get on an Amtrak ride down to San Diego. It was a multifloor train that rocked and rolled down the coast. After the week that I have had, it was a great way to unwind before I had to engage in a new hectic week. But even before I get to the ride, I should note that Union Station in Los Angeles is way calmer than the amtrak stations in New York and DC. There was a planned improv concert in a part of the station.
It was lovely to see so many people laughing and dancing. At New York’s Penn station, many are frazzled trying to keep going on their workload while trying to get in line for a better seat on the train. And it was even worse in DC. People there are so by the book in terms of which side of the escalator you ride on and where you start to line up. Here, in Los Angeles, I strolled through the station and caught some music and was able to sit in some comfortable seats in the lobby area.
I walked up to the platform and the train was there 40 minutes early. I got on and got a good seat and settled into my ride. Then we rolled out of Los Angeles and there was no fuss. The cabin attendant came by and I got a white wine and a snack box. Not bad for an evening bit of relaxation. I wanted to sleep on the train and listen to the train sounds but part of me just wanted to stay away and take this all in. It was a great ride overall. Although, I will say one thing. It was slow. Back in New York, in the same amount of time I would have zipped by at least four states.
Here’s to future travel that is relaxing and non-crazy. All my airflights lately have been delayed, crowded and agitated. I’ll take this rollicking ride down to San Diego and settle into my bed later on and relax.